CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a motion Friday to intervene in a federal case that challenges the state’s ban on gay marriage.

(Read Morrisey motion here)

Three same-sex couples filed the lawsuit in Huntington Federal Court Oct. 1 against Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick and Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole saying they’ve been denied marriage licenses.

AG Morrisey said he is intervening to defend the constitutionality of West Virginia’s ban.

“An Attorney General has a duty to defend a state law if it is enacted properly and is consistent with the Constitution,” Morrisey said in a prepared statement. ”We will represent the State of West Virginia in this case and discharge our responsibilities faithfully.”

A federal judge previously ruled the two county clerks could delay their responses to the lawsuit until Morrisey decided whether he would intervene.

 

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Comments

  • GRIFF

    Does anybody else wonder why it is ok for same-sex couples to file joint tax returns, BUT if a man & a women live together they cannot. Does anybody else feel that is discrimination lto the male/female couple livng together???

  • bill

    If you don't like our laws get the hell out of WV. Leave WV alone. If it wasn't wrong they wouldn't have passed the law. If you don't like my comments refer to line one AGAIN!!!

  • David

    For "The bookman", and others with similar views - I'm far more familiar with the Windsor case, from beginning to end, than are you. I'm also far more familiar with the California Prop 8 case than are you. I've read every filing, every brief, and every decision. I've listened to the oral arguments where available, and read the trial transcripts. I'm a straight, married man, and the father of a straight daughter - not that either of those matter...
    So, please take me at my word when I say that the reason the SCOTUS Windsor decision didn't address the constitutionality of state-level mini-DOMA laws was only because it wasn't an issue in that particular case. Ms. Windsor filed suit against the Federal government because they taxed her on money she inherited from her legally-recognized wife. Taxes she wouldn't have owed had her wife been her husband. Ms. Windsor has been refunded those taxes, with interest.
    SCOTUS ruled, briefly, in Windsor that there is and was no constitutionally valid justification for Section III of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.
    Similarly, since the very same justifications rejected by SCOTUS in Windsor are used to defend state-level mini-DOMA laws, there's little doubt that those state-level laws are unconstitutional as well. You simply can't come up with a constitutionally-sound reason for preventing otherwise-qualified same-gender couples from marrying.
    Also, please remember that the SCOTUS, in the 1967 Loving case, rejected the idea that Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws were constitutional because they applied equally to whites and blacks. So, saying that gay men are free to marry women, or that lesbians are free to marry men, is an argument already soundly rejected by the SCOTUS. Marriage is a fundamental right, declared so in case after case. Sooner or later, it will be declared so in this case, as well.

    • The bookman

      Kudos to your summary...there is nothing in my posts that are inconsistent with your summary...so do you suggest Morrisey should protect and defend the WV statute on behalf if these two clerks by intervening in this case? Why or why not?

  • jag

    Marriage=a female & a male. period

  • bill

    if you do not like our laws get the hell out. leave West Virginia alone. If it was right they wouldn't have passed a law against it. if you don't like what I said read line one again!!!

  • Toadman

    I will pray for all who try to twist God's truth. I never once said anything about gays. I was talking about sin. If the shoe fits ... wear it. A sin is a sin. Doesn't matter if it's murder, theft, etc. Human beings have and will continue to rationalize their sin as being correct. Some people don't want to admit they have sinned. It happened from the very beginning in the garden with Adam & Eve. And things haven't changed. But, that's one thing about our country, we have the right to believe what we want. As for me and my house, we will believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and not a self made faith that changes with the wind.

    • David

      I respect your beliefs, but the Supreme Court has said that you can't make laws against people simply because you believe their fundamental existence is a sin. See: Romer vs Evans and Lawrence vs Texas.

  • The bookman

    He is wasting his time in that in almost 40 posts he has yet to offer a compelling argument as to why the AG has not acted appropriately on this issue! CCM argues that the AG should play dead as USAG Holder has done, when the problem lies with SCOTUS. I think Justice Kagan said it best a few weeks ago with regard to an unrelated issue... She stated that the more they attempt to fix things, the worse they make them...both sides attempt to over reach and impose their will on others when equal opportunity on this issue is available...the far right and the far left is to blame, as well as SCOTUS for continuing to further confuse and cloud the issue with half measures!

