National gay rights group takes up support for fired Latta police chief

In a little over two months, it will be election day in Latta.

Voters will decide if they should change the way their town's government is run.

The current form of government kept town council members from voting to re-instate Crystal Moore as the town's police chief.

Moore was fired by Mayor Earl Bullard Tuesday.

Moore claims Bullard fired her because she's openly gay.

South Carolina is among 29 states in which it is legal to fire someone for being gay.

A national gay civil rights organization says Moore's case looks like a clear case of employment discrimination.

A spokesman for The Human Rights Campaign says her firing shows why there should be a law protecting gays and lesbians in the workplace.

"Too many people think that we have those protections, so then they don't think we need them at the state level," said Paul Guequierre. "We don't have those protections at the federal level, you don't have those protections in South Carolina, so we need laws at both levels."

The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed in the U.S. Senate last year, but has not come up for a vote in the House, Guequierre says.

Some Grand Strand residents agree there's a need for a law.

"In today's society, there's so many different kinds of people and it's discrimination, definitely," said Bill Powell of Carolina Forest.

But others say a law protecting gay and lesbians would go too far.

"No, there should not be a law like that, mainly because that is just an open door to making there be a selection process for everybody in any particular kind of discrimination," said Carolina Forest resident Mike Grubb.

Guequierre says the gay rights organization can use the Moore case to build awareness across the country.

"If she was indeed fired because she's gay then this is a really big deal and it certainly would be able to raise attention in South Carolina and then elsewhere as well," Guequierre said.

But Latta's mayor says Moore's sexual orientation had nothing to do with her firing.

Bullard released this statement Friday: "If anyone were to do any investigating and talk to a cross section of the town of Latta, they would find out that the gay issue is not an issue in this case at all."