LGBT rights in West Virginia
|LGBT rights in West Virginia|
West Virginia (USA)
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1976|
|Statute limits marriage to one man/one woman|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the U.S. state of West Virginia face legal challenges even though homosexual activity is legal in West Virginia. Same-sex couples are not eligible for many of the protections available to heterosexual married couples.
Laws against same-sex sexual activity
West Virginia repealed its sodomy law in March 1976.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
A state statute defines marriage between a man and a woman. In 2009, a bill that would amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage in the state was overwhelmingly voted down (67-30) by the House of Delegates. All 29 House Republicans voted to move the measure out of committee, with one Democrat joining. The amendment was heavily supported by Evangelical groups in the state and The Family Council Policy of West Virginia. In 2010, "The Marriage Protection Amendment" was re-introduced in both the House of Delegates and the Senate. Republican efforts to discharge the measure out of the House Constitutional Revision Committee and force a floor vote were defeated (68-30). The amendment was subsequently defeated in the Senate.
In December 2011, Delegate John Doyle announced his introduction of a bill to legalize civil unions in West Virginia as one of his last acts before retirement in 2012. It was submitted to the House of Delegates in February 2012. The bill died without a vote.
West Virginia has extended hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples though a designated visitor statute.
On October 1, 2013, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit, McGee v. Cole, in federal District Court on behalf of three same-sex couples and one of their children challenging the state's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The suit named two county clerks as defendants. On November 21, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey asked the court to allow his office to defend the state's statutes.
There are no statewide protections for sexual orientation or gender identity. A bill that would prohibit discrimination based on one's sexual orientation was passed by the state Senate in March 2009, though was killed by the House later that month. In both 2010 and 2011, the bill was re-introduced in both the House of Delegates and Senate but stalled in committee. In 2013, a bill was introduced again in the House and Senate.
A September 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 19% of West Virginia voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 71% thought it should be illegal and 10% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 43% of West Virginia voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 17% supporting same-sex marriage, 26% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 54% favoring no legal recognition and 3% not sure.
A September 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that 23% of West Virginia voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 70% thought it should be illegal and 7% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 49% of West Virginia voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 20% supporting same-sex marriage, 29% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 48% favoring no legal recognition and 4% not sure.
- Politics of West Virginia
- LGBT rights in the United States
- Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States
- William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201, available online, accessed April 10, 2011
- "West Virginia House Blocks Amendment Attempt". Queerty.com. 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Jefferson County Delegate Will Not Seek Reelection". WEPM Radio News. December 22, 2011.
- "West Virginia Delegate John Doyle Plans Civil Unions Bill". On Top Magazine. DECEMBER 23, 2011.
- "Bill Introduced in W.Va. Would Allow Civil Unions". WSAZ. 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Hospital Visitation Rights". Hrc.org. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Snow, Justin (October 1, 2013). "West Virginia same-sex couples file lawsuit for marriage rights". Metro Weekly. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
- "WV AG to Intervene in Gay Marriage Case". Washington Post. November 22, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- "West Virginia Senate passes gay anti-discrimination bill". Queerty.com. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Marriage 'scare tactic' doomed gay-rights bill". Wvgazette.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- A bill prohibiting discrimination based upon age or sexual orientation, House of Delegates
- A bill prohibiting discrimination based upon age or sexual orientation, Senate
- Public Policy Polling: "WV against gay marriage, for Tea Party, Steelers, Reds/Bucs," September 15, 2011, accessed September 20, 2011
- "Clinton behind Cruz, other potential Republican opponents in WV" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-02.