Plaintiffs in a case challenging West
Virginia's gay marriage ban last week filed a motion for summary
New York-based Lambda Legal is
representing 3 gay couples and the child of one couple in the lawsuit
filed in October in U.S. District Court in Huntington. Lambda Legal
argues that West Virginia's ban violates the Due Process Clause and
Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In their filing, lawyers asked U.S.
District Judge Robert C. Chambers to strike down the state's law,
enacted in 2000, prohibiting their clients from marrying, saying that
it is unconstitutional under any standard of review.
“West Virginia's marriage ban shares
all the hallmarks of irrational discrimination that have been present
in prior Supreme Court cases that struck down laws violating even the
lowest level of equal protection scrutiny,” the filing reads.
“Even if the Court does not apply heightened scrutiny (although it
should), none of the likely proffered rationales for West Virginia's
marriage ban can withstand constitutional review.”
Beth Littrell, a senior attorney in
Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office, said in a statement that
denying gay couples the right to marry “sends a message that they
are second class citizens and their families are not worthy of equal
dignity and respect.”
“This case is about fairness and
equality for these West Virginia families, and we are asking the
court to recognize that the Constitution's guarantee of equal
protection under the law applies to everyone,” Littrell said.
A scheduling conference takes place