    • Aaron

      The compelling reason is that denying two people the right to enter into a contract based on gender is in violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. As such, the AG has no obligation to defend the law.

      Your refusal to acknowledge such a simple fact does not change it.

      • The bookman

        It isn't based on gender, it is based on sexual orientation and thus does not reach the level of scrutiny required to engage the 14th amendment...try to argue gender and see if that gets you anywhere...any two people of the same gender living together, roommates if you will, could claim marriage and reap the benefits you covet...do you really think the courts will see it as gender discrimination??? Not a chance...you try to shortcut the process by technicality, but for the government it is about the money...and they will not settle for less!

  • Aaron

    In the eyes of our federal and state governments, the institution of marriage has become nothing more than legal contract between two individuals that bestows certain legal rights and laws upon two people not enjoyed by a single individual.

    To deny those rights based on gender is discriminatory and in violation of the Equal Rights Clause of the 14th Amendment.

    It really is that simple.

    • The bookman

      What you describe is a civil union, not marriage...some states view them the same, some do not, and the federal government is at best undecided regarding it...and finally, this is not a gender defined issue... It is a sexual orientation defined issue...those two are defined by their level of scrutiny, with less weight applied to sexual orientation than gender...there is the difference and the conundrum for SCOTUS!

      • Aaron

        Where is a civil union legal?

        • The bookman

          Google civil unions, the list is easy to find, it is too lengthy to list here!

          • Aaron

            The standard deduction is one of thousands of legal rights and benefits that married couples receive that those who enter into a civil union do not.

          • Aaron

            You claim what I described was civil unions. It is not. Civil unions do not grant the same legal rights as marriage. All one has to do is look at a federal tax form. A man and a woman can file jointly and as such receive a larger standard deductions than single people can. Two people who enter into a civil union cannot legally receive the same deduction.

            Hence, you are wrong.

          • The bookman

            What is wrong about it? You asked where they were legal and I provided you the means to look it up as I did! An exhaustive list with all levels of civil unions represented...there's your proof that it isn't quite as simple as you proclaim...this issue is a patchwork quilt as your side of the argument continues to try to pound a square peg in a round hole by fundamentally changing a centuries old institution of marriage whose etymology is traced to procreation, a process same sex individuals cannot complete on their own! Is it really about money? If so, why not pursue civil unions?...there would still be some resistance but not quite like the resistance to the marriage debate!

          • Aaron

            Sorry, that doesn't work. If two men or two women enter into a civil union in one of the 4 states that recognize civil unions, the other 46 states are not required to recognize those rights.

            Nice try but wrong.

      • David

        The bookman, You're wrong. It certainly is a gender-based issue. A man in West Virginia can't marry another man, regardless of their orientation.
        When a man and woman marry in West Virginia, no one asks their orientation. Only their gender is evaluated under WV's mini-DOMA.

        • Aaron

          I'm not sure if you've heard or not David but DOMA was ruled unconstitutional. It seems that the majority believe that states who fail to recognize a legal marriage “undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage. The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects,[46] ... and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.
          Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways. By its great reach, DOMA touches many aspects of married and family life, from the mundane to the profound. It prevents same-sex married couples from obtaining government healthcare benefits they would otherwise receive. It deprives them of the Bankruptcy Code's special protections for domestic-support obligations. It forces them to follow a complicated procedure to file their state and federal taxes jointly. It prohibits them from being buried together in veterans' cemeteries.
          For certain married couples, DOMA's unequal effects are even more serious. The federal penal code makes it a crime to "assaul[t], kidna[p], or murde[r] a member of the immediate family" of "a United States official, a United States judge, [or] a Federal law enforcement officer, with the intent to influence or retaliate against that official. Although a "spouse" qualifies as a member of the officer's "immediate family," DOMA makes this protection inapplicable to same-sex spouses.
          The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”

          Like it or not, marriage in the eyes of our government is NOTHING more than a contract between two people and as such, by restricting who can enter into that contract based on gender is unconstitutional.

          As I said, it really is that simple.

          • Aaron

            There is no place in this country that allow two people to enter into a civil union that guarantees the same legal rights and privileges that the legal institution of marriage grant to two individuals.

            The institution of marriage, a state sanctioned contract, discriminates based on gender therefore it is in violation of the 14th Amendments Equal Protection Clause.

            Again, it really is that simple.

