CHARLESTON, West Virginia — West Virginia officials are reacting to the Supreme Court's historic ruling that says same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. Same-sex marriages in West Virginia had already been legal for months due to lower-court decisions.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey:
"I am disappointed in today's U.S. Supreme Court decision. The U.S. Constitution does not address the issue of marriage. Under our system of federalism, it should be up to the states to define marriage. The people of our state should be free to debate and resolve this question themselves, as they have done, instead of having their judgment usurped by unelected judges."
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin:
"Since the federal court decision in October 2014, West Virginia has recognized same-sex marriages and state agencies have taken the necessary steps to ensure equal protection. The Supreme Court's ruling confirms those actions, and I continue to encourage all West Virginians, regardless of their personal beliefs, to uphold our state's tradition of treating one another with dignity and respect," Tomblin said in a statement.
Fairness West Virginia Executive Director Andrew Schneider:
"While we savor this victory, the fight for LGBT equality is far from over. Tragically, it is still legal in 32 states including West Virginia to fire someone from a job or evicted someone from a home solely on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Now that members of the LGBT community may legally participate in the freedom to marry, their relationships will be more visible and therefore more vulnerable to discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations."
The Family Policy Council of West Virginia President Allen Whit:
"Every child deserves the best opportunity we can give them to be raised by a married mom and dad. Today's Supreme Court activism puts the government's stamp of approval on intentionally depriving kids of either a mom or a dad. And a Christian florist in Morgantown who believes marriage is between a man and a woman should also be free to run her business how she wants. Her creative talent and her name brand should not be forced into temporary slavery and coerced into putting her stamp of approval on a same-sex wedding if she has a sincerely held religious belief that doing so would cause her to sin. But this frightening SCOTUS decision will do just that under threat of lawsuit or jail time if she fails to violate her religious conscience and become a creative slave."
West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas:
"Today, the Supreme Court has placed religious liberty and the freedom to dissent in jeopardy. With the dissolution of the traditional principle of marriage being between solely one man and one woman, business owners, clergy, and followers of all manner of faiths may be forced by the government to participate in practices that violate their First Amendment Rights. The West Virginia Republican Party will be a sentry, ever vigilant of the First Amendment rights of our citizens. We will combat local and Federal Democrat efforts to derail the legislative process, invoke the divisive tactics of Barack Obama, and play politics with the responsible family structure that built this great nation."
American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia Executive Director Jennifer Meinig:
"Prior to today's decision, there was a patchwork of relationship protections across the country," Meinig said. "The Supreme Court, in a watershed decision, found that the fundamental liberty and equality protections of our federal Constitution extended to the freedom to marry. While this is an incredible, history-changing moment for our country, our work is far from over. We will continue to fight discrimination against LGBTQ kids in schools and work toward employment and housing protections for LGBTQ people across West Virginia."