Updated Tue, Jul 29, 2014 10:20 am
A federal appeals court governing West Virginia has struck down the same-sex marriage ban in neighboring Virginia.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled Monday that state constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia gay marriage case is one of several that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In February, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia's same-sex marriage ban violates equal protection and due process guarantees. Lawyers for two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses appealed.
The lawsuit was filed by two Norfolk men who were denied a marriage license and two Chesterfield County women whose marriage in California is not recognized by Virginia.
In June, U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers said he would wait for the 4th Circuit's decision before issuing his on a West Virginia gay marriage case. That case includes three West Virginia couples challenging the state's same sex marriage ban.
Reactions to the ruling sprung up on various social media channels.
LGBT-focused civil rights group Fairness West Virginia responded by looking ahead to gay marriage becoming legal.
— fairnesswv (@FairnessWV) July 28, 2014
Others were curious to see how friends and family would react online:
So excited about what my Facebook news feed is gonna be like in light of this WV gay marriage news.
— Paige Lavender (@paigelav) July 28, 2014
BREAKING: Gay marriage ban struck down in WV. Tune into Facebook now to see which family members to avoid this holiday season.
— CT (@Patchy_Beard) July 28, 2014