Lambda Legal Urges Court to End Delay on Marriages in West Virginia

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July 30, 2014
Lambda Legal clients Nancy Michael and Jane Fenton with their son.

Following Monday’s ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit striking down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, Lambda Legal today filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to lift a stay it had entered pending the Fourth Circuit’s decision and enter judgment in Lambda Legal’s case on behalf of three same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in West Virginia.

Lambda Legal is also asking the Court to deny a motion filed yesterday by the State of West Virginia to extend the stay.

Love Unites US: West Virginia

Karen Loewy, Lambda Legal Senior Attorney, said:

By moving to extend the stay, the government is making a last ditch effort to delay the freedom to marry in West Virginia. Families in West Virginia should not be asked to wait even one more day for the court to consider the discrimination they are experiencing. It is intolerable that the Attorney General continues to stand in the way of equality. We're going to do everything we can to make sure same-sex couples in West Virginia can begin making plans to marry as soon as possible.

In the lawsuit, Lambda Legal 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 undeserving of the legal sanction, respect, protections, and support that different-sex couples and their families are able to enjoy through marriage.

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit – which includes West Virginia – ruled that Virginia’s similar marriage ban was unconstitutional, becoming the second federal appellate court to strike down a discriminatory state marriage ban.  Yesterday, the West Virginia Attorney General filed a motion to extend the stay. Today, Lambda Legal filed an opposition to that motion and a cross-motion to lift the stay and enter judgment. 

The plaintiffs include: Nancy Michael, 45, and Jane Fenton, 43, together for 16 years, and their six-year-old son, Drew; Casie McGee, 30, and Sarah Adkins 32, together for more than three years; and Justin Murdock, 32, and William Glavaris, 31, together for more than two years.

Read the press release.