James Gross said that while he and his husband, Bobby May, celebrated the rulings, they were reminded of the stance many of West Virginia's political leaders have on gay rights.
Wednesday morning, when Gross checked the mailbox, the couple, which married three years ago in Vermont, received a response to a message they had left for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
"We had heard him on 'Morning Joe' several weeks ago admitting he had made a mistake and that, if he had to do it over again, he'd vote to end the military ban on gays and Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Gross said. "We thought, 'Wow! He's coming around."
After hearing his remarks on the TV show, Gross called his office and left a voicemail message, thanking him. On Wednesday, when the couple saw the letter, they were excited about the correspondence.
"'Honey, look, we got a letter from the senator," Gross told May. "I opened it and [Manchin] thanked me for the response, but when I got into the body [of the letter, Manchin] was clear, 'I am not for gay marriage, I do not support that'," Gross said.
"There's this great victory for us and, at the same time, this sadness that we have this person that's leading this state, but won't stand out with the forward thinkers of the country."
Manchin is one of three Democrats in the U.S. Senate who don't support gay marriage. He released a statement Wednesday reaffirming his belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
"I have always believed in traditional marriage based on my religious and personal beliefs. While I disagree with today's ruling, I appreciate that the Court did not infringe on the states' 10th Amendment right to define marriage as only between a man and a woman," Manchin said.
Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. said he has "always advocated marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and nothing in today's Supreme Court decision changes that fundamental belief."
Reps. David McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito, both R-W.Va., noted that DOMA was passed with bipartisan support. Then-President Bill Clinton signed it into law, but said earlier this year that he'd reversed his position on the law.
Jeremiah Dys, president of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, a conservative evangelical group, said in a statement his group would continue urging state lawmakers to strengthen traditional marriage.
"In spite of the Supreme Court's decision today, marriage remains the union of husband and wife -- a timeless, universal institution that connects children to their mother and father. The Supreme Court got it wrong to invalidate portions of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act," Dys said in the statement.
Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston said in a statement that he will continue to pray "for married couples and families in our Diocese." He wrote that he stands behind the statement released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops calling the decisions "tragic."
Scottie Robinette, however, said the traditional view of marriage is quickly fading. In 2007, Robinette and his partner, Phillip Taylor, both of Charleston, held a wedding ceremony at what used to be the gay club Trax, where they met on the West Side.
Robinette celebrated the Supreme Court decisions Wednesday, even though he and his partner can't afford to move out of state, where they could legally wed.
"I would love for it to be legal here," said Robinette, 34.
"A victory is a victory," Shamblin noted, raising his glass Wednesday, "no matter how small."
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1211.