            The way I see it is the right has one of two choices. Either stop discriminating or remove the state sanction from the institution of marriage.

          • The bookman

            And I say you claim that it is marriage, and at least in WV, it is not...the closest fit to me is a civil union, and I would have no problem supporting improved rights to the partners in a civil union to more closely mirror marriage ...if your problem is tax law then lobby the IRS to change their rules to let civil unions more closely mirror marriage...it really is about money? All of these arguments really come down to money? Good luck staying "married" if money is the reason for your marriage!

          • Aaron

            You have yet to address the legal benefits of marriage and how denying them to two individuals based on gender fits in with the 14th Amendment. Everything else is fodder.

          • The bookman

            The definition of marriage is defined by the cultural preference of the governing authority who is tasked with creating the statute...in this case in this country it is the states...marriage and what constitutes one has changed and continues to change as well as the benefits bestowed by the institution...it means and continues to mean different things to different people not only here in this country but all over the world...not opinion but fact...you don't get to pick the definition and then present it to everyone as THE DEFINITION! All laws are discriminatory to some one or some class of citizens as they create a set of rules that must or must not be followed given a set of circumstances...felons are proscribed from possessing firearms for life even after serving their sentence, paying their debt to society...are they discriminated against...surely they are!!! Justice Stevens wanted all scrutiny to be raised to suspect level and it was rejected by the courts on those very grounds...it comes down to what society deems a "fundamental" right...and consider that the second amendment specifically grants the right to bear arms to citizens, yet they do not consider it "fundamental" due to a minority status of felon..as I have said here before, society and the courts are moving in your direction...what you want is a shortcut straight to a federal lift of all state bans based on the 14th amendment, as some have falsely stated was achieved this past summer through the partial strike down of DOMA...and if you are as informed as you make yourself out to be, then you either know this to be factual or refuse to accept it...I don't know which...what I will say is that reasonable people can disagree, certainly the nine justices disagree, and we on this side of the argument aren't necessarily homophobic or anti gay because we don't agree that marriage is an institution open to same sex couples...should there be a way for homosexual couples to enjoy the same set of rights and benefits that heterosexual married couples do? Is there a way to do that without eroding the current cultural definition of marriage that is most accepted in this state? I'm not sure!

          • Aaron

            I disagree that the AG is right to enter into this fight. His stance is in violation of the law thus he's no more right then were he supporting the Dred Scot case or the Loving case, even though "most" West Virginian's agreed with the majority in those cases as well.

          • Aaron

            I'm sorry, that should read cannot discriminate based on gender.

          • Aaron

            It doesn't matter what definition West Virginia recognizes. Google "legal benefits of marriage" and then look at some of the results. Entering into the "contract" of marriage entitles 2 individuals hundreds, if not thousands of rights that single people are not entitled to. Simply put, in the eyes of the law, marriage is a contract.

            We are a nation of laws founded on the Principals of the Constitution of the United States of America. That document states specifically in the 14th Amendment (good enough or do you need a separate works cited page?) that " No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

            As such, the government (state or federal) can discriminate entrance into a contract based on gender as is currently the case with the contract of marriage.

            Anyone who argues different is basing their argument on a biased opinion, not legal facts.

          • The bookman

            And I tell you that that is YOUR definition of marriage...not the definition that most West Virginians recognize...and for now, we get to decide...in the future, maybe not! But for now it remains a state issue! I know you don't like that, but that truly is the case...that is why the plaintiffs have brought this case, and why so many others are bringing these cases across the country...they are challenging the states, one at a time, to get a ruling, and either accept the victory or appeal the defeat! The tide is in your favor, but the AG is correct to fight it...that is and has been my point all along...

          • Aaron

            Your aside is, like you, incorrect. The words are Kennedy's and I placed them in quotation. I didn't realize Metro News required a bibliography. Now that I know, I wonder, is MLA acceptable or do you require Chicago style?

            And to be clear, marriage is NOTHING more than a contract between two individuals that grants them certain rights and privileges under the law. You cannot deny or debate that simple fact. As yet, no court has ruled that discrimination based on gender is unconstitutional simply because there has not been a case granted certiorari…yet. It’s only a matter of time but once they do, the ONLY legal conclusion the court can arrive at is that to deny entrance into such contract is in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

            For the third time, it really is that simple.

