April 28, 2009

Legal Same-Sex Marriages Begin in Iowa

Yesterday was the first day that same-sex couples could take advantage of full equality under state marriage laws in Iowa. It was the first day that they could file for marriage licenses, and state law requires a three-day wait before couples actually get married, but some couples were granted waivers and got hitched right away.


Rumors surfaced over the past week that some recorders would refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples over conflicts with their personal beliefs. Some conservative groups and lawmakers were accused of trying to recruit recorders to refuse the licenses.

State agencies sent out information to recorders statewide last week saying they could be removed from their positions if they don't follow the law and issue the licenses.

"There's a lot of people fishing around out there, but we'll see," said Painter. "I am quite optimistic that all 99 recorders will follow the rule of law and issue licenses."

Iowa has a history of being at the forefront on social issues. It was among the first states to legalize interracial marriage and to allow married women to own property. It was also the first state to admit a woman to the bar to practