Where do our lawmakers stand on gay marriage? - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Where do our lawmakers stand on gay marriage?

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller says he now opposes a federal law barring same-sex marriage. But his fellow Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, still supports the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act.

In Virginia, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who describes himself as a centrist, has announced on Facebook that he now supports gay marriage.

The two West Virginia senators offered differing views ahead of U.S. Supreme Court hearings in gay marriage-related cases.

Rockefeller said churches and ministers should never have to perform marriages that violate their beliefs. But he also said the government shouldn't discriminate against same-sex couples.

Manchin said his faith has guided his belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Rockefeller said younger West Virginians and his own children have pushed his generation to revisit its views on this issue. He said this challenging of his beliefs has led him to conclude that the federal law is wrong.

Warner's disclosure Monday comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on two cases involving gay marriage this week. It marks an evolution for Warner on the subject.

Warner had previously supported civil unions that confer some rights that married couples enjoy on same-gender couples. In the waning days of his term as governor, Warner was the first governor to ban discrimination in hiring and workplace protection for gay state employees.

In 2010, he backed ending the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays in the military.

On Facebook, Warner says he supports marriage equality "because it is the fair and right thing to do."

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