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Marriage Equality

PHOTOS: Meet West Virginia's Newlyweds

PHOTOS: Meet West Virginia's Newlyweds


On Thursday, West Virginia became the 25th state in the U.S. to allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry.

After state officials announced Thursday that they wouldn't stand in the way of marriage equality's arrival in West Virginia, several county clerks immediately took action to make sure citizens could take advantage of their newly affirmed rights.

As of press time, 53 of West Virginia's 55 counties were prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to Charleston Daily Mail reporter Matt Murphy. Counties technically have until Tuesday to comply with the order.

By Thursday afternoon, same-sex couples were already lining up to get married, then tweeting photos of themselves and their happily newlywed friends and family. Since couples began marrying in West Virginia just hours before same-sex couples were allowed to do so in Nevada, the Mountain State was officially the 25th in the country to allow marriage equality, in addition to Washington, D.C. (See photos from Nevada's newly legal nuptials here.)

LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal, which had filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of same-sex couples seeking to marry in West Virginia, sent out a press release Thursday afternoon celebrating the imminent arrival of marriage equality in the state. The lawsuit, filed by the group on behalf of three same-sex couples, was placed on hold pending final resolution of a similar case in Virginia, which the Supreme Court declined to hear earlier this week. That decision by the nation's highest court made the pro-equality ruling from the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals legally binding in the five states covered in the circuit, though West Virginia is the first additional state in the circuit to abide that decision. Officials in South Carolina and North Carolina have taken steps to block marriage equality in each state, while Maryland has allowed same-sex couples to marry since 2012.

Among the first first same-sex couples married in the state were Casie McGee and Sarah Adkins, along with William Glavaris and Justin Murdock, two of couples named plaintiffs in that Lambda Legal lawsuit. Both couples received marriage licenses Thursday afternoon, becoming the first same-sex couples married in Cabell County:


In nearby Kanawha County, fellow Lambda plaintiffs Nancy Michael and Jane Fenton were among the first same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license, just after Chris Bostic and David Epp received their license, reportedly asking the clerk "Are we really the first?" according to tweets from reporters at the clerk's office.

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