Same Sex Marriage

Americans' attitudes toward gay relationships have changed dramatically in a short time. Host Trey Kay returns to his home state of West Virginia to see how this change is playing out in a state where 53 percent of residents believe the Bible is the literal word of God.

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is "Us & Them" the podcast where we tell stories from America's cultural divides.

Decades before same-sex marriage became legal, the Reverand Jim Lewis of Charleston, West Virginia, sparked outrage by blessing the unions of gay men and lesbians. 

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is "Us & Them" the podcast where we tell stories from America's cultural divides.

For decades, the Reverend Jim Lewis has been making headlines in Charleston. He's an outspoken progressive in a conservative state. He's known for his efforts to help poor people and his fights against racial injustice -- and for his support for gay families. This weekend, Lewis received a Faith Leadership Award from Fairness West Virginia, a group that promotes LGBT rights. He spoke with producer Trey Kay.

West Virginia Morning
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On West Virginia Morning, Fairness West Virginia is celebrating same sex marriage in West Virginia, but the group knows there’s still work to do for equality in housing and employment.  And a profile of the Reverend Jim Lewis of Charleston who supported gay marriage in the 1970’s.

Fairness WV

The LGBT advocacy organization Fairness West Virginia held their annual conference in Charleston Saturday and this year, the group had plenty to celebrate. 

After saying he would no longer fight an appeal to the state's gay marriage ban, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's decision essentially made the practice legal in the state and on Oct. 9, county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples across the state.

Fairness Executive Director Andrew Schneider said Saturday that's certainly something to celebrate, but the fight isn't yet over. Now, the organization is looking on to its next legislative battles. 

A spokeswoman for the Department of Administration confirmed Thursday that married, same sex couples in West Virginia are now able to apply for coverage under the state's Public Employee Insurance Agency.

The change comes after Attorney General Patrick Morrisey decided last week to no longer defend the state's gay marriage ban in federal court. Governor Tomblin soon after released a statement directing state agencies to "take appropriate action" to make the practice legal in West Virginia, including the reprinting of marriage license applications.

Small School in Paw Paw Finishes Big Science Project

Oct 14, 2014
West Virginia Morning
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On West Virginia Morning, we’ll take a trip to Paw Paw in Morgan County to visit a small school with a big science project.  And in Milton in Cabell County, a worker at Blenko Glass is worried that young people are not learning glass making skills.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Just a few hours after Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced he would no longer fight a challenge to West Virginia's gay marriage ban in court and Governor Tomblin directed state agencies to begin taking steps toward allowing the practice, Chris Bostic and David Epp of Charleston were the first couple to apply for a marriage license in Kanawha County.

Moments before, Justin Murdock and William Glavaris, as well as Casie McGee and Sarah Adkins received their licenses to marry in Cabell County.

Counties across West Virginia are issuing the licenses after orders from the state saying not to turn couples away.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

 

  Update:   The state Department of Health and Human Resources says it expects that county clerks across the state will be able to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples by Tuesday, October 14 at the latest.

  Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today issued the following statement regarding same-sex marriage in West Virginia. 

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  A federal judge has lifted his hold on a lawsuit challenging West Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages.

U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers on Tuesday ordered the state and two county clerks to respond to a motion by plaintiffs by Oct. 21.

The motion filed Monday by attorneys for three same-sex couples asked Chambers to grant their motion for summary judgment based on the outcome of a similar case in Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
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On West Virginia Morning, advocates say it won’t be long before the state’s ban on same sex marriage is overturned.  And a story about a group of Romanian music students who are traveling around the state learning Appalachian folk music.

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When the United States Supreme Court ruled Monday not to consider the appeals before them against lower courts’ same sex marriage rulings that meant five new states could now issues marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. 

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The Richmond-based federal appeals court says its ruling authorizing same-sex marriages in Virginia will take effect this afternoon.

According to the clerk's office, the mandate will be issued at 1 p.m. Court clerks will be able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after that time.

In West Virginia, the issue of same sex marriage is in the court of Federal Judge Robert Chambers in Huntington.  Chambers had set aside ruling on the matter citing the same issues were at stake in Virginia.  Chambers entered an order in June that stayed the case filed in West Virginia by three couples last October.

wikimedia

A federal judge in West Virginia has delayed ruling on a lawsuit challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban.
 
U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers in Huntington says due to the "overlap of issues" presented in the West Virginia case and a similar one in Virginia, he put the case on hold this week pending a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

aqff.org

The Appalachian Queer Film Festival will host showings of the documentary “The Campaign, in Charleston Friday and Huntington Monday.

As a kickoff to their Film Festival in late October in Lewisburg, The Appalachian Queer Film Festival will host a showing of “The Campaign,” along with the Kanawha Players Theater. “The Campaign” which was filmed over a four-year period, examines the fight to defend same-sex marriage against Proposition 8 in California. Tim Ward is the Founder and Director of the AQFF.

West Virginia Morning
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What does the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling about Virginia's gay marriage ban mean for West Virginia? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency begins a week of public hearings about it's Clean Power Plan and business owners in Huntington think about what to do next after a large fire Sunday in a building downtown. 

Sean McCormick

In a historic move, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The decision was celebrated by pro-LGBT advocates in other states in the circuit, including West Virginia, but even they say it will take time before the decision impacts gay couples in the state.

As of now, 20 states and the District of Columbia issue licenses for same sex marriage. Many other states, districts and circuits are currently dealing with the issue in the court system.

The Decision: