St. Louis official ‘horrified’ by gay discrimination defense

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FILE – In this Oct. 24, 2019 file photo, St. Louis County police Sgt. Keith Wildhaber returns from lunch break to the St. Louis County courthouse on the third day of his discrimination case against the county in Clayton, Mo. Some St. Louis County leaders are calling for a police leadership shakeup after a jury found that Wildhaber was discriminated against because he’s gay and recommended that he be awarded nearly $20 million. Councilwoman Lisa Clancy says Police Chief Jon Belmar should resign because of what she described as a “culture of rampant racism and homophobia.” (Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A top St. Louis County official is blasting legal staff for arguing that gay discrimination in Missouri is legal in a case in which nearly $20 million was awarded to a police sergeant.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said Wednesday in a statement that he was “horrified and surprised that argument was used” in Sgt. Keith Wildhaber’s case. Wildhaber says he was told to “tone down his gayness” and passed up for promotion 23 times.

County Counselor Beth Orwick says she instructed two lawyers working on the case not to make the argument. She says she was mortified and surprised when they wrote in a motion that the Missouri Human Rights Act “explicitly omits any reference to sexual orientation as a protected class.”

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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