Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester on
Monday said that he supports gay marriage, making him the first West
Virginia mayor to back an effort to end the state's law, passed in
2000, which limits marriage to heterosexual couples.
“I signed on simply because I do not
believe that individuals should be denied their opportunity to marry
someone they love and want to make a lifelong commitment to,”
Manchester said in a statement. “A marriage vow is the ultimate
expression of commitment to another person. If two people love each
other enough to make that commitment, the state should not stand in
Two lawsuits were recently filed in
federal court challenging the state's ban.
“I hope that by signing on to this
statement of support for the freedom to marry that it causes greater
soul searching among our leaders and among our neighbors on this
issue,” Manchester added.
“I hope that the residual fear and
hatred that some people still feel toward gay and lesbian people will
continue to dissipate over time and that gay and lesbian people will
attain rights equal to everyone else, and that includes the freedom