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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 4 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 40
Lambda Legal files marriage suit in West Virginia
Section One
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Lambda Legal files marriage suit in West Virginia

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit on October 1, seeking to overturn West Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages.

The plaintiffs in the suit are two Lesbian couples, the child of one of the couples, and a Gay couple.

'Those are the litigants that need the protections of marriage. Families, couples, they're the ones that need those protections,' said Casey Willits, executive director of Fairness West Virginia, which is supporting the Lambda Legal lawsuit.

'SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS'
'West Virginia is home for us. Our family is here, our jobs are here, and our community here is a great support for us,' said Nancy Michael, a lifelong West Virginian. 'Jane and I have been together for 16 years. We live and work together, and we are raising our son, Drew, together. We have done everything we can to protect and take responsibility for our family, but we worry all the time that it isn't enough. We need the protection that marriage affords.'

Nancy Michael and Jane Fenton have been together 16 years and their son, Drew, is 6.

The other plaintiffs, Casie McGee and Sarah Adkins, have been together more than three years, and Justin Murdock and William Glavaris have been together more than two years.

The lawsuit claims that state law unfairly discriminates against same-sex couples and their children and, by doing so, makes them 'second-class citizens' because they are not allowed the benefits that come with legal marriage.

MAJORITY STILL OPPOSED
A recent poll from Public Policy Polling found that 70% of West Virginians oppose same-sex marriage. But according to Willits, the poll also showed there is support for legal protections for same-sex couples.

'All those partner recognitions, all those protections that are denied, those are things that West Virginians actually support when they know the harms that are caused,' he said on a news talk show.

'We think the support for recognizing these relationships, and giving them those protections, is only going to grow,' he added.

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