West Virginia House DINOs John Pino and Mel Kessler Go Biblically Ballistic Against Abominable Gays
Kessler livid after same-sex legislation hits House floor
By Mannix Porterfield
March 06 2008
Charleston, West Virginia - Biblical teachings against same-sex practices led Delegate Mel Kessler, D-Raleigh, to ignite a futile and raucous challenge of a proposal seeking to add “sexual orientation” to West Virginia’s housing and employment law.
Afterward, both Kessler and Delegate Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, complained they weren’t allowed to voice their views as Christians based on biblical injunctions against homosexuality.
Passed unanimously by the Senate, the hotly disputed bill was advanced to the House floor Wednesday night for a vote.
But within 24 hours it was yanked off the special, or active, calendar and dispatched to the regular one, essentially killing it for this session.
An insider told The Register-Herald that a head count revealed as many as 35 Democrats would have voted against and a like number of Republicans were opposed.
Kessler, who keeps a huge, well-read Bible on his East Wing office desk, raised the specter of employers forced to hire an HIV-positive job applicant in a sensitive work environment such as a dentist’s office.
But Chairwoman Carrie Webster, D-Kanawha, ruled him out of order and wouldn’t let him talk.
“I want a point of order on you!” Kessler shot back, and then Webster slammed down the gavel to silence his line of questioning.
“My son is a dentist,” a livid Kessler said afterward. “He hires several hygienists. I just wanted to know what kind of implications that would put on him having to hire someone gay and how more susceptible they would be to being HIV-positive. I thought it was a legitimate question.”
Kessler was furious Webster refused to let him express himself.
“It’s my right,” he said. “I’m not going to discriminate against gays. I’m not going to line any of them up and shoot them. I’ve said this in church before. I should have the right to exercise my religious beliefs, and my religious beliefs are that the Bible says it’s an abomination.”
Kessler saw a parallel in Webster’s actions and a trend across the nation to shut off Christian expression, alluding to the recent decision by the Veterans Administration to cover up the cross at medical facilities when chapels are not being used.
“I wonder how many people died with that cross in their hands or around their necks,” he said
Kessler is giving up his 27th District seat after one term to pursue the Democratic nomination for governor, seeking to upset Gov. Joe Manchin in the May primary.
“I can’t wait to get out of here,” he said. “This down here is a circus. I’ve seen horse bills, dog bills, baby care bills and gay bills, and yet I can’t get a workers’ compensation hearing that I’ve been asking to have for a year.
“I came down here to do what the good Lord would have me to do. And that’s what I’m going to do. No one’s going to intimidate me. This process is a ridiculous. It was a circus in there (judiciary).”
Echoing the sentiments of other critics, Delegate John Pino, D-Fayette, said the bill attempts to reward behaviors of choice rather than birth determinations such as gender and race.
“This country was founded on certain principles, and one of them is that I’ve never known that any behavior of any individual deserves special recognition or status or grace that’s to be blessed by the majority of the country,” a somber Pino reflected.
Pino said he voted on behalf of his 29th District constituents who would “never approve this bill.”
The measure was altered in the Senate to exempt religious and nonprofit organizations with acknowledged beliefs, but Sobonya wanted to go a step further by exempting individuals who held them.
Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, opposed that, contending it would ruin the bill, and advised panelists West Virginians need to be tolerant.
“Where’s the tolerance for those with true, deep-seated convictions based on Bible teachings relating to homosexuality?” Sobonya wondered after the meeting.
Conceivably, under the bill, she said, a cross dresser could demand to put on whatever he pleases while teaching in a public school to express “sexual orientation.”
“Homosexuality is an abomination to God based on the teaching of the Bible,” she said.
Sobonya also took exception to the anti-age discrimination element of the bill.
“What if you have student housing, an apartment complex with young students, and you’ve got someone who’s 40 years old who likes to hang out with kids,” she said.
“Maybe it’s a sexual predator. You wouldn’t be able to deny them housing based on the age discrimination factor in the bill.”
Eventually, she said, if the trend continues, no one could discriminate against anyone for any reason.
“If you’re a Christian and believe what’s in the Bible, you shouldn’t be viewed as intolerant to practice your moral and religious beliefs,” Sobonya added.