Fairmont approves Human Rights Commission

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MARION COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Making Fairmont an inclusive, diverse, and accepting city. That is the goal of the new Human Rights Commission ordinance passed just this week.

"They will advocate on how to be a welcoming and inclusive city," said City Manager Robin Gomez. "And make sure that people feel like they are a part of the city no matter where you are from, where you're born, or what you believe in. All are welcome in Fairmont."

The city used to have a similar commission in the 1970's that dealt with housing discrimination, but it was eliminated in the 80's. Now 30 years later, officials felt it was time to bring it back.

"2018 is a much different time than it was even ten, twenty, and certainly 50 years ago. It's much more diverse. We are a global entity even though we are just Fairmont, WV. The world has become smaller thanks to technology."

The commission ordinance did have opposition from some residents who believed that this ordinance would do more harm for the city than good.

"They had a variety of issues that had nothing to do with it," said Gomez. "From allowing people to commit crimes, to even creating more discrimination."

However, Gomez says that's not the case at all.

"This Human Rights Commission will have no power or authority to tell anyone what they can or can not do. It is to promote a loving, tolerant, and understanding message. As well as hold activities."

Officials say they will start taking applications for people interested in serving on the commission in December. Applications will be available on the city's website, or paper versions at the city building.