West Virginia

STATUS:

Marriage 

WINNING MARRIAGE:

On October 9, 2014, West Virginia's Attorney General and governor agreed to stop defending the state's anti-marriage ban, acknowleding that a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in favor of the freedom to marry is binding in WV. On October 6, the Supreme Court denied review of that 4th Circuit ruling, meaning that the decision could take effect across the circuit, including in West Virginia. 

A federal legal case, Lambda Legal's McGee v. Cole, had been pending in the state seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the state of West Virginia. Read more about marriage litigation in West Virginia.

HISTORY:

Several times in the past four years, the West Virginia state legislature has proposed or voted on a constitutional amendment to exclude same-sex couples from marriage, but the amendment has never been approved or advanced very far.

In March 2000, the West Virginia legislature approved a state statute that prohibits the government from recognizing or performing marriages between same-sex couples.

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • Fairness West Virginia is West Virginia's first statewide LGBT advocacy organization dedicated to bringing fair treatment to all West Virginians.
  • Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

POLLING DATA:

Support for the freedom to marry continues to increase, with a majority of West Virginia residents (49%) who support either civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples. (Public Policy Polling, September 2013

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 2,848 same-sex couples are living in West Virginia, representing 3.7 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Blog Posts Related to West Virginia

Finishing the Job: how marriage is moving forward nationwide

Now, as momentum surges across the country, it is more important for supporters to do all they can to speak out for the freedom to marry nationwide. Here's what's going on in the 4 other states set up for the freedom to marry soon, plus the 15 where same-sex couples continue to be denied the freedom to marry.

The freedom to marry comes to West Virginia

West Virginia is the latest state to secure the freedom to marry after the state's Attorney General and Governor agreed to stop defending the state's discriminatory marriage ban, paving the way for same-sex couples to soon be issued marriage licenses.

Couples in 4th and 10th Circuits eagerly await the freedom to marry

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of five cases seeking the freedom to marry, leaving standing marriage victories in three federal circuits and opening the door to the freedom to marry in many more states.

See All »

Resources Related to West Virginia

West Virginia Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in West Virginia.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

See All »