The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

January 17, 2014

Attorney encouraged by gay marriage rulings

CHARLESTON — An attorney whose group is challenging West Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages said she was encouraged by recent federal rulings in Oklahoma and Utah.

Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights group, contends West Virginia’s Defense of Marriage Act violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It filed a complaint in federal court in October on behalf of three same-sex couples and the child of one couple.

West Virginia doesn’t allow same-sex marriage or recognize those that occurred in other states.  

Judges in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Ohio and Utah have all ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Gay marriages in Utah have been put on hold pending a decision from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lambda Legal attorney Beth Littrell in Atlanta said Wednesday she believes the rulings give plaintiffs additional arguments to persuade Judge Robert C. Chambers that West Virginia’s ban is unconstitutional. She said the momentum was also in their favor.

“The decisions are well reasoned,” Littrell said. “They’re very meticulous in their analysis in constitutional protections and they come out on the side of marriage equality.”

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office has intervened as a defendant in the case. A Morrisey spokeswoman declined comment.

The initial lawsuit said the Kanawha and Cabell county clerks denied six adults marriage licenses under the state law, and that deprived them of shared health insurance, reduction of tax liabilities, family leave, caretaking decision power and death benefits.  

The attorney general’s office contends the law does not cause the plaintiffs any immediate harm.

The plaintiffs are partners Casie McGee and Sarah Adkins, and Justin Murdock and Will Glavaris, all of Huntington, and Nancy Michael and Jane Fenton, of St. Albans, and their son, Drew.    

Chambers, a Democrat, isn’t bound by decisions in other federal districts. He is a former West Virginia House speaker who was nominated to his federal court seat in 1997 by former President Bill Clinton.  

Twenty-seven states still have constitutional prohibitions on same-sex marriage. West Virginia is among four states that forbid such marriages through state laws.

 

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • I-77 tunnel repair complete

    Repairs to an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border have been completed following a truck fire.

    July 30, 2014

  • Another tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    Another tornado has been confirmed in West Virginia.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pierpont, WVU-Parkersburg enter transfer agreement

    West Virginia University at Parkersburg has signed a transfer agreement with Pierpont Community & Technical College.

    July 30, 2014

  • Repairs set for I-77 tunnel

    Some lanes of an Interstate 77 tunnel along the Virginia-West Virginia border where a truck fire occurred are being rerouted for repairs.

    July 29, 2014

  • Veterans crisis center coming to Clarksburg

    The long delays for veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals have prompted The American Legion to plan a short-term crisis center in Clarksburg.

    July 29, 2014

  • Weekend tornado confirmed in West Virginia

    The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Pleasants and Ritchie counties over the weekend.

    July 29, 2014

  • Rahal: Fund VA reform ‘for our veterans’

     On the cusp of Congress’s lengthy summer break, factions sparring over legislation to strengthen health care and funding reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs may have reached a compromise.
    Although final details are still in the works, the top two negotiators, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., released a joint statement that said they had “made significant progress toward and agreement on legislation to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.”

    July 29, 2014

  • Attorney general reaches $950,000 settlement with three financial groups

    West Virginia’s attorney general has reached a $950,000 settlement with three companies over allegations of antitrust law violations.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman convicted in teen’s slaying moved

    A Monongalia County teenager has been transferred to a state prison to complete her sentence for the slaying of another teenager.
    The Lakin Correctional Center near Point Pleasant said Friday Rachel Shoaf has been booked at the Division of Corrections prison. Shoaf turned 18 last month and had been held in a juvenile facility.

    July 26, 2014

  • Board suspends clinic operator’s license

    A West Virginia board Friday suspended the license of the operator of a pain management clinic where investigators found syringes were being reused. It was the second disciplinary action involving the doctor’s license within a decade.

    July 26, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads