Gay Marriage Legal in WV? - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Gay Marriage Legal in WV?

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 Beckley (WVVA) The surprise decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to take up the issue of same-sex marriage and what it could mean for West Virginia. That's the question on the minds of many right now after justices announce they will not hear an appeal or rule on a similar ban in Virginia.

On Tuesday, WVVA caught up with lawyer Gerald Hayden to break down what the decision could mean for West Virginia.

"Both sides were looking for the U.S. Supreme Court to give them a decision. They wanted a definitive landmark decision, like Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court, by denying the appeal, basically said we're not ready," said Hayden.

Hayden said the matter now lies in the hands of U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers.

By rejecting appeals in Virginia, Hayden said the high court left intact lower-court rulings that declared bans in the state unconstitutional. That means Judge Chambers is now bound by the same appellate rulings that were put on hold before the Supreme Court decision.

"What that means for West Virginia is that we'll likely have a ruling from the federal judge. I believe that judge will follow what had occurred by the three judge panel in the 4th circuit."

As people across the state wait on a decision from Chambers, the gay marriage debate is sparking a fierce discussion in Raleigh County. "I grew up Baptist and in the Bible, it speaks against it. So I don't go for it either," said Terry Richardson of Beckley.

"They shouldn't be ostracized. They're human beings, just like we are. I was raised Catholic so part of me doesn't believe it's right, but another part of me says they should have the same rights I do. It's their life. Let them live it," said Laura Reynolds of Beckley.

According to Hayden, a decision from Judge Chambers could be days or weeks from now, but once he issues that decision, gay marriage could very well be on its way to West Virginia.

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