Within the past several years, Murdock said his organization has seen a sea change for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender West Virginias. Part of this change is attributed to more LGBT people being out in the open in politics and everyday life. Most West Virginians say they know at least one LGBT person. And a recent poll conducted by Fairness West Virginia found a majority of people support some form of LGBT protections, Murdock said.
Fairness West Virginia's next challenge is to the state's ban on gay marriage.
Lambda Legal, a national gay-rights group, filed federal lawsuits in St. Albans and Huntington challenging the ban on behalf of Murdock and his fiancé William Glavaris, and two other gay couples.
West Virginia also doesn't recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states. State lawmakers have rejected several recent attempts to include gays and lesbians in the state's discrimination laws.
In June, in a 5-4 decision, U.S. Supreme Court justices struck down a key piece of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that a provision that denied benefits to legally married gay couples is unconstitutional.
Also, in another 5-4 decision, the court cleared the way for gay marriage to resume in California by ruling that supporters of Proposition 8, a gay-marriage ban, didn't have legal standing to challenge a lower court that overturned the law.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.