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Gay Marriage Laws in West Virginia

Gay Marriage Laws in West Virginia


West Virginia marriage laws only allow for one man and one woman to enter into marriage. In, West Virginia marriage was clearly defined with the enactment of the Defense of Marriage act. However, a bill that would have amended the constitution to ban same sex marriage, was voted down in 2009. In fact the amendment was reintroduced and voted down again. Yet, there are no laws preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

In West Virginia, marriage laws are the only laws that currently apply to the LGBT community. They are prevented form getting married, but unable to legally protect themselves from discrimination. Perhaps, discrimination laws would be utilized to fight the ban on gay marriage and that is why there are none in place.

West Virginia law on marriage explicitly forbid the legal recognition of same sex marriage. However, the state's constitution is without an amendment that bans gay marriage. In fact, a proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage, was voted down twice. 

Law makers have claimed that there are much more pressing issues that should be dealt with before they decide on the legality of gay marriage in West Virginia. Marriage is already defined by the Defense of Marriage Act and lawmakers feel that it deserves no further protection.

Conversely, there are no legal protections against discrimination in the LGBT community. However, the state's laws regarding domestic violence, protect all couples, regardless of gender in West Virginia. Marriage laws however, do not allow for any legal recognition for same sex couples. In fact, same sex couples are not entitled to any of the rights, benefits or responsibilities afforded to married couples in West Virginia. 

Marriage is seen as a unique relationship, that is entitled to special rights and protections, that are not afforded to any other relationship, same sex or otherwise. However,many law makers in West Virginia, believe that banning gay marriage in the constitution, would be akin to making discrimination legal. Therefore, there does not seem to be a rush to ban gay marriage in West Virginia. 

Marriage should not be banned for the LGBT community because it is a form of discrimination by preventing equal access to the benefits of marriage. Perhaps, that is why the state offers no legal protection form discrimination in West Virginia. Marriage laws should be changed to offer some legal recognition for same sex couples, so that they can enjoy equal rights.