- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gay marriage is poised to commence in West Virginia and Nevada but blocked in South Carolina and possibly in North Carolina.

The flurry of activity was launched after the Supreme Court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued orders in gay marriage cases this week.

On Monday, the Supreme Court denied review of three circuit court rulings and let stand rulings that threw out state laws against same-sex marriage.

West Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina are part of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ region and presumably bound by that court’s decision to overturn Virginia’s marriage law. But officials in all three states balked at performing gay marriages so quickly.

On Thursday, however, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican, said he would no longer fight to uphold that state’s 2000 law that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

“While we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the 4th Circuit’s opinion to stand and believe it improperly displaces state and local decision-making, we will respect it,” Mr. Morrisey said.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, quickly advised the state to accommodate same-sex marriages, saying recent events make it clear that “laws banning same-sex marriage have been declared unconstitutional.”

Karen L. Bowling, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, said the agency has been preparing. “We expect that county clerks across the state will be able to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples by Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, at the latest,” said Ms. Bowling.

The state’s first gay marriage reportedly took place Thursday afternoon in Cabell County.

In South Carolina, state officials won a stay on gay marriages when the South Carolina Supreme Court unanimously agreed that “the status quo” should be maintained pending a federal ruling in a gay marriage case.

On Wednesday, Charleston County Probate Court Judge Irvin G. Condon had started issuing marriage applications to same-sex couples, and promised to issue them licenses in 24 hours if not stopped by a court.

The five judges stopped him, saying Judge Condon “and all other probate judges are hereby directed not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending a decision by the Federal District Court in” Bradacs v. Haley. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, who asked for the high court’s intervention, said the court’s action “upholds the rule of law in South Carolina.”

U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs is hearing the Bradacs case, which was filed by a lesbian couple who married in the District and want to have that marriage recognized in South Carolina. Judge Childs has asked for legal briefs to be filed by Wednesday.

In North Carolina, the two top state lawmakers filed a motion Thursday asking to defend the state’s law in two marriage cases. U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen Jr., who had previously dismissed motions in the cases, notified the parties in the lawsuit but did not immediately rule.

In addition, the 9th Circuit overturned state marriage laws in Idaho and Nevada on Tuesday. Idaho state officials sought and won a temporary stay from Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy; they were awaiting further instructions from the high court Thursday evening.

Licenses for gay marriages began being issued Thursday afternoon in Nevada as a result of a traditional values group withdrawing its request for a stay earlier in the day.

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