Lambda Legal files lawsuit against Defense of Marriage Act - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Lambda Legal files federal lawsuit against Defense of Marriage Act

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CHARLESTON -

Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit Oct. 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on behalf of three same-sex couples who want to marry, along with the child of one of the couples.

The case was filed on behalf of: Casie McGee and Sarah Adkins and also Justin Murdock and Will Glarvaris, who all reside in Huntington along with Nancy Michael and Jane Fenton, along with their son, Drew, of St. Albans.

"West Virginia is home for us," Michael said in a statement. "Our family is here, our jobs are here, and our community here is a great support for us.

"Jane and I have been together for 16 years."

Tinney Law Firm and Jenner & Block are providing pro bono co-counsel for the lawsuit. Lambda Legal argues in the suit that West Virginia's marriage ban unfairly discriminates against same-sex couples and their children.

"Every day that same-sex couples in West Virginia are denied the freedom to marry, the government sends a message that they are second-class citizens and their families are not worthy of equal dignity and respect," Beth Littrell, staff attorney in Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office, said in a news release. "West Virginia's state motto, ‘Mountaineers are Always Free,' is hollow until all West Virginians – no matter who they love – have the freedom to marry."

Fairness West Virginia, the statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, issued a statement about the lawsuit.

"Today, Fairness West Virginia stands with Lambda Legal, the plaintiffs and with thousands of same-sex couples in West Virginia as we take a critical step toward ending marriage discrimination," Fairness West Virginia Executive Director Casey Willits said in the statement. "This lawsuit is one effort among many to advance the fair treatment of LGBT West Virginians."