West Virginians, who are anxious for legal guidance on the issue of same-sex marriage, should keep an eye on neighboring Virginia.   West Virginia U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Chambers decided recently to postpone his decision in a same-sex case here pending the outcome of a legal challenge to the Commonwealth’s definition of marriage.

The Richmond-based U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals may have a decision before the end of the summer in a case where two same-sex couples challenged Virginia’s law that prevented them from marrying. The appeal comes from a decision earlier this year by U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen in Norfolk which struck down the prohibition.

Judge Allen compared the ban to an old Virginia law that blocked interracial marriage.  That was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967.

Marriage, the judge reasoned, is a basic civil right protected by the 14th Amendment, and that right is not limited to heterosexuals.   “Gay and lesbian individuals show the same capacity as heterosexual individuals to form, preserve and celebrate loving, intimate and lasting relationships,” Allen wrote.

Lambda Legal is representing three same-sex couples in West Virginia that now have their cases pending before Judge Chambers.  Lambda Legal attorney Beth Littrell believes what happens in Richmond will influence Chambers.

“If the 4th Circuit affirms the Virginia decision and says that same-sex couples have to have access to marriage, there is no justification, there would be no legitimate reason, that West Virginia would be able to put up an argument (against such marriages) that would hold up in court,” Littrell told me on a recent Talkline.

State laws against same-sex marriage have been falling like dominos since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal government must recognize them.   Just this week, A federal appeals court ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making it the 21st consecutive case where the proponents have won in state and federal courts.

This is a meaningful change in our country where a founding principle guarantees an individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit if happiness.  The courts have determined that marriage is  among those rights.  As Judge Allen wrote, people must be free from unwanted government interference to exercise that right, regardless of their sexual orientation.

 

 

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Comments

  • Cody

    My impending same sex marriage will not affect a single one of you.

    I can't believe this is even an issue. If people were so concerned about the sanctity of marriage, BAN divorces. That seems to be breaking up more marriages than allowing gays to get married.

    By the way, just an FYI... Those who make the noise and are most against it.. are often the ones sneaking out to parks to hook up with other closet cases. As can be seen by Larry Craig,George Rekers, Ted Haggard, Mark Foley and many, many more.

    So why don't all you anti-gay rights closet cases shut up and deal with your issues instead of sitting on your soap box trying to stop the rest of us who are happy and content.

    • J the C

      +1

    • Shadow

      Having been divorced, I wonder why anyone would want to bring a third party, the Government, into a good relationship. To me, it makes no sense and is just courting trouble. A good match doesn't need the Government to settle a dispute.

    • Neal

      Even though I'm not concerned about it affecting me, I am concerned about it affecting my children, grandchildren, and other loved ones in the future. The more Hollywood makes it appear as a 'normal' and accepted lifestyle then the more it will appear as a valid option to some people. I'm also concerned with the amount of violence, sex, and drug use pushed onto us by Hollywood. It's pretty easy to see what that is doing to society. Colorado.

      Nice move to label anyone who differs in opinion with you as a closet homosexual. Just because a couple dysfunctional people are in that mold most certainly doesn't mean all people are.

      • J the C

        Neal, you are misquoting Cody. Furthermore, what does Hollywood, sex, violence and drugs have to do with gay marriage. Finally, it is acceptable to most people, and what makes you think sexual preference is an "option"? Please educate yourself, or shut up!

        • Neal

          JC, it's only 'not an option' for those of you who are trying to justify your deviant lifestyle through some sort of make believe study. Ask yourself this question about your 'option': What would happen if everyone in the world took your 'option' of being a homosexual? The answer: the human race would cease to exist in about 80 years. There's your option.

      • Jason412

        Colorado is making millions and millions of dollars in tax money off something people would've been doing anyways and not paying a tax on it. What a horrible thing!

        • Fiscal Conservative

          I have read many local news articles from Colorado that say they aren't making the revenue they thought they would based on sales. Also lots of people are getting sick from hash laced food products. Also it appears most of the people outside of Denver and boulder don't much care for the legalization.

          • Jason412

            Fiscal Conservative,

            Maybe they didn't make the money they thought they would, but they made $3.5 million in marijuana tax revenue in January 2014. The first 40 million in tax revenue goes to building schools. Again I say, what a horrible thing!

