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Same-Sex Marriage in Mountain State Could Happen in Days

PHOTO: Clerks at the Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington and elsewhere throughout the Mountain State will soon be obliged to issue licenses for same-sex marriages, following Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision. Photo credit: OZinOH/Flickr.
PHOTO: Clerks at the Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington and elsewhere throughout the Mountain State will soon be obliged to issue licenses for same-sex marriages, following Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision. Photo credit: OZinOH/Flickr.
October 7, 2014

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - According to legal observers, legally recognized same-sex marriages could be underway in West Virginia within a matter of days.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not review appeals court rulings regarding same-sex marriage bans. The decision means that all those rulings stand in the states in their jurisdiction, including West Virginia.

Federal Judge Robert Chambers has been holding off on a decision in a case involving three Mountain State couples. Andrew Schneider, executive director with Fairness West Virginia, says the decision opens the door for Chambers to rule.

"The Supreme Court's announcement allows marriages to go forward in Virginia," says Schneider, "and we expect Judge Chambers to make a ruling very shortly in light of that."

North Carolina is in the same situation as West Virginia. North Carolina attorney Annika Brock was married to her partner of nine years last year in Vermont, and says Monday's announcement is welcome news.

"I can't wait for the first couple to apply for a marriage license in North Carolina," says Brock. "But I think for us, it's a matter of the state recognizing our marriage."

Some in the legal community say there's still a chance the U.S. Supreme Court will have to weigh in on the issue if federal courts disagree, but for now many same-sex couples stand to have their marriages recognized.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV