Gay Marriage Local Reaction

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email

It set a precedent felt round the world and there's lots of talk about how it affects people right here at home.

Delegate John Ellem (R-WV) says after reviewing the Supreme Court's decision, what's left open is whether a state like West Virginia can recognize or refuse to recognize same sex marriages through a constitutional amendment.

“Some of the biggest decisions now to come down almost I dare say since Roe vs. Wade, these two decisions on gay marriage and gay rights, which are largely a win for the gay community,” Ellem says.

Casey Willits, executive director of Fairness West Virginia calls it a huge day for love and fairness in the United States.

“The Supreme Court has clearly said that California can't ban marriage and that the federal government's going to have to recognize all the tens of thousands of couples in now 13 states plus Washington, D.C. who are legally married,” he says. “That bodes well in the changing culture and the changing attitudes, even right here in West Virginia.”

According to Willits, in 2010 more than 60 percent of West Virginians supported and wanted The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal for any business to fire an employee on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Currently, more than half of the states have no laws protecting LGBT employees.

“It feels like we're being told that at the very end of the game there still will be refreshments but we'll still have half the game to play right here in West Virginia,” he says. “We have a lot of work to do towards basic fair treatment and civil rights.”


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