        • Neal

          I'm not a fan of the theory 'they'll do it anyway so let's make it legal'. That line of thinking simply doesn't make sense. We have laws in place to protect society, not to be an enabler of a gateway drug. I predict Colorado will see a large increase in methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and other drugs.

          Just because something makes money does not make it a good thing. Prostitution makes money, would you like your daughter to go into that line of work?

          • J the C

            Yeah, and now Colorado has a law that says it's legal!

          • Aaron

            Fine bookman, I shall take your anecdotal comments as gospel. Drug use increases with legalization and marriage is a state issue.

            Now where's that eye rolling emoticon again?

          • The bookman

            Aaron,

            And as your endless back and forth with Jason412 has demonstrated in the past, the internet is full of studies that can be used to support any argument. I've read countless articles supporting both positions, each with their own set of statistics from studies performed by reputable sources. You suggested we research Portugal, specifically. I did. Nothing there to suggest in any definitive way that decriminalization reduces drug use. In fact, definitively, illicit drug use increased during the first 5 years of the decriminalization initiative. Each study supported that conclusion. After 2006, the spin on the statistics begin. Again, I don't think MJ leads specifically to other harmful drugs, but I also don't think Portugal is an example of that conclusion, as their focus was to stop incarcerating and treat substance abuse intensively.

          • Aaron

            http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/drug-decriminalization-portugal-lessons-creating-fair-successful-drug-policies

            There's also an article in Time based on this report that says, and I quote...

            "The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

            "Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does."

            Compared to the European Union and the U.S., Portugal's drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.

            The Cato paper reports that between 2001 and 2006 in Portugal, rates of lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1% to 10.6%; drug use in older teens also declined. Lifetime heroin use among 16-to-18-year-olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8% (although there was a slight increase in marijuana use in that age group). New HIV infections in drug users fell by 17% between 1999 and 2003, and deaths related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half. In addition, the number of people on methadone and buprenorphine treatment for drug addiction rose to 14,877 from 6,040, after decriminalization, and money saved on enforcement allowed for increased funding of drug-free treatment as well."

            Perhaps my statement does not ring true but the data certainly does.

          • Aaron

            I'm not holding anything up as a model. Neal stated that legalization would lead to increased drug use my statement to him was that is simply is not the case.

            Years ago, I researched the topic for a college essay and found that by and large, legalization does not increase drug use. The only reports I could find to substantiate that claim was put out by the DEA and their numbers are sketchy at best, similar to the government numbers on Meth labs.

            Portugal, which did not legalize drugs but instead decriminalized consumption amounts 12 years ago, has not seen an overall increase of drug use and has in fact seen reductions in the use of many drugs, most notably heroin. It should be noted that Portugal provides extensive drug rehabilitation to those seeking aid, which I believe we should do in this country as well.

            What has increased is the reported use of Marijuana and Hashish, by about 3%. You may feel that invalidates my claims; I do not.

          • The bookman

            You specifically referenced Portugal. Their Decriminalization was across the board, and is being held up as the model, yet looking into the statistics drug use increases, and becomes an accepted part of society. Neal's assertion that MJ is a gateway drug to cocaine or heroin doesn't ring true to me, but neither does your assertion that Portugal's experiment has led to less drug use.

          • Aaron

            Bookman,

            I reac many articles that stated legalization increases drug use is well. Of course most of those were funded by organizations that had a stake in a continued drug war. If you look at the data collected in countries where legalization has occurred, there is no significant increase in drug use of illicit drugs.

          • Neal

            From an article on Spiegel Online's web site concerning drug use in Portugal since it was decriminalized:

            "The data show, among other things, that the number of adults in Portugal who have at some point taken illegal drugs is rising. At the same time, though, the number of teenagers who have at some point taken illegal drugs is falling. The number of drug addicts who have undergone rehab has also increased dramatically".

            That doesn't sound like a glowing recommendation for legalizing or even decriminalizing drugs to me.

          • The bookman

            Aaron,

            I've read more than one article that states it increased drug use, and that the claim of success is based on the statements of one man tied to the implementation of the program. Decriminalization of all illicit drugs cannot be a way forward here, although I have no problem with marijuana as it is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, both legal substances.

          • Aaron

            Research what happened in Poetugal when they decriminalized drugs.

          • Neal

            That makes absolutely zero sense. Link to the studies?

          • Aaron

            Repeated studies have shown that drug use actually decreases with legalization. Your theory has already been debunked.

      • Beekeeper

        Well Said!

