West Virginia will “bring to a close” the pending litigation over its same-sex marriage ban after the Supreme Court effectively allowed gays to wed in the federal circuit that the state belongs to, its attorney general said Thursday.
West Virginia becomes the latest in a flurry of states to allow gay marriage. The state's decision came after the nation’s high court last week declined to take up challenges to same-sex marriage bans from five states in three federal circuit courts — all which had ruled in favor of gay nuptials. In doing so, the justices allowed same-sex marriage to proceed in those states, plus the six others that are part of those circuit courts, including West Virginia in the 4th circuit.
“By refusing to consider the appeal, the Supreme Court has caused the Appeals Court's decision to become final and binding on West Virginia,” Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement. “While we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Fourth Circuit’s opinion to stand and believe it improperly displaces state and local decision-making, we will respect it.”
Twenty-six states, plus DC, allow same-sex marriage. Another seven states are in federal circuits where gay marriage bans have been declared unconstitutional, putting the prohibitions in those states in jeopardy.