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Judge formally strikes down West Virginia’s previous same-sex marriage ban

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A federal judge in Huntington says the right to marry is “a fundamental right.” In a ruling issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers found West Virginia’s previous ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional.

In his order for a case filed by three same-sex couples in West Virginia, Chambers said, “The right to marry is a fundamental right, giving every individual the opportunity to exercise choice in this important relationship,” he wrote.

“As such, the government must not interfere in that choice unless it demonstrates compelling state interests and carefully tailors its restrictions to protect those interests.” He said traditional views of marriage¬†were not enough to justify government restrictions on such unions.

Chambers had delayed action on the lawsuit Lambda Legal filed in Oct. 2013 pending action from the higher courts. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Casie McGee and Sarah Adkins of Huntington, Justin Murdock and Will Glavaris of Huntington and Nancy Michael and Jane Fenton of St. Albans along with their son, Drew.

Last month, clerks across West Virginia started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up a case that struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages.

That case came of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which has jurisdiction over West Virginia.

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