CHARLESTON—Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued the following statement today regarding his Office’s involvement in a lawsuit challenging West Virginia’s laws on marriage:
“On Oct. 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it would not take up the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to set aside Virginia’s law regarding same-sex marriage. By refusing to consider the appeal, the Supreme Court has caused the Appeals Court's decision to become final and binding on West Virginia. 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.
“As the state’s Attorney General, it is my duty to defend state laws that have been passed by the state Legislature and are consistent with the Constitution. We have discharged this duty faithfully. In the upcoming days, we will now seek to bring to a close the pending litigation over West Virginia’s marriage laws, consistent with the Fourth Circuit’s now-binding decision.
“As we have repeatedly indicated in our court filings, however, others not involved in the litigation will be necessary to actually bring the State into compliance with the Fourth Circuit’s decision. Neither the Attorney General nor the two named county clerks have the power to change uniform state marriage forms and procedures. Only the State Registrar may alter state marriage forms, and the Secretary of State’s Office has authority over marriage celebrants and their ability to solemnize marriages. While we will take steps to seek to end the litigation, the conclusion of the lawsuit cannot and will not alone effectuate the Fourth Circuit’s mandate.”