West Virginia Hub




West Virginia AG Wants Lawsuit Challenging State's Ban on Gay Marriage Thrown Out

West Virginia Attorney General has motioned for a judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on gay marriage, the WV Gazette reports:

MorriseyIn its motion, the state claims two reasons why the lawsuit filed by three same-sex couples should be dismissed: state law doesn't cause them any immediate harm and the couples aren't married, so the fact West Virginia doesn't recognize same-sex marriages from other states doesn't affect them, according to state attorneys.

"The statute causes no concrete and immediate injury to Plaintiffs, who allege only the desire to marry each other in West Virginia and have not alleged that they are or intend to be married in another State," the motion filed in U.S. District Court on Monday by Assistant Attorney General Julie Ann Warren says.

"Plaintiffs do not allege that they have valid marriages from other jurisdictions, that they have taken any steps to obtain valid marriages from other jurisdictions, that they intend to be married in other jurisdictions, or that they would have obtained a valid marriage from another jurisdiction if West Virginia recognized out-of-state same-sex marriage."

Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit in October on behalf of three couples. Last month Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a motion to intervene and defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage.


West Virginia Attorney General Files Motion to Defend State's Gay Marriage Ban in Court

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has filed a motion to intervene and defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage in a lawsuit challenging it, the AP reports:

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

...Morrisey’s filing notes that state agencies enforce or otherwise execute the laws in question.

...Lambda Legal argues West Virginia’s ban unfairly discriminates against same-sex couples and their children. In addition to its own ban, the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages that occurred in other states. The organization says its clients are denied the legal sanction, societal respect, financial protections and other support that marriage gives to heterosexual couples.

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.


Meet Justin and Will, Who are Challenging West Virginia's Ban on Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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On October 1st, we reported that Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of three gay couples challenging West Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage.

One of those couples, Justin Murdock and his partner William Glavaris, are profiled in a beautiful new video from Fairness West Virginia. Justin and Will are based in Huntington and Justin is a board member of the organization.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Fairness West Virginia writes:

Faces of Fairness is a groundbreaking project is the first of its kind in West Virginia and is comprised of a touring photography exhibit, a documentary film, and a web-based archive. The participants articulate the many issues that face LGBT West Virginians including second-parent adoption rights, medical benefits, hospital visitation rights, employment and housing discrimination, advocacy and political representation, transgender rights and protections, marriage equality, and bullying.

Currently West Virginia is the only state in the southern United States that has been able to defeat and defend against a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. However, it is still perfectly legal in West Virginia to deny employment or housing to an LGBT person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is also still legal to deny medical benefits to same-sex partners and their children.

Continue reading "Meet Justin and Will, Who are Challenging West Virginia's Ban on Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Lambda Legal Files Lawsuit Challenging West Virginia's Ban on Gay Marriage

As we reported yesterday afternoon, today Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on behalf of three same-sex couples and the child of one of the couples seeking the freedom to marry.

WestvirginiaThe case was filed on behalf of Casie McGee and Sarah Adkins and Justin Murdock and Will Glavaris, all of Huntington, and Nancy Michael and Jane Fenton and their son Drew, of St. Albans, according to a press release from Lambda Legal.

In the lawsuit, Lambda Legal, joined by pro bono co-counsel fromTinney Law Firm and Jenner & Block, argues that West Virginia's marriage ban unfairly discriminates against same-sex couples and their children and sends a purposeful message that lesbians, gay men, and their children are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the legal sanction, respect, protections, and support that different-sex couples and their families are able to enjoy through marriage.

Nancy Michael, 45, and Jane Fenton, 43, have been together for 16 years and their son, Drew, is 6. Of the other plaintiffs, Casie McGee, 30, and Sarah Adkins 32, have been together for more than three years, and Justin Murdock, 32, and William Glavaris, 31, have been together for more than two years.

Said Michael, a lifelong West Virginian: "West Virginia is home for us. Our family is here, our jobs are here, and our community here is a great support for us. Jane and I have been together for 16 years. We live and work together, and we are raising our son, Drew, together. We have done everything we can to protect and take responsibility for our family but we worry all the time that it isn't enough. We need the protection that marriage affords."

You can read the complaint HERE.


Lambda Legal to Challenge Gay Marriage Ban in West Virginia

Now, West Virginia's same-sex marriage ban is going to have its day in court in a lawsuit to be announced tomorrow, the Charleston Gazette reports:

FairnessLambda Legal will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. in Huntington to announce the lawsuit, according to a release from the firm. The group was among those who filed a lawsuit in Virginia in August challenging that state's ban on gay and lesbian marriage.

A spokesman for Lambda Legal wouldn't release details of the West Virginia lawsuit on Monday. According to the group's website, it has been working with Fairness West Virginia, a gay rights group, "to find a way for all same-sex couples and their families in the Mountain State to get equal legal treatment and protections."

Casey Willits, executive director of Fairness West Virginia, would only confirm Monday that Fairness has been working with Lambda.


Local Paper Publishes Racist, Homophobic Letter After Lesbian Teacher's Dismissal in West Virginia: VIDEO

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Last week, the Lincoln County Board of Education voted to fire lesbian teacher Kelli Burns after three separate hearings, the Lincoln Journal reports:

In a series of claims regarding the situation, Burns told The Lincoln Journal, late last week, that she was comfortable exposing what she termed the "completely inexcusable trashing” of her sexuality and her "so-called lifestyle” by the school system. She further alleged that students had been forced to write submissions saying that she had "tried to turn them gay.” Burns expressed her overall dismay regarding the process in her comments to The Lincoln Journal. "What has this process taught our youngsters? Every day they stand and recite an anti-bullying pledge right after the Pledge of Allegiance. And then they watch for months one of their favorite and most successful teachers be bullied by some staff and administration. The fact is some students actually went on record to teachers and administrators, saying that they were tired of watching me be trashed and slandered and bullied in the classroom. It was brave of them and I admire them for that,” Burns said late last week.

The Journal itself is now coming under fire for publishing a letter it received regarding Burns' dismissal.

Said the letter, which was transcribed from a voicemail the paper received:

"We were really glad to hear that School Board is getting rid of them queers. The next thing is we need to get rid of all the n****rs, the spics, the kikes and the wops....You know even them Catholics, they are wrong as baby eaters...We need to clear them people out and have good, white, God fearing Christians and everybody else needs to be put to death for their abominations....We'll keep Lincoln County white and right. Thank you."

The Lincoln Journal posted a lengthy interview with Burns online about the letter and the dismissal.

Watch the interview, and a news report on the printing of the letter, AFTER THE JUMP...

Burns

Continue reading "Local Paper Publishes Racist, Homophobic Letter After Lesbian Teacher's Dismissal in West Virginia: VIDEO" »


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