    • Fiscal Conservative

      Just because I am against gay marriage, and am in favor of civil unions and taking marriage out of the federal lexicon does not make me a "closet case". To paint everyone with that broad of a brush show a lack of intellilectual effort. This issue truly doesn't effect me except its a tactic by the left to disquise other things they are doing that do effect most Americans. I don't have any gay friends, I don't have many gay acquaintances. We generally don't cross paths, or have similar interests. But to label me a homophone or closet case is wrong.

  • Neal

    Hoppy, if you're for 'marriage equaliy' then no doubt you're also ok with incestuous and polygamist people also being permitted to legally wed. Don't get me wrong, I hope marriage remains illegal for those two groups. But do you not see the hypocrisy here? Why is it ok to think that incest and polygamy are immoral and not worthy of marriage, yet if you think of homosexuality the same way then you are labelled a bigot? In my book all three are deviances whose followers should not be permitted to legally wed. Don't be surprised that in the name of tolerance incest and polygamist marriage will soon become legal, especially if Hollywood pushes it as they did homosexuality.

    • J the C

      Wow Neal, that's really some stupid garbage!

      • Neal

        JC, how about some rational logic instead of just calling something stupid. Although I'm sure it made you feel better to call me stupid. Glad I made your day.

  • WV Grad

    Whole states vote against same sex marriages and one judge can overrule the will of the people. This needs to change.

    • mntnman

      Entire states believed in separate but equal educations for the races -- judges overruled them. Entire states believed that blacks couldn't vote (or limited their ability, couldn't go to colleges with whites, etc.) Judges overruled them We have appeal processes. The ultimate decider is SCOTUS. So one judge isn't doing it. The legal system the Founders created in the Constitution is doing it.

      We the people don't get to discriminate or otherwise violate the constitution just because we vote to do so -- that's the point of the constitution -- to protect everyone from everyone else. You can't vote away some one else's constitutional rights. Example -- no state could by majority vote reinstate slavery. No state could, by majority vote, decide to have a state religion, or take peoples guns, etc,etc.

      Agree or not, judges decide what the Constitution means -- that's we way it was set up by our Founders -- its what they intended and agreed to.

      So, the majority doesn't get to decide what rights we have under the Constitution. The whole point of a Constitution is to set up rules we all have to live by. Unless, of course, we choose to amend the Constitution. But then that's another matter.

      • Rich

        Well said
        +10

      • Aaron

        Amen

  • any major dude

    From the get-go I have thought this was a misunderstanding about the definition of marriage. It is in fact an institution of the state, and I assume there may even be some readers who were never married in a church at all. The state part involves death benefits, tax benefits etc., the church part is purely optional anyway. I agree that Republicans tend to blur the line between church and state and therefore find themselves in a bit of a conundrum about this issue, and Democrats tend to draw a bright line between the two institutions and therefore interpret marriage in an overly broad way. As a raging moderate, then, I would like to see civil unions for gays and lesbians, and leave the church decisions to the church.

  • mntnman

    A truly libertarian point of view, if ever I read one.

    My oldest brother is gay. He tells me it was never a choice for him. He tells me that it is the way he is. I remember from the earliest days (he is 3 years older than me) that he wasn't interested in girls. He had girls as friends, but I was too young to understand at the time -- in hindsight it appears that from his earliest days he was inclined to lean toward being gay. So, perhaps it is not a choice. But I don't really know either.

    My father was really old school -- he struggled with the issue -- but he never stopped loving his son. He always treated my brother with respect and love. But my brother never brought his partners around either -- I think out of love and respect for my dads struggles. Since my dad died, we have come to know his partner, and he is family, even though they never made the relationship legally binding. We care for him and treat him as a brother-in-law.

    Having said all that I have struggled too with the issue of marriage for same sex couples. Being Catholic, marriage is a sacrament -- a religious undertaking. Being an attorney, it is easy for me to look at the Constitution and understand why the rights of same sex couples are being violated. In a church, a marriage is NOT just a legal construct for two people to bind themselves to one another. On the other hand, a civil union is a legal construct. It is designed to provide not only a affirmation of the binding relationship between two people, but also give them the legal rights of a marriage. In the end, the only real difference between the two for those who are not religious may simply be a matter of semantics. There is a real difference for those of faith, though.

    While I suspect that the courts are going to eventually decide that marriage cannot be denied same sex couples, they cannot and will not require churches to sanction the marriages. So most same sex couples will get married, before a judge or other civil servant (undoubtedly some churches, limited as they may be will perform same sex marriage). And that will be that. Another step along our way.

