Lambda Legal [advocacy website] filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in West Virginia on Tuesday challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban. The suit was filed on behalf of three local same-sex couples [WP report] who are seeking the right to marry as well as the child of one of the couples. The lawsuit alleges that the ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and that it treats same sex couples as second class citizens, denying them the same basic benefits and rights to which heterosexual couples are entitled. The lawsuit alleges that by extension, the children of same-sex couples are treated as inferior.
The heated debate over same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most polarizing issues currently facing the American legal community, with legal challenges before numerous state and federal courts. Last Friday an Illinois judge allowed two lawsuits challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage to proceed to trial [JURIST report]. Also Friday a New Jersey judge ruled that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry [JURIST report]. Earlier in the week two lawsuits were filed in Pennsylvania seeking recognition for same-sex marriages performed outside the state, as well as marriages performed within the state [JURIST reports] when a county clerk was issuing same-sex marriage licenses despite a state ban.