CHARLESTON, W.Va. — No immediate changes to West Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages are expected despite this week’s decision from the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down Virginia’s ban on such unions.
West Virginia is part of the 4th Circuit, which is based in Richmond, Va. and challenges to the law in the Mountain State from three same-sex couples are pending in front of U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers in Huntington Federal Court.
“(Chambers) has to follow the Constitutional principles that were set forth by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said George Carenbauer, a Charleston attorney and former state Democratic Party chair.
“It is very sweeping,” Carenbauer said of the 2-1 ruling that found gay couples have a right to marry. “It’s on federal Constitutional grounds. It says a state may not ban same-sex marriage. That’s the principle that is there and it’s a very clear principle. It’s not ambiguous at all.”
Allen Whitt, president of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, said gay marriage is not a rights issue.
“There is no right for a man who has sex with a man or a woman who has sex with a woman to be married. There’s no Constitutionally protected right for that,” Whitt said.
He said Monday’s ruling is an example of how the judiciary is becoming politicized. “What it is is a step forward for our opponents that are concerned about pushing a same-sex marriage agenda onto the people when they’ve not been able to change the minds of the people, as a whole,” Whitt said.
Both Carenbauer and Whitt were guests on Tuesday’s edition of MetroNews “Talkline.”
Supporters of Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages have 21 days to file an appeal on Monday’s decision with the full 4th Circuit or with the U.S. Supreme Court.