    So what does it all mean for our society. It once again reaffirms our fealty to the principles in the Constitution, as painful as they may be to some, and as disruptive to public discourse as they may be. That is why I love my country. The right to life, liberty and happiness are not just words -- they are put into action, even when many object -- even when they appear disruptive to ordinary folks -- even when they cause us to change the way we view the world. Equal protection means just that -- freedom of religion means just that. We seem to find a way to manage both, while protecting both.

    While I may struggle with the issue, it is another day where I am proud to say I am an American -- our Constitution is not just words. It is the way we live in our society. All of us, each different. Warts and all -- even when we don't agree. And I think that's the way it was intended. And I am glad for that. And I am proud to be part of this special society.

    • Neal

      Mntnman, do you think it's ok for a brother and sister to get married? If not, then why is it not ok for me to think that two men should not get married?

      • J the C

        Neal, go to your local community college and enroll in a course that teaches logic and reason. That argument holds about as much water as a sieve.

        • Neal

          JC, see the line of reasoning above in this thread. Where are the holes in the logic? Are you saying it's ok to discriminate against some people and not others?

      • Aaron

        Genetic deformities occurr in incestuous relationships.

        • Neal

          Playing devil's advocate, if a brother and sister want to get married and are aware of the risks with their offspring, then why should you or anyone else deny them of their pursuit of happiness as guaranteed by the constitution?

          Ok, so what if the brother or sister are sterile? Will you still deny them of their constitutional rights? Hopefully you see my point. I'm only in favor of traditional marriage, but anyone who says incestuous relationships are not worthy of marriage but yet says homosexual relationships are worthy of marriage is a hypocrit.

          • Aaron

            I've been called worse.

          • Neal

            It's ok you'll get used to being called a bigot. It just takes a while.

          • Aaron

            It feels like more bunk.

          • Neal

            Still dancing and squirming I see. I bring up a valid argument and your only response is that it's 'bunk'.

            You my friend are a bigot, just like I am (apparently) since you don't think a certain group of people should be protected under the equal protection clause of the constitution. Now how does that feel?

          • Aaron

            I'm not dancing around anything other than I believe it ignorant to compare homosexuality and incest. You ask for a valid reason as to why we do not allow incestuous marriages and I gave it to you. In response, you offer up bunk. You are not against gay marriage, you are against homosexuality and I see no point in that argument.

          • Neal

            Aaron, you're doin a great job I dancing around the question because you know the answer doesn't bode well for your beliefs. I'm sure you'd make a great liberal politician!

            So strike 'pursuit of happiness' from my last post and insert 'equal protection'. Now what do you say?

          • Aaron

            Incest has been around probably longer than homosexuality and is rampant in the Bible. That's all well and good.

            As to the claim that it is constitutional, as there is no pursuit of happiness clause but it merely a part of the preamble, your argument that he is constitutional on those grounds does not hold water.

            Nice try though.

    • The bookman

      You write

      "While I suspect that the courts are going to eventually decide that marriage cannot be denied same sex couples, they cannot and will not require churches to sanction the marriages. So most same sex couples will get married, before a judge or other civil servant (undoubtedly some churches, limited as they may be will perform same sex marriage). And that will be that. Another step along our way."

      Would forcing the church to perform marriage ceremonies be a deal breaker for you? Courts are already forcing individuals to participate in ceremonies indiscriminately. I don't share the opinion that at some point in the future churches would be required to permit marriages of non traditional unions.

      • mntnman

        They won't. Freedom of Religion. Its in the Constitution.

        • Aaron

          Sadly, I disagree with that statement. I think eventually government will force churches to perform all state sanctioned marriages or perform none, which is why I favor eliminating churches being stripped of "the power vested" in performing marriages.

    • Aaron

      I agree, very well stated.

    • Renea

      Very well written! Thank you for writing it.

  • Abraham

    First you took away the stoning of those committing adultery. Now this.....

  • jay zoom

    if this Judge can't make a decision on his own what the hell is he doing in office.

  • 2XLPatriot

    Can we please move forward? Just make it a civil union and be done with it! Marriage is between one man and one woman, period! We have much more pressing issues in this state and country than to bicker and argue over the social issues that should be kept in the privacy of ones home.

