Stalled in Congress, LGBT rights advance at the local level

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At the U.S. Capitol and in most statehouses nationwide, supporters of LGBT rights are unable to make major gains these days. Instead, they’re notching victories in seemingly unlikely venues, such as Morgantown, West Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama.

They are among scores of cities and towns in Republican-governed states that have acted on their own, passing resolutions and ordinances pledging nondiscrimination protections for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in the absence of comparable statewide laws.

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West Virginia governor signs broad medical marijuana bill

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP)- Gov. Jim Justice signed a law April 19 making West Virginia the 29th state to allow the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.

The law lets doctors prescribe cannabis to patients who are terminally ill or have seizures, cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, AIDS and other specified conditions.

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Gay Couple: Hateful note left on door after Trump’s election

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) – A gay couple in West Virginia says someone left a note with an anti-gay slur outside their home after Donald Trump’s election.

Clarksburg residents Kyle Chester and Corey Hurley tell the Charleston Gazette-Mail that they discovered the note after receiving a knock on their door early Nov.10.

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West Virginia groups oppose “religious freedom” bills publicly, donate to lawmakers who support it

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – While business groups and some of the state’s largest corporations are organizing to oppose any new “religious freedom” legislation in West Virginia, campaign finance reports show some are donating to lawmakers who voted for the state’s unsuccessful 2016 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Chamber PAC -the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s political spending arm – has given at least $28,000 to 38 lawmakers in the West Virginia House of Delegates who are running for re-election and voted for the 2016 bill, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. The list includes Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay; Terry Waxman, R-Harrison; and House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha.

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Obama’s transgender directive to schools goes to court

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas and 12 other states will ask a federal judge Aug. 12 to halt an Obama administration directive on bathroom rights for transgender students in U.S. public schools.

Here’s what you need to know:

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Charleston gay couple attack ruled not a hate crime

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Charleston, W.Va. (AP) – Last April, police say, a Marshall University football player saw two men kissing on a West Virginia street, hopped out of the passenger seat of a car, shouted homophobic slurs and attacked the men, punching them in the face.

Those charges against Steward Butler may sound like a textbook hate crime case. But, a year later, the former running back no longer faces charges of violating the men’s civil rights.

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Trial set for man accused of hitting a gay couple for kissing

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A former Marshall University running back will face trial on Jan. 26 on charges of hitting a gay couple.

The Herald-Dispatch reports a Cabell County circuit judge set the tentative trial date during a status conference Tuesday for 24-year-old Steward Butler of Lakeland, Florida.

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A look at how same-sex marriage is unfolding in 11 states

By : Wire Report
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The Supreme Court on Oct. 6 denied appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin in which those states sought to prohibit same-sex marriage. The decision also means couples in six other states—Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming—should be able to get married soon.

The development effectively raises the number of states with legal same-sex marriage from 19 to 30—a majority of U.S. states—and means that as many as 60% of Americans will be living in states that have legalized the practice.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in the 11 states affected by the Supreme Court’s denial:

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West Virginia Attorney General to defend gay marriage ban

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Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office filed federal court papers on Nov. 22 to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

New York-based gay rights group Lambda Legal contends West Virginia’s Defense of Marriage Act violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Huntington in October on behalf of three same-sex couples and the child of one couple.

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West Virginia clerk gets more time in fight for marriage equality

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A judge is giving the clerk of West Virginia’s biggest county 60 more days to answer a lawsuit over the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.

U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers ruled Wednesday that Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick can wait until West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey decides whether to intervene in the lawsuit.

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Gay rights group challenges West Virginia’s ban on marriage equailty

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Morgantown, W.Va. (AP) – A national gay rights organization is suting the state of West Virginia over its ban on same-sex marriages, declaring its Defense of Marriage Act a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

New York-based Lambda Legal filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Huntington on behalf of three same-sex couples and the child of one couple Oct. 1. It filed a similar lawsuit last month challenging Virginia’s ban on gay marriages.

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