CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Three West Virginia same-sex couples seeking to marry in the state can proceed with most of their claims, a federal judge recently ruled.
U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers issued the ruling Wednesday, granting a motion to dismiss claims for marriages performed out of state to be recognized in West Virginia.
However, Lambda Legal, which represents the couples, says they will be able to proceed on the crux of the lawsuit in seeking to marry in the state.
Casie Jo McGee, Sarah Elizabeth Adkins, Justin Murdock, William Glavaris, Nancy Elizabeth Michael and Jane Louise Fenton filed the case against Cabell County Circuit Clerk Karen S. Cole and Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick.
The state of West Virginia, represented by the Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office, intervened in the suit.
In their lawsuit, the couples seek to overturn sections of state code that prohibit same-sex marriage and the recognition of marriages performed in another state.
The attorneys filed the lawsuit against the county clerks because they issue marriage licenses and record marriages taking place in another state, according to court documents.
The two circuit clerks and the state moved to dismiss the complaint. The federal judge granted in part the motion to strike and reserved ruling on whether the existing defendants are sufficient to bind all state authorities and county clerks.
The court ordered plaintiffs either to seek a joinder of additional parties, which would add new plaintiffs to the case, or to file a responsive pleading to explain why existing defendants are sufficient to bind everyone together. The couples' attorneys must do this by Feb. 12.
Chambers said it wasn't a certainty that all the parties would be sufficient to bind all state clerks and officials together should the state's same-sex marriage ban be struck down.