The lawsuit does not say how Hudson knew the board had discussed whether she is a lesbian, but her lawyer said a board member told Hudson.
No one from the center returned messages left by the Gazette on Thursday. A board member referred a request for comment to Sam Sommerville, the board's president, who did not return a message left on his cell phone.
Brown called the center's alleged actions "reprehensible."
"[People] should be judged on their qualities and résumé, and their ability to do the job," he said.
West Virginia's civil rights law -- called the West Virginia Human Rights Act -- prohibits discrimination based on characteristics including race, gender and religion. It does not include sexual orientation.
Hudson's lawsuit says the law is intended to ensure "equal opportunity for employment."
The lawsuit also says discrimination based on sexual orientation violates the intent of other public policy. For instance, the city of Charleston -- which gives grants to the center -- bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. So do federal agencies that also provide funds for the center.
Over the past few years, groups such as Fairness West Virginia, which advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents, have unsuccessfully pushed lawmakers to add sexual orientation to the state's civil rights law.
"While it's a shame the current Human Rights Act in West Virginia does not cover one's actual or perceived sexual orientation, it certainly does cover one's perceived gender," Bradley Milam, Fairness West Virginia's program director, said in a statement Thursday. "And Ms. Hudson was terminated because she did not fit the perceived gender stereotype that her employer found acceptable."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages, compensatory damages, "front pay and back pay," and an order barring the center from discriminating. It names the center and five board members as defendants.
Reach Alison Knezevich at alis...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.