Main | Tuesday, January 07, 2014

WEST VIRGINIA: Marriage Equality Suit Likely To Survive Motions To Dismiss

Yesterday a West Virginia judge indicated that he is not inclined to dismiss a marriage equality lawsuit brought by three gay couples against county clerks. However the judge may rule that the plaintiffs lack standing for the portion of the suit that argues for the recognition of marriages from other states.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 1, argues county clerks in Kanawha and Cabell counties violated the 14th Amendment rights of three same-sex couples to due process and equal protection in denying their request for a marriage license. The clerks contend their staffs simply followed state law. Chambers announced Monday his inclination to deny the clerks' motions to dismiss. Their arguments contend a judicial ruling would interfere with the legislative process. The judge, otherwise, told attorneys he could be inclined to grant a more limited dismissal sought by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Morrisey had argued the couples, each unmarried, lack standing to challenge a West Virginia statute that prohibits recognition of same-sex marriages granted in another state. Chambers' ruling remains unofficial until his filing of a written order, which he estimates should occur within two weeks.
The three couples are being represented by Lambda Legal.

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