          • The bookman

            "In 2013, the Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, in United States v. Windsor. No state statute was in question, and therefore the Equal Protection Clause did not apply"...from the same source as your above post...it isn't so simple and the proof is that the federal government has not declared all state bans of same sex marriage unconstitutional...I think we have exhaustively commented both sides of the issue, some with valid points and some not...SCOTUS only partially struck down DOMA, no state statute was involved so they ruled that the federal ban was unconstitutional related to same sex married individuals residing in states that recognize same sex marriages...in this case it was New York...I would assume you and David know this as you have read in depth on the issue...the Feds have thrown the fight back on the states to deal with and we will continue to go state by state through these legal wranglings...and as an aside if you are going to copy someone's work and paste it as your own, at least have the decency to mention it and quote the source!

        • The bookman

          If you follow that argument to its conclusion, two friends who share an apartment and gender could marry each other without being involved in an intimate relationship with one another...the consequences of such a finding would turn the state and federal tax authorities upside down...good luck making that argument before a judge! It is an interesting twist on the issue, but such a legal finding would go beyond any change in the definition of marriage being considered here...given the court's resistance to clearly deal with the issue up to this point, I can't see them agreeing to your gender based discrimination scenario...very interesting point!

        • The bookman

          If you could present that argument before a judge, and he agreed with you, then you would have the slam dunk...as gender discrimination falls in the suspect scrutiny tier...that is not how this argument has been presented to this point however...good point!

  • JTC

    Once again WV light years behind the rest of the nation, why is Morrisey wasting the states money on this, fight crime make us safer that is the AG's job!

  • magicj

    Marriages is a state law not federal. The only thing the fed can do is say we cant outlaw people being gay. We are a nation based off the Bible not the liberal society we sadly live in todag. Keep it up wv. Keep morals in our state.

    • J the C

      That's "realm".

    • J the C

      First, although marriage is within the real, of state's rights, state laws can't offend the U.S. Constitution. Second, we are not "...a nation based off the Bible", whatever that means. More importantly, there is nothing inconsistent with being a Christian and being liberal. Christ was quite the socialist.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Pennsylvania's GOP state officials will go to federal court on June 9--although they tried to push off their court appearance until August. Pennsylvania already has over 100 legally married same gender couples, and they cannot demonstrate those same gender married couples have caused any injury whatsoever to anyone else's legal marriages.

  • mike dineen

    Morrisey is a ASS

    • CarrotCakeMan

      He's planning on wasting ALL of our tax dollars to HURT some WV taxpayers. That's assinine, all right!

  • gary

    wasting taxpayer money with entering lawsuit. Supreme Court has guaranteed state will lose. Constitution says no discrimination race creed etc. Get over it conservatives. You lose again haters. Federal law trumps state law. Try reading constitution you might learn something.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      Right! It's bad enough anti-gays are desperately trying to hold onto their anti-gay Hate Votes, but now, wasting our tax dollars is just outrageous! Right-wingers claim they are "fiscally conservative," but their actions here demonstrate they are spendthrifts.

      • Shadow

        I don't know your sexual preference, further more, I don't care, but I am accused of being anti-gay because I, and others, believe that the term "marriage" is a relationship between a man and a women. It is a definition that has stood for 5000 years and why should we change it now?

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Modern Biblical scholars have proven the Bible was intentionally mistranslated relatively recently in order to provide "Biblical cover" for then-rising levels of homophobia. For example, the word "homosexual" didn't even exist until 1870. Many major Christian and Jewish denominations condemn misusing the hate-based mistranslations to attack their fellow Americans and are marrying same gender American couples now. About 400 years ago, a group of religious authorities (sanctioned by King James I of England), secretly manipulated the English version of the Bible to reflect their own heterosexual attitude; they opposed the King kissing other men in public. But in revised versions, religious authorities re-defined the Greek word "arsenokoites" of 1 Corinthians 6:9. The most accurate translation, abusers of themselves with mankind [KJV], was pretty vague. Nevertheless, they replaced this vague 5-worded text with the not so vague and purposely targeted 1-word text, "homosexual(s)." Either way you cut it, this text does not describe loving, committed same gender couples. This campaign gave those who were looking for a reason to justify their own homophobia a license to openly express their bigotry.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Why shouldn't LGBT Americans take it personally when anti-gays LIE about the Bible so they can HURT same gender couples?