CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Same-sex marriage is now legal in West Virginia. It happened Thursday afternoon after state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he could no longer defend the state’s Defense of Marriage Act following action earlier this week by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Minutes after Morrisey’s announcement state DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling announced same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses would not be turned away at county courthouses.

“Early on in this case I had a duty to defend the state law but once the Supreme Court has made its decision and you don’t see a pathway forward you have to accept that,” Morrisey told MetroNews. “That’s why we’ve indicated we’re respecting the U.S. Supreme Court decision and moving forward.”

Morrisey was fighting the challenge made to the state law by three same-sex couples who filed a lawsuit in 2013. The case was almost identical to one in Virginia which eventually resulted in overturning the ban on same-sex marriages in that state and that’s the case the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up.

“Once that decision came down it became clear what would happen to the West Virginia case,” Morrisey said.

Lambda Legal represented the same-sex couples in the West Virginia challenge. Attorney Beth Littrell said Morrisey’s decision was the right thing to do both constitutionally and fiscally.

“This means that there’s nobody standing in the way for same-sex couples in West Virginia to exercise their constitutional rights and be able to get married,” Littrell said.

DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling said the new wording on marriage licenses for same-sex couples would be available by next Tuesday at the latest. Couples who begin the licensing process in the interim will receive licenses with the old wording of “groom and bride” as opposed to the new “applicant and applicant.”

Within minutes of the announcement, Chris Bostic and David Epp became the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in Kanawha County. There were several licenses granted in Cabell County with one couple being married on the courthouse steps in Huntington. However, the news was slow to spread across the state. A tweet from Travis Crum of the LGBT advocacy group Fairness West Virginia claimed a same-sex couple in Randolph County was denied a marriage license because the clerk hadn’t received notification.

Littrell predicted it would be busy over the next few weeks.

“There will be a wave of couples who have pent up energy and need to be able to get married to secure their relationships with each other and their children,” she said.

AG Morrisey said there are still a few things that must be done to finalize the lawsuit that is still before U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin responded to Morrisey’s decision with the following statement:

“As the attorney general stated today, recent rulings by several federal courts, combined with the refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this issue, make it clear that laws banning same-sex marriage have been declared unconstitutional. I do not plan to take any actions that would seek to overturn the courts’ decisions. West Virginia will uphold the law according to these rulings, and I have directed state agencies to take appropriate action to make that possible.

“Our state is known for its kindness and hospitality to residents and visitors alike. I encourage all West Virginians—regardless of their personal beliefs—to uphold our statewide tradition of treating one another with dignity and respect.”

Littrell said she had no way to predict how long the legal challenge would continue in West Virginia. She said she felt good about their chances as constitutions and laws in more and more states were being overturned when it came to the marriage issue.

“It did feel like the win would come sooner rather than later,” she said.

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Comments

  • wvu1150

    I believe this should be the peoples vote. I have no opinion either way, but this issue should be voted on by the people. We all know that politicians only want what's best for themselves. So but it on a ballot and let us West Virginias vote in it.

    • Tam

      It was already on the ballot!! We voted to keep marriage as a man and a woman!! Now a COURT says NO-- they don't care what the people in the state think.

    • Bob

      Absolutely not.

      The rights of other humans should never be voted on. I'm sure there were tons of people who thought we should put that slavery issue on the ballot.

      Women's suffrage?

      Interracial marriage?

      Sometimes, what right isn't popular.

    • Sid

      Yeah, I can't think of a single time in human history where the whims of a tyrannical majority have subverted the democratic process to oppress a minority. Not. One. Single. Time.

    • pocaguy

      They did this in several states and it only takes one judge to call it unconstitutional and they did. Like it or not the will of the people is irrelevant.

  • Dr Pill

    Looks like AG Patrick Morrisey doesn't want to be reelected in 2016. Giving up without a fight will NOT make him very popular in WV.

    • Ron From Morgantown

      That's right get organized and defeat him ! Thanks

  • DeeDee

    I hear Iran is offering special honeymoon packages.

  • Martinsburg Resident

    In the Future: Hey I'm in love with another guy & he's in love with another girl & the other girl is in love with my sister & my sister is in love with my best friend's cousin's sister, who recently professed her love to my grandma... In keeping with our traditions of "Political Correctness", one marriage license should be issued. After all we changed the definition of marriage once, why shouldn't we just expand it some more? (Sarcasm)

    Marriage is between 1 man & 1 woman, period. Like I have stated before, create your own description/definition/word of same sex union, but it will never be marriage, regardless what our out of control, politically correct courts rule. If I woke up tomorrow and decided I was a dolphin & got some people to agree, that doesn't make me a dolphin... it would make me insane... I think society has reached this point...Political correctness & Insanity rules. For the record I could not care less what 2 consenting adults want to do to & with each other, just come up with your own definition instead of hijacking MARRIAGE! That would make too much sense... Main stream media repeats over & over that conservatives are the ones pushing lifestyle on others... Sure they do... LOL!

    • cb

      Why spend so much damn time worrying about marriage. Marriage is a man made word, take it up with your church if they are having ceremonies, but words tend to change with language.

