West Virginia State Delegate John Doyle
on Thursday filed a bill which would recognize gay and lesbian
couples with civil unions, the AP reported.
Doyle, who is retiring after nearly 20
years of service, said he introduced the measure to start a
conversation about family equality.
While state lawmakers have previously
voted down bills which sought to define marriage as a heterosexual
union in West Virginia's Constitution, Doyle said there wasn't enough
support in the Legislature to pass a gay marriage bill.
“I'm not going to introduce a gay
marriage bill simply because it has no chance of passing the West
Virginia Legislature,” Doyle told WEPM Radio News earlier. “We
just might be able to get a civil union bill through, so I'm going to
give it a shot.”
Kevin McCoy, president of the West
Virginia Family Foundation, told the AP that passage of the bill
would make it easier for the courts to strike down the state's
“It is absolutely critical that we
have a constitutional amendment that would keep an activist Supreme
Court from being able to redefine marriage from the bench,” he
said, referring to three pending resolutions in the Legislature.
If approved, West Virginia would join
Rhode Island, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois and Delaware in offering
the union. Lawmakers in Colorado are also currently debating whether
to approve civil unions.