    There are almost daily news reports of child molestations, starving and/or mistreated children, elderly folks choosing between medication or food and we continue to pry into the private lives of people. This is no longer news, it is pure social gossip that is not worth the breath it takes to speak it.

    Report news that makes people pay attention and enlightens them to the real problems in our country. The sad, unbelievable and heinous that demands public outcry and action instead of this crap. And yes, it is crap because it is nothing more than a political agenda shoved down our throats every day.

    • Aaron

      "We have much more pressing issues in this state and country than to bicker and argue over the social issues that should be kept in the privacy of ones home."

      What about Tax Benefits including filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members, estate planning benefits such as
      inheriting a share of your spouse's estate, receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse, creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts, obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be.

      Those are just a few of the thousands of the legal benefits of marriage. If you were losing out on those benefits based on your gender, would you still feel the same way you do?

      • 2XLPatriot

        I clearly stated "Make it a civil union". I did not however, state that they should not receive such benefits. Quit nitpicking.

        • Aaron

          The nitpicking exist because the issue has not been settled because the Republican Party, despite many claiming they support civil unions have not introduced such legislation and will have to live with judicial results.

          • Aaron

            Name the Republicans who have proposed civil union legislation!!!

          • Silas Lynch

            Name the Republicans not in support of Civil Unions. I'm quite sure there are more than just a few but I'm unfamiliar with who they are and would like to hear their reasoning.

            I also remember the LBGT community recently rejecting "Civil Unions" as well and insisted on "marriage"-- Civil Union is by far the easiest as well as the fairest solution to this trifling debate. I often hear the LBGT community being as stubborn and unyielding as the more radical religious zealots in the country--- except of course, for the most devout of Muslims..

      • Jason412

        2xl,

        "Marriage is between one man and one woman, period!"

        Can you please provide the legislation that says that to be the case? I know it certainly isn't in the Constitution. If anything the Constitution states the opposite.

        This laws of this country are and should be based on the Constitution, not the Bible.

        • 2XLPAtriot

          Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

          George Washington

          • Jason412

            "The Barlow Translation entered into the official treaty book which would of been the text presented to both Adams and the Senate does not contain the infamous quote "

            I believe you're misunderstanding that. The Arabic text does not include Article 11, it is replaced by a personal letter, the Barlow translation does include Article 11. The Barlow translation, including Article 11, is what was presented to Adams and the Senate.

            From your post
            "The fact that Article 11 of the Barlow translation, with its famous phrase, "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," does not exist at all. There is no Article 11. The Arabic text which is between Articles 10 and 12 is in form a letter"

            That is saying there is no Article 11 in the Arabic version. It clearly says Article 11 was in the Barlow translation. When it says "There is no Article 11" that is in reference to the Arabic version.

            This is apparent by this quote

            “The Senate, my good friend, and I said so at the time, ought never to have ratified the treaty alluded to, with the declaration that 'the government of the United States, is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.' What else is it founded on? This act always appeared to me like trampling upon the cross. I do not recollect that Barlow was even reprimanded for this outrage upon the government and religion.” - James McHenry

            That is obviously referencing Article 11 of the Barlow translation.

            "It is to be remembered that the Barlow translation is that which was submitted to the Senate (American State Papers, Foreign Relations, II, 18-19) and which is printed in the Statutes at Large and in treaty collections generally; it is that English text which in the United States has always been deemed the text of the treaty."

            So, as I said, the version of the treaty presented to Adams and the Senate did include Article 11.

            http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/bar1796t.asp

            This is what was submitted to the Senate. Please note Article 11

          • Silas Lynch

            Jason412

            "Yes, it is the Treaty of Tripoli. And as the last time someone here asked me if I've read it, the answer remains the same, that I have."-- Jason412

            I asked if you have ever read "the original" in which you said "YES" but if you had you would know there is no "Article 11" that contains the quote you attribute to Adams-- The Barlow Translation entered into the official treaty book which would of been the text presented to both Adams and the Senate does not contain the infamous quote of:
            " As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion"--

            As even a casual examination of the annotated translation of 1930 shows, the Barlow translation is at best a poor attempt at a paraphrase or summary of the sense of the Arabic; and even as such its defects throughout are obvious and glaring. Most extraordinary (and wholly unexplained) is the fact that Article 11 of the Barlow translation, with its famous phrase, "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," does not exist at all. There is no Article 11. The Arabic text which is between Articles 10 and 12 is in form a letter, crude and flamboyant and withal quite unimportant, from the Dey of Algiers to the Pasha of Tripoli. How that script came to be written and to be regarded, as in the Barlow translation, as Article 11 of the treaty as there written, is a mystery and seemingly must remain so. Nothing in the diplomatic correspondence of the time throws any light whatever on the point -- The Avalon Project- Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy; Yale Law School; Lillian Goldman Law Library

          • Jason412

            Yes, it is the Treaty of Tripoli. And as the last time someone here asked me if I've read it, the answer remains the same, that I have.

