Despite an anti-gay mayor's best effort to grasp at straw, a lesbian police chief of more than twenty years has been reinstated to her rightful position with the support of her community and town council.
Crystal Moore, a police chief in South Carolina, has reached the light at the end of her 2.5 month long tunnel: Though fired from her position in April by Mayor Earl Bullard, reportedly because he learned that Crystal is a lesbian, the town council of Latta, SC rallied around Chief Moore. They voted not only to reinstate her, but to limit the Mayor's powers and become a "council-strong" town.
Bullard has denied that his motivations are anti-LGBT in nature. Regardless, many locals join Chief Moore in disagreeing. Recently, a recorded phone call was released to the public in which the former Mayor goes on an anti-gay rant and says he would rather have someone heavily intoxicated take care of his children than a gay person.
In a town with a population around 1,400, hundreds have taken a stand for Chief Moore and thousands of dollars have been raised online to assist with her legal and living expenses.
Just before these "council-strong" vs. "mayor-strong" regulations were enforced, and right after a waiting period to hire a replacement was lifted, though, Bullard announced that he had hired someone new, Freddie Davis, to Moore's position. Councilmember Jarett Taylor told MSNBC that Bullard had done so more or less in secret, holding interviews at McDonald's so as not to draw attention.
However, in a moving display of support, the town council voted at a special meeting to override Bullard's hiring decision just six hours after their power to do so went into effect. At 7:35 PM on Friday evening, Crystal officially resumed her role as Chief Moore.
The town council has terminated the Davis' contract as Police Chief. His recently-signed contract is considered invalid because it financially obligates the town, but council did not consent.
"The stipulations and rules that they had put into the contract had not been followed. It's minor but it says the thing needs be stamped with the town seal there is no town seal on the original thing," said Councilman Taylor.
Additionally, "The State Law Enforcement Division has opened a preliminary investigation into allegations of wrongdoing inside Latta Town Hall," reported SCnow.com. Evidence tape was removed from the doors of the Town Hall earlier this morning, but they are still locked.
Taylor told SC Now, “We’ve had citizens make allegations of wrongdoing at town hall, and we’ve had employees make accusations, so we wanted SLED to go ahead and look into those. Council just thought with us taking over, it was best to go ahead and clear the air.”
"Our town stood up for what was right…It has been awesome, the outpour within our community and local counties beside us…Our small town spoke up and done what was right and fair and I'm proud of our citizens. I'm proud to call Latta my home town…We were blessed."
Currently, a person can be fired in 29 states simply because of one's sexual orientation, and in 32 states just because of one's gender identity. To learn more, visit glaad.org/enda.