CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The new executive director of Fairness West Virginia knows the state well.
Andrew Schneider will return to the Mountain State, a place he calls his “adopted home,” on Oct. 1 to get started in his new job after leaving West Virginia for Connecticut seven years ago.
“This is a really exciting time for LGBT equality and civil rights. The country is changing so rapidly on this issue and West Virginia is poised to achieve many great civil rights in this area and I really want to be a part of that,” Schneider said.
Most recently, Schneider has worked as the executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut in Hartford. Prior to that, he held a similar role with the ACLU of West Virginia. He started his career in 1995 with the ACLU in New York City.
Schneider will replace Kay Flaminio as executive director of Fairness West Virginia.
Fairness West Virginia is the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender West Virginians. According to its website, the organization’s mission is to ensure LGBT people can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
During the 2015 Regular Legislative Session, Schneider said Fairness West Virginia will again be lobbying for the Fairness Act, a ban on discrimination in employment and in housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Such a law has not had overwhelming support from lawmakers in recent sessions.
“There’s a situation out there that’s currently resulting in not treating LGBT men and women equally and, when you’re talking about fairness, this is the true essence of fairness,” Schneider said.
As for same-sex marriages, “The U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately weigh in on this,” he said. “And I think we’re just a few years away from seeing marriage equality in the entire country.”