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South Carolina council fights mayor who fired lesbian police chief

Councillors approve ordinance that blocks hiring of replacement

The council of a small South Carolina town has approved an emergency ordinance that prevents the mayor from replacing lesbian police chief Crystal Moore (pictured), whom he recently fired. Credit:

The council of a small South Carolina town have approved an emergency ordinance that prevents the mayor from replacing lesbian police chief Crystal Moore, whom he recently fired, WBTW News reports.

Following the dismissal of Moore, who has served on Latta’s police force for 23 years, an audio recording of anti-gay comments made by the town’s mayor, Earl Bullard, came to light.

Bullard’s comments stoked speculation that Moore was fired because she is gay and galvanized support for the long-serving police official from residents, the report notes.

In the recording, the mayor says he would prefer to have “somebody who drank, and drank too much, taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children.”

Bullard continues, “That ain’t the damn way that it’s supposed to be. You got people out there, I’m telling you buddy, I don’t agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed, and I don’t say anything, because that is the way they want to live, but I am not going to let my child be around. I’m not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it. And I’m not going to see them do it with two men neither.”

The head of South Carolina Equality suggests Bullard’s remarks are not out of the ordinary. The advocacy group has been pushing for legislation that would include provisions to safeguard LGBT employees from discrimination in the workplace.

The mayor has rejected allegations that he fired Moore because of her sexual orientation. WBTW says it received a list of reprimands Bullard levelled against Moore that reportedly led to her dismissal. They include questioning the mayor’s authority, using her office to exact revenge, failing to maintain order and contacting media to instigate disorder in Latta.

Some councillors say Bullard failed to follow protocol by firing Moore in the manner he did.

South Carolina legislators recently cut the funding of University of South Carolina Upstate and the College of Charleston because they assigned literature with gay content to students. The contentious books are Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel (author of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For) and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, by Ed Madden and Candace Chellew-Hodge.

A lesbian performer’s satirical show that was to be part of a symposium at Upstate was also pulled after lawmakers complained that it is a recruitment tool and a “glorification” of same-sex attraction.