Against the West Virginia stereotype
Positive coverage of Wheeling from Reuters
Earlier this week the international news agency Reuters featured Wheeling in an article about the growing acceptance of LGBT rights:
In conservative America, small cities stand up for LGBT rights
As the article explains:
Defying stereotypes in the U.S. culture wars over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, Wheeling is among a recent wave of small cities, many in parts of the country that voted for Republican President Donald Trump, to embrace these protections. . . .
About 50 U.S. municipalities in 15 states have added LGBT nondiscrimination measures since 2015, when same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide. More than half of those cities and towns are located in counties that backed Trump in November's election, and all are in states he won, a Reuters analysis found. . . .
Local leaders say accepting diversity is not just the right thing to do, but needed to attract jobs and investment. They concede the measures alone may not land a Fortune 500 employer but argue the protections are necessary for smaller markets to appeal to many corporations with LGBT-friendly policies.
The article then discusses why it was passed in Wheeling.
Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott saw LGBT protections as both socially correct and a selling point to bring jobs and live up to his community's "Friendly City" nickname.
"Those of us in the community may not all agree on its morals," said Elliott, a Democrat. "What I think is not open for debate is that it's good for business."
The article also quotes supporters of the measure as well as opponents. It's a good article that doesn't depend upon either the old or new ("Trump country") stereotype of West Virginians.
Just a thought. As the article points out, fairness issues and non-discrimination policies are very important to Fortune 500-type companies. Given the rapid passage of this measure by the Wheeling City Council combined with no editorial opposition from our very conservative "newspaper" monopoly, could it be that a major national employer is seriously looking at Wheeling? I'd add to this the large numbers of middle and upper class rentals that are or will be soon available in the city. I know the Health Plan will fill some but who's going to fill the rest of these apartments? Interesting.