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Judge asked to lift stay in challenge to W.Va. same-sex marriage ban

Judge asked to lift stay in challenge to W.Va. same-sex marriage ban

HUNTINGTON, W.V. — Attorneys for three same-sex couples challenging West Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage are asking a federal judge to to lift a stay it had entered pending the decision of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in similar challenge in neighboring Virginia.

West-VirginiaA three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban on Monday.

On Wednesday, Lambda Legal filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers in Huntington to lift the stay, and deny a motion filed Tuesday by the State of West Virginia to extend the stay.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has asked the judge to postpone ruling on the challenged to West Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban until the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue.

In the filing, Morrisey’s office also says the West Virginia case is unique in that unlike the Virginia case, no state officials in West Virginia were named as defendants, and is asking the court to schedule arguments over whether the plaintiffs should have sued state officials, rather than county clerks in Kanawha and Cabell counties.

Lambda Legal says Morrisey is simply “making a last ditch effort to delay the freedom to marry in West Virginia.”

“It is intolerable that the Attorney General continues to stand in the way of equality,” said Karen Loewy, a senior attorney for Lambda Legal.

Follow this case: McGee v. Cole.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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