West Virginia Attorney General Patrick
Morrisey announced Thursday that his office would no longer defend in
court the state's ban on gay marriage.
“Our Office will seek to bring to a
close the litigation over W. Va.'s marriage laws, consistent with the
4th Circuit's now-binding decision,” Morrisey said in a
He added in a statement: “While we
disagree … and believe it improperly displaces state and local
decision-making, we will respect it. It is my duty to defend
state laws that have been passed by the state Legislature and are
consistent with the Constitution. We have discharged this duty
The about face comes four days after
the Supreme Court refused to hear appeals in cases challenging bans
in five states, thereby allowing appellate court rulings striking
down the bans to stand. One of the bans that fell was in Virginia,
which is in the same federal circuit as West Virginia.
Herald-Dispatch quoted plaintiffs as saying they were elated
over the decision.
“I'm emotional and speechless,”
William Glavaris said.
“We're chatting and texting and
crying through smiles,” Nancy Michael said. “I've already told
my mom and my pastor.”
The decision clears the way for a judge
to strike down the state's restrictive marriage ban.