      Take the word engineer, a janitor is now an environmental engineer. The world changes and so do the words.

      I say congrats to all the people who have been living together but can now have the same state and federal protections that my wife and I have. Silliness has went on to long, religiously its up to you, but legally this was a no win fight at all.

      • Martinsburg Resident

        The Church I attend would welcome anyone and everyone is welcome to hear God's truth... He loves gays, adulterers, drug addicts, etc... All things are permissible but not all things are profitable. Religion is man made, but a personal relationship with Christ is what a true believer has... All that being said, homosexuality is a sin. Love the sinner - hate the sin... This whole ruling goes hand in hand with everything the progressive liberals are trying to make everyone accept. God is the final judge on this, not man. God's definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. You can insult me and all believers all you want, but in the end you're only insulting your Creator. Have a blessed day. Btw... you nor I made these rules God did & a homosexual can still be a believer, just as a murderer and thief can be (the first Christian, a thief, hung on a cross beside Christ)... I stumble everyday, but God's grace covered ALL sin over 2000 years ago. I don't pretend to understand it fully, but I accept what His word says. Nothing I or anyone else can do will save us... ONLY our faith & belief in Christ is all we need. Good night!

        • Christianity is a myth

          F your "god" and your buy-bull

          • martinsburg Resident

            Deny Him all you want... He is your God / Creator too & loves you in spite of your hatred... calling wrong - right or blue - red doesn't make it truth... just prayed for you, have a blessed day!

      • Don WV

        It is about West Virginia law! They should uphold OUR laws to the bitter end!

        • Bob

          Absolutely not!

          West Virginia law was just deemed unconstitutional. That makes it no longer West Virginia law. So the bitter end came last week. There is nothing here to fight.

        • cb

          Yeah keep spending our money on something that they will never ever win.

        • timebomb

          It is the bitter end. Accept your losses and move on with your own life. The lives of these people have nothing to do with you so get over it.

    • Abbagoochie

      Political correct speech makes the truth a lie.

    • Shepherdstown > Martinsburg

      While I understand your frustration...

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marriage

      • Martinsburg Resident

        Webster's man made definition to appease political correctness... like I said, progressive liberals can call it what they want, but it is not Marriage. Although I do understand many people now call right wrong & wrong right... our world is upside down in many aspects. Why don't we also call adultery marriage to make us all feel better? I think shoplifting should be redefined as a shopping spree, etc... call it what you & your progressive friends want... it's not Marriage... (I'll patiently wait for someone to bash the Bible & all the religious people now.....) It's not about religion, it is God's definition... Religion, after all, is Man Made... right? (waiting on the atheists to bash God now....) I'm not going to debate foolishness... you all are doing a good enough job yourselves. Have a great day!

        • Payge

          The word itself is manmade and you saying that marriage is between a man and a woman only makes you sound really ignorant. Marriage is between two people that love each other...just because you are miserable don't try to make others miserable...move on...other's lives have nothing to do with you.

          • Martinsburg Resident

            Like I said, it does no good to debate a Fool.

  • Abbagoochie

    The sewer grows wider and deeper as the sad state of west virginia is swallowed up by filth.

    • cb

      Yeah the doctors handing out all the pills, and the pill heads running around are really piling up....Oh you meant gay marriage, yeah this totally is filth... Hide yo kids hide yo wife gay people getting married up in here.......

  • Cal

    Congratulations to all the soon to be married couples in WVa!

  • fred

    Makes me wanna puke....
    Sad day for WV

    • cb

      You know what makes me want to puke? People who judge other people. People who look passed all their sins to view the sins of others and judge them.

      So if a gay couple could live together and can now legally by state law get married. How does that have such an impact on you?

      Oh, maybe you are in a relationship and now you are going to have to get married because it is legal.....

      Seriously, this was easy to call years ago when we as a state were making sure we made it illegal to get married in our state. That was the stupidest move because it was obvious it was going to be overturned because it was unconstitutional.

  • joeyjojo

    sickening. This country is no longer worth fighting for.

    • Smilin Sid

      You're welcome to leave and settle in a country more suitable for your backwards ideology, you know. I'd say you'd probably be pretty happy in Uganda, but you're probably a racist too.

    • timebomb

      you obviously never were worth it either.

  • American not a subject

    Government has no business in marriage, period. Stop seeking it's approval for your personal business. Marriage is between the individuals and is a private matter.

    • cb

      Until you die and your partner has to pay fees they wouldnt have to pay because you arent legally married. Lets say you want health insurance and your partner had health insurance, to bad.

      People should just let people do what they want to do and focus on their sins. This decision did nothing to my heterosexual relationship with my wife and I. It messes with me in no way at all.

      If your church agrees to marry people and you disagree then deal with that, but marriage in the government eyes does not have to equal marriage in the churches eye.

  • TruthTeller

    SHAME!!!! SHAME!! SHAME!!! God wrath and judgement will be upon you now. How selfish and foolish you people are!!! Your state is doomed now!!!! FOOLS!!!!

    • Sara

      Who are you to say what God will do? Do you know him and how he truly feels? Nope you just know what is written in the bible by a man who claims he was able to hear God!!! Shut up and wait for your own judgment day!!!!

