South Carolina mayor fires town's first openly gay police chief, says being gay is a "questionable" "lifestyle"

Residents of a small South Carolina town are raising questions about the sudden firing of an openly gay official

Published April 18, 2014 1:48PM (EDT)

Residents of Latta, S.C., are raising questions about the sudden firing of the town's first female and openly gay police chief.

Latta Mayor Earl Bullard fired Police Chief Crystal Moore after giving her seven reprimands in a single day, which a member of the city council says is more reprimands than Crystal received during her 20 years with the police department. "I looked at the reasons, some of them are questionable," Brian Mason, a Latta council member, told WBTW.

According to WBTW, the reprimands include running "unauthorized" background checks, "questioning authority of supervisor," "questioning authority of mayor," "failure to maintain order" and "contacting the news media."

Some on the council believe Bullard fired Moore after she began an investigation into one of his appointees, but others believe he was motivated by anti-LGBTQ sentiment, a claim they say is supported by a recorded conversation in which Bullard says he "doesn't agree with some lifestyles."

Councilman Jared Taylor recorded the conversation:

"I would much rather have.. and I will say this to anybody's face... somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children.

Because that ain't the damn way it's supposed to be. You know.. 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 2 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 2 men neither."

I'm not going to do it. Because that ain't the way the world works. "

Now, all these people showering down and saying 'Oh it's a different lifestyle they can have it.' Ok, fine and dandy, but I don't have to look at it and I don't want my child around it."

Many Latta residents have rallied around Moore. "This woman has been a veteran of the department and a pillar of this community for years," Latta resident Kevin told WBTW.

South Carolina is one of 29 states where it is legal to fire someone for being gay.

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Anti-lgbtq Discrimination Employer Discrimination Enda Gay Rights Lgbtq Rights South Carolina