West Virginia

STATUS:

Anti-marriage law, no anti-gay constitutional amendment

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

Marriage supporters across the state are continuing to speak out in favor of equality, working to overturn an anti-marriage law and block attempts to write discrimination into the West Virginia Constitution.

In October 2013, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit, McGee v. Cole, 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 has increased sharply in the past 8 years, with 32% of the state's residents now supporting marriage. In 2004, just 21% were supportive. (Williams Institute, 2012)    

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

Evan Wolfson shares how we’ll move marriage forward in West Virginia

This week, West Virginia University College of Law hosted Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson for a talk on why marriage matters and how we move marriage forward in West Virginia.

Southerners urge mayors to support the freedom to marry with Change.org

This month, Freedom to Marry is working to Light Up the Map by urging mayors from all across the United States to voice their support for marriage for same-sex couples and become Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.

9 Senate Democrats who announced their support for the freedom to marry this week

In the past week, nine U.S. Senators have announced their support for the freedom to marry, explaining how their views have evolved and how they have come to understand that now is the time to stand on the Right Side of History.

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 »