    • Dennis C

      There is no god, get over it.

      • Help us!!!!

        Dennis pray you find a rationship with him before its to late, if your right we've lost nothing, but if we are right , and we are you've lost everything!!!!

    • PreacherMan

      Really? I do believe that God's wrath and judgement was nailed to the cross?? So, Is the Cross of the Lord of no effect?? Your comment is so wrong it isnt even funny. PLEASE for your own sake, learn the book you claim to love!!

    • Bob

      I would argue that Matthew 19 makes it pretty darn clear that Jesus was open and accepting of homosexuals.

      Actually, if you understand what you are reading, the Bible (and particularly the New Testament) are clearly in favor of same sex relationships.

      • Artimus

        "We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me." (I Timothy 1:9-11)

        With that said either (1) your reading comprehension skills suck or (2) you haven't really read much of the New Testament.

        • PreacherMan

          Or it could mean that YOU quoted a flawed translation!

    • Payge

      So you seem to think that you are a better person than a gay couple...Do you not realize that you have no right to judge anyone else? I think that God would have a bigger issue with you being as judgemental as you are.

    • Sid

      Clean the spittle off your monitor and the drool off your keyboard, preacher. This is happening, and your imaginary friend doesn't care.

    • Rich

      I'll be glad to stand with you at the pearly gates and see whom God judges more harshly.

  • Moco man

    Should never quit fighting........should fight for what's right to the bitter end. Terrible leadership and a very sad day for what was at one time a proud state...........

    • WVDoomed

      God's blessings on WV is withheld now. He will not bless a nation, state, city that 'upholds' wickedness and damns morals! Arse-backwards is the way these cowards and incompetent nitwits rule. They make good evil and evil good. They have no idea what is about to happen to those who wallow in immorality. Enjoy your trip. And THIS is a definite wake up call to each and every christian in WV who WILL show up to vote and vote those who refuse to fight the good fight. They will not be working for us any longer. Of course it's clear they weren't anyway. The MAJORITY lost because of deceitful leadership in WV. WV citizens/christians won't tolerate it. See you at the polls christians. We are the MAJORITY!

    • The bookman

      Ultimately, we live in a land that respects the rule of law. Kudos to both the Governor and the AG for appropriately discharging their duty to respect the process, and move on after the process has concluded.

      For the 30 states that fall under the Federal jurisdictions whose US circuits struck down the bans, the bitter end has arrived. The fight still rages in the other 20 states.

      In a state where only 1/4 of registered voters support same sex marriage, I would suggest both the AG and the Governor are demonstrating leadership, and they should be commended.

      • Wirerowe

        Very well stated Bookman

      • Tom

        I'm with you, Bookman.

  • Mr.P

    It's a sick society we live in.

    • timebomb

      I hear the Middle East is a great place for you to move to at this time if you don't like it here...

  • Timothy N. Smith

    God help us!!! Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot... Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed... The bride of Christ is ready to go home!!!

    • Gene

      Judge not lest ye be judged.

      • Silas Lynch

        Fine! judge me! Jesus never intended for those that need judged to never be judged...

  • george

    And the Dems do it again.....taking the State down and spiraling..............Dont believe in defending the rights of the unboern but believe its ok for 2 men to get married......pitifull...........

  • Matt Miller

    Glad that the AG and Gov are on board with just doing whats right and not continuing with a lawsuit that would have been only political posturing.

    Of course, based on what I have seen posted here by other readers, I guess its likely that the headline on Metronews on Wedneday will simply be "World Ends: Religious Folks Told You So."

    • Steve

      This Governor is for anything that the lawyers recommend...You see the shape our State is in.....worst Governoer we've ever had".....

    • Silas Lynch

      Maybe global warming and Muslim Jihad is GAWD'S punishment for it. Maybe we are the "Great Satan"

      I never understood why the gays couldn't be happy with civil unions.

      • Tom

        Because civil unions didn't give them EQUALITY.

        • Silas Lynch

          Gay’s joined together in civil unions most certainly are just as equal in the eyes of the law as any heterosexual married couple. To say otherwise is absurd nonsense.
          What you sound as if you are probing for is equality for gays in the eyes of GAWD!!

          Whether there is a GAWD or not is moot on this because the Supreme Court nor the US Senate or even the great President Eboma himself can legislate GAWDS approval of gays……

      • Bitmapped

        @Silas: You probably also wonder why blacks couldn't have been happy with the back of the bus.

        • Silas Lynch

          the canned "retort" is "Blacks wouldn't have settled for moving to the middle of the bus"

          But civil unions give every and any homosexual couple joined together in a civil union the exact same legal rights as any heterosexual married couple,,, except in most churches,,,, Those are the facts.. like it or not!!

        • bluelinesupporter

          Brilliant retort!

          +1

        • Rich

          +10

          • Silas Lynch

            .....And Btw, none of you addressed the glaring Muslim Jihad reference. I'll just leave it an open ended invitation for any of you to comment... How'bout it, are we to tolerate their religious convictions cause "they're here, they're feared and they aren't goin anywhere"....