UPDATE: W.Va. Revising Tax Forms to Reflect Gay Marriage

By: The Associated Press, Todd Baucher Email
By: The Associated Press, Todd Baucher Email
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UPDATE 11/13/2014 11:45 AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia is updating its tax forms to reflect court rulings overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

A recent administrative notice filed by the state Tax Department says gender will no longer be considered when married couples' personal income tax filings are processed.

Tax Department spokeswoman Lalena Price says the agency is updating language used in all of its materials, including forms and brochures, to remove terms such as "husband" and "wife."

On Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that struck down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban. A month later, a federal judge in West Virginia declared the Mountain State's ban unconstitutional.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 10/10/2014 5:05 PM

Gay couples in Wood County are taking the first steps to getting married in the Mountain State.

Beginning Thursday, soon after the decision from the attorney general, same-sex couples flocked to county courthouses around West Virginia, seeking licenses.

By mid-afternoon, two same-sex couples had obtained marriage licenses from the Wood County clerk's office through the same procedure any couple would apply for and get licenses.

And the clerk's office even received calls from couples wanting to tie the knot in Ohio.

"Yesterday afternoon, we had one phone call from a couple in Ohio who wanted to know if they could apply in West Virginia and be married in Ohio. We told them that was not legal, because it had to be in West Virginia," says Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes.

Same-sex marriages have not been recognized in Ohio, although one case is making its way through the courts.

Rhodes says even before Thursday's announcement by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the clerk's office had been getting calls from people asking about the legality of same-sex marriage.


UPDATE 10/09/2014 3:35 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - County clerks in West Virginia are being told to accept marriage applications from same-sex couples.

The move Thursday comes after Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office would no longer fight a court challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriages.

Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Allison Adler says the state registrar is telling county clerks to use existing marriage license forms until the forms can be updated. The registrar is in charge of any alterations to state marriage forms.

Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick says the registrar directed her office to go ahead and take applications from gay couples to wed.

McCormick was a defendant in a lawsuit challenging the state's ban. A federal judge has yet to rule in the lawsuit.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 10/09/2014 1:50 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says his office will no longer fight a court challenge to West Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages.

Morrisey issued a statement Thursday that his office "will respect" the recent U.S. Supreme Court declining to review a lower-court ruling in July striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages. But Morrisey says he still doesn't agree with the high court's stance.

U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers in Huntington had previously put West Virginia's case on hold. On Tuesday, Chamber ordered the state and clerks in Kanawha and Cabell counties to respond to a motion by plaintiffs by Oct. 21.

The motion filed by attorneys for three same-sex couples asked Chambers to grant their motion for summary judgment based on the outcome of the case in Virginia.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 10/7/2014 3:00 PM

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - A federal judge lifted his hold on a lawsuit challenging West Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages.

U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers on Tuesday ordered the state and two county clerks to respond to a motion by plaintiffs by Oct. 21.

The motion filed Monday by attorneys for three same-sex couples asked Chambers to grant their motion for summary judgment based on the outcome of a similar case in Virginia.

The U.S. Supreme Court turned away appeals from a handful of states Monday, including Virginia. The West Virginia case was on hold, pending a decision by the court.

The West Virginia lawsuit filed in 2013 by Lambda Legal says the Kanawha and Cabell county clerks denied the six adults marriage licenses under the state law, effectively denying them many benefits.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 1/16/2014 12:00 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - An attorney whose group is challenging West Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages says she's encouraged by recent federal rulings overturning such prohibitions in Oklahoma and Utah.

New York-based gay rights group Lambda Legal contends West Virginia's Defense of Marriage Act violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Huntington in October on behalf of three same-sex couples and the child of one couple.

Lambda Legal attorney Beth Littrell in Atlanta says she believes the Oklahoma and Utah rulings give the plaintiffs additional arguments to persuade the judge that West Virginia's ban is unconstitutional.

She says "the momentum is certainly in our favor."

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office intervened as a defendant in the case. A Morrisey spokeswoman declined comment Wednesday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 12/19/2013 11:20 AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - State and local officials are seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging West Virginia's ban on gay marriage.

The West Virginia Attorney General's Office and Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick asked a federal judge this week to dismiss the case.

New York-based gay rights group Lambda Legal filed the federal lawsuit in October on behalf of three same-sex couples and the child of one couple. The lawsuit contends West Virginia's Defense of Marriage Act unfairly discriminates against same-sex couples and their children.

A motion filed by assistant attorney general Julie Ann Warren contends that the plaintiffs have no legal basis to challenge the law.

A separate motion filed by McCormick's attorney says the matter should be handled by the state's legislative process.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A national gay-rights organization is challenging West Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages.

Lambda Legal says it filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Huntington on behalf of three same-sex couples and one couple's child.

The group filed a similar lawsuit last month challenging Virginia's ban on gay and lesbian marriages.

In the West Virginia case, Lamba Legal argues that the state's ban unfairly discriminates against same-sex couples and their children. The organization says they are denied the legal sanction, respect, protections and support that marriage gives to different-sex couples.

The group also contends that the ban sends a message that gay men, lesbians and their children are second-class citizens

West Virginia doesn't allow same-sex marriage or recognize those that occurred in other states.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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