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 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

4th Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the freedom to marry in Virginia case

Today the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Virginia from February.

TODAY: 4th Circuit Appeals Court hears oral arguments in Virginia marriage case

This week, on Tuesday, May 13, the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond will hear oral arguments in Bostic v. Rainey, a federal lawsuit that seeks the freedom to marry in 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.

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 »