Gov. Tomblin, Attorney General Issue Statements on Same-Sex Marriage in West Virginia
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.
"As the attorney general stated today, recent rulings by several federal courts, combined with the refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this issue, make it clear that laws banning same-sex marriage have been declared unconstitutional. I do not plan to take any actions that would seek to overturn the courts' decisions. West Virginia will uphold the law according to these rulings, and I have directed state agencies to take appropriate action to make that possible. "Our state is known for its kindness and hospitality to residents and visitors alike. I encourage all West Virginians - regardless of their personal beliefs - to uphold our statewide tradition of treating one another with dignity and respect."
Tomblin's statement follows the decision from Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to end attempts to defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Morrisey's statement is as follows:
“On Oct. 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it would not take up the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to set aside Virginia’s law regarding same-sex marriage. By refusing to consider the appeal, the Supreme Court has caused the Appeals Court's decision to become final and binding on West Virginia. While we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Fourth Circuit’s opinion to stand and believe it improperly displaces state and local decision-making, we will respect it. “As the state’s Attorney General, it is my duty to defend state laws that have been passed by the state Legislature and are consistent with the Constitution. We have discharged this duty faithfully. In the upcoming days, we will now seek to bring to a close the pending litigation over West Virginia’s marriage laws, consistent with the Fourth Circuit’s now-binding decision. “As we have repeatedly indicated in our court filings, however, others not involved in the litigation will be necessary to actually bring the State into compliance with the Fourth Circuit’s decision. Neither the Attorney General nor the two named county clerks have the power to change uniform state marriage forms and procedures. Only the State Registrar may alter state marriage forms, and the Secretary of State’s Office has authority over marriage celebrants and their ability to solemnize marriages. While we will take steps to seek to end the litigation, the conclusion of the lawsuit cannot and will not alone effectuate the Fourth Circuit’s mandate.”