            A snippet from John Adam's signing agreement

            'Now be it known, That I John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof."


            He may of not penned the exact words, as is the case in many things that President's sign or say that are later attributed to them, but he certainly agreed with them and signed his name to a document declaring America was not founded on the Christian religion.

            Like I said before, a quote regardless of where it originated, doesn't change the fact the Bible never supersedes the Constitution.

            If it were intended to, I'm sure they could have figured a way to pencil that in, but instead they decided not to even mention the Bible. Maybe because they knew this would be a nation of many religions that aren't Christianity.

          • Silas Lynch

            Jason412

            "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" - John Adams

            Being a little fast and lose and to whom factual quotes are attributed to, aren't you. I believe that is actually part of the Treaty of Tripoli written by Barlow and signed by Adams... But, I understand how you are and if you want to count that as a quote from Adams, be my guest. I suppose you are technically right but have you ever read the original Treaty of Tripoli?

          • Jason412

            A quote doesn't mean the Bible supersedes the Constitution, ever.

            The Bible also says Thou Shalt Not Kill, but several states still have the death penalty. I guess like most things, it's pick and chose.

            I'll end with my own quote

            "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" - John Adams

      • The bookman

        It's not based on gender. It's based on sexual orientation. You knowingly choose gender based on the applied level of scrutiny.

        • Aaron

          I disagree. Nothing in existing same sex marriage legislation requires sexual relations between the parties thus the discrimination is based on gender.

          • Aaron

            Aaron's position is to support the constirution. That is why I hVe always supported civil unions but fir 2 decades, could not fond more than a handful of Republicans who agreed. Until the courts started ruling and now it's all but too late.

          • The bookman

            MCC,

            You are correct, as marriage has been reduced to money. Probably why so many fail. Pity! I can, and will, accept the progressive descent of our culture. But, I don't have to agree that it is to our benefit as a society. When SCOTUS rules in favor of Aaron's position, and against mine, I'll accept it and move on. But in the end, a traditional marriage will always involve a heterosexual couple, and a same sex wedding will always carry an asterisk. Change is inevitable, but as we have witnessed with this current administration, change isn't always beneficial. Sometimes there is no parallel to hope and change, as sometimes they are divergent.

            So, how bout that cracker?

          • Mason County Contrarian

            In the final analysis, this is a money issue plain and simple.

            It always, in one way or another, boils down to the Benjamins.

            Now, can we once again begin to do something to bring economic diversity and development to this state?

          • Aaron

            I thought Mtnman did an excellent job of addressing the constitutional aspect of this argument so there's really no need for me to address your inaccuracies other than to say that the biggest reason the Supreme Court had not addresses the Constitutionality of marriage is two-fold; they would have no choice but to arrive at the conclusion that to limit marriage is unconstitutional but also, until recently there has been no case on which to rule.

            As to the institution of marriage, it's not my view that matters, it is the governments and when you get down to the nitty gritty, based on the law, despite the holier than thou attitude of so many regarding the institution, yeah, it's just a contract that yields benefits to the involved.

            As frustrating as it is to be wrong on this issue, it really is that simple.

          • The bookman

            I was under the impression that Words Mean Things. The Constitution provides the backbone of our American Society. It is a malleable document, subject to the changing values and mores of our culture. What is "constitutional" changes over time, and is determined by those appointed to the court, not by the words on the paper. And as will be evident in this case, it will be the court who decides which definition of marriage will apply, and in my opinion, whether marriage as has been defined for centuries as one man, one woman is relevant anymore. I'll chalk you up as marriage is irrelevant by those standards. Just a contract that yields benefits to each party. Simple really.

          • Aaron

            I was under the impression that the constitution apply to all citizens.

          • The bookman

            Twenty one judges have acquiesced to the pressure of a segment of the population that believes it's ok to change the purpose of marriage. I will accept that when the SCOTUS rules on this issue, as they have ducked the clarity that should have been provided long ago. Shouldn't be too much longer now!

          • Aaron

            Marriage in the eyes of the government is nothing more than a legal contract that grants legal rights and privileges to those "married" that are denied to individuals.

            The right to enter into that contract is currently restricted to individuals of opposite genders and denied to couples of the same gender. No matter how you slice it, denying entrance into that contract to same sex couples is a violation of their constitutional rights.

            21 judges agree because it really is that simple.

          • The bookman

            I'm not the one advocating that the square peg should go in the round hole. Marriage is not consistent with homosexual unions in that they, by definition, do not, and can not, result in procreation. Families, yes. Procreation, no. Marriage has been co-opted to be also a contract that is legal and binding. But that fact doesn't change the definition or purpose of marriage.

          • Aaron

            So will there be a litmus test then? Must the applicants be required to perform a sexual act on demand as proof that they are homosexual or is an affidavit proof enough?

          • The bookman

            dis·crim·i·nate
            disˈkriməˌnāt/
            verb
            1.
            recognize a distinction; differentiate.
            "babies can discriminate between different facial expressions of emotion"
            synonyms: differentiate, distinguish, draw a distinction, tell the difference, tell apart; More
            perceive or constitute the difference in or between.
            "bats can discriminate a difference in echo delay of between 69 and 98 millionths of a second"
            2.
            make an unjust or prejudicial distinction in the treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, sex, or age.
            "existing employment policies discriminate against women"
            synonyms: be biased against, be prejudiced against; More
            Origin

            early 17th century: from Latin discriminat- ‘distinguished between,’ from the verb discriminare, from discrimen ‘distinction,’ from the verb discernere (see discern).

            Utilizing the definition of discriminate, the second iteration, is this debate a discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation of the individual? If it's gender, are we choosing to prefer males over females, or vice versa? If it's sexual orientation, are we choosing between homosexuals and heterosexuals? To use your phrase on this issue, it really is that simple.

            The argument is clearly discrimination based on sexual orientation, and SCOTUS must decide if society demands to treat it with the higher level of scrutiny associated with race and gender.

          • Aaron

            In the eyes of the government marriage is nothing more than a contract between two people. One in which they discriminate based on gender. They cannot do that.

            Those who wish to define marriage in a manner that you do should have acted two decades ago and past civil union laws. That didn't happen so now judicial action is the result.

          • The bookman

            Procreation between committed partners led to the institution of marriage. So to say that a consensual physical relationship is not a basic tenet of marriage demonstrates the depth to which marriage has been redefined in this country. Marriage is not about money and tax benefits. It is a necessity in advanced civilized society. Permitting same sex unions as traditional marriage fundamentally changes it. That is what is happening here, and unless the SCOTUS intends to see it my way, the fight is over. The world won't come to an end, but reducing marriage to a contract that confers financial benefits undermines its true value.

          • Aaron

            But it is not a requirement, is it? Gender is what defines marriage hence gender is the discrimination.

          • The bookman

            Actually a marriage can be annulled on such a basis.

          • Aaron

            Is sexual relations required in traditional marriage?

          • The bookman

            So then two roommates of the same gender may apply for the same extension of these marriage benefits? Or does the government have to discern their level of affection to qualify?

            Men and women receive the benefit in the eyes of the state equally, and are therefore not discriminated against by gender. It is only when viewed through the prism of sexual orientation that the disconnect occurs.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Live and let live, for crying out loud. There always has to be something or someone posing a threat to society. In the end, we don't have to account for what others did or did not do--only ourselves and our actions. As a person of faith, I always believed some things were black and white. With age I have been privileged to see the large amount of gray that is in the world.
    Here's hoping everyone's vision widens.

    Live and let live.

    • Neal

      So then I may assume that you have no problem with incestuous or polygamist people getting married, correct? I'm sure those will be the next dominos to fall in just the next few years. Especially if Hollywood gets behind them as they did homosexuality.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        You cannot be serious with that your reply. Even "live and let live" has its limits--any rational individual knows that.

        Let it go.

        • Neal

          'Let it go' does not a rational argument make.

          I'm absolutely serious. As ludicrous as incestuous marriage sounds, not too many years ago the vast majority of Americans thought of homosexual marriage as just as ludicrous. Now after years of being hammered by the media/Hollywood about how 'normal' homosexuality is, here we are. Not that I'm in favor of incestuous marriage, but explain to me how homosexuals' constitutional rights are being violated by not being allowed to marry, while incestuous couples' rights aren't being violated by not being allowed to marry.

  • Wowbagger

    Virginia and West Virginia have always been culturally very different places. The Civil War just provided an excuse for separarion.

    West Virginia has always been the more libertarian jurisdiction (scots-irish early settlers) and I suspect barring the religious focus partially generated by the term "marriage" might be more receptive in some regards.

    • Wowbagger

      I left out a couple of commas above(8:00 am appointment rush), but after reading subsequent comments I rest my case. A lot more commentors object to gay marriage than gay civil unions!

      • Silas Lynch

        Yes, and the seemingly loudest protestors to "civil unions" is the gay community itself.-- As I heard one declare his protest of "civil union" instead of marriage; "Do you think the blacks would of settled for sitting in the middle of the bus instead of the front"?

        • Aaron

          I don't disagree with that statement Mr. Lynch as I recall many in the LGBT community going back in the 90s saying if they couldn't have marriage they wanted nothing. It doesn't change the fact that Republicans should have championed civil union legislation and let the courts to decide whether that legislation would have been acceptable or not.

  • Pickle Barrel

    Judge Chambers is concerned about his decision being overturned by the 4th Circuit? Didn't seem to stop him all those times he was overturned in the coal cases.

  • Medman

    Isn't it about time to quit making same sex marriage a front page article every time anyone says anything about it?

  • Aaron

    Judge Chambers should be more concerned with following the Constitution instead of Virginia.

    • Hillboy

      I may be reading this article incorrectly but I don't think this has anything to do with the state of WV trying to follow the lead of the mother state. It's at the federal level now, so it seems to me constitutionality IS what is being judged. The 4th circuit court of appeals just happens to be in Richmond. The headline tends to lead one slightly astray. I don't think that was intended.

      • Aaron

        I'm not suggesting that this is a West Virginia judge waiting on the motherland. I'm stating that as a federal judge, Chambers should follow what the Constitution says and not worry about what other courts state.

        I realize his verdict is subject to the fourth circuit and that by waiting he is potentially eliminating the risk of his decision being overturned but if he wants to follow what the courts are saying then as Hoppy pointed out, 21 consecutive rulings have found, rightfully so that discrimination of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

        Despite what others say this is not a state issue, this issue is clearly a federal issue. I do agree that civil unions are the solution that should include the federal government sanctioning NO marriages. I believe this is an issue in which Republicans have totally screwed the pooch as they should have pushed for civil union legislation a decade ago. Unfortunately they are more worried about the God aspect then the government aspect of this issue and as such will reap what they have sown and as a result have lost a lot of potential voters.

        • Jason412

          +1 Aaron

        • Hillboy

          I agree. thanks for clarifying.

  • The bookman

    My position remains that this is a state's rights issue, and that to fundamentally change the definition and intent of the centuries old institution of marriage to include same sex couples results in something other than marriage. I would support a civil union that extends the financial and social benefits of marriage as a compromise, however I don't see that olive branch approach from the right, nor do I think the left believes such a compromise is necessary, as they have all the momentum. No judge wants his/her decision to be overturned, and I think Judge Chambers can read the writing on the wall.

    • Hillboy

      I'm with you on this one. This is what happens when there is not a clear separation between church and state. Governments should recognize domestic unions and leave marriages to the churches.

    • St. Jimmy

      I think all weddings performed by non-religous officials should be called "civil unions" (including my own) and leave marriage to the religious.

    • Wowbagger

      Agreed,

      I grew up with lesbian neighbors, who were good friends of my family and accepted members of the community. One lady had been a prominent educator, whose name would probably still be recognized by some readers, before retirement. When she had health problems the need for civil unions immediately became apparent. My only problem is with incorporating the term "marriage" for same aex couples.

  • CaptainQ

    First of all, Hoppy, welcome back from your vacation!

    Secondly, since when has WV ever followed Virginia's lead on ANYTHING? One hundred and fifty one years ago, we left Virginia because we wanted to stay in the Union rather than be a part of the Confederacy. Even as recently as 2012, WV did NOT follow the Old Dominion's lead by casting the majority of our Presidential votes for Mitt Romney rather than to help reelect Barack Obama.

    The bottom line is, regardless of the issue, why should the Mountain State try to mirror Virginia at all? Judge Chambers should decide for himself how to rule, not pin his decision on what any other state does, period!