West Virginia

West Virginia legal documents designed to protect your family no matter your relationship status

West Virginia

west_virginiaWest Virginia

Rainbow Law has a document package designed to protect same-sex partners in West Virginia. We offer 9 unique Affordable Document Packages, Individual Legal Documents and FREE Advance Directives to help protect your rights and the rights of your family. To order a legal document package that complies with West Virginia law, hover your mouse over the “Buy A Package” link in the top menu and click on the package that best suits your needs in the drop-down list. If you’re not sure what package is right for you, click this link and we’ll help you figure out what you need.

Although the US Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot discriminate against gay and lesbian couples legally married and living in a state that recognizes that marriage, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples living in West Virginia are not legally recognized as spouses even if they were married in a marriage equality state or country.

West Virginia same-sex partners and family members may experience discrimination in many different ways. Some of them, like snubbing by your family of origin or by complete strangers in a social setting, can’t be dealt with legally; they require a set of adaptive behaviors, including education, humor, and a thick skin. But typical anti-discrimination laws do cover several areas.

Here is a run-down on West Virginia law affecting the LGBTQ community:

1 Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships: A state statute defines marriage between a man and a woman. In 2009, a bill that would amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage in the state was overwhelmingly voted down (67-30) by the House of Delegates. All 29 House Republicans voted to move the measure out of committee, with one Democrat joining. The amendment was heavily supported by Evangelical groups in the state and The Family Council Policy of West Virginia. In 2010, “The Marriage Protection Amendment” was re-introduced in both the House of Delegates and the Senate. Republican efforts to discharge the measure out of the House Constitutional Revision Committee and force a floor vote were defeated (68-30). The amendment was subsequently defeated in the Senate.

In December 2011, Delegate John Doyle announced his introduction of a bill to legalize civil unions in West Virginia as one of his last acts before retirement in 2012. It was submitted to the House of Delegates in February 2012. The bill died without a vote.

West Virginia has extended hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples though a designated visitor statute.

On October 1, 2013, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit, McGee v. Cole, in federal District Court on behalf of three same-sex couples and one of their children challenging the state’s denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The suit named two county clerks as defendants. On November 21, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey asked the court to allow his office to defend the state’s statutes.

2 Adoption Law: West Virginia law permits single LGBT individuals to petition to adopt. It does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption, and second-parent adoption unclear.

3 Anti-Discrimination Law: There are no statewide protections for sexual orientation or gender identity. A bill that would prohibit discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation was passed by the state Senate in March 2009,though was killed by the House later that month.In both 2010 and 2011, the bill was re-introduced in both the House of Delegates and Senate but stalled in committee. In 2013, a bill was introduced again in the House and Senate.

4 Sodomy Law: West Virginia repealed its sodomy law in March 1976.
5Public Opinion: A September 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that 23% of West Virginia voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 70% thought it should be illegal and 7% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 49% of West Virginia voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 20% supporting same-sex marriage, 29% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 48% favoring no legal recognition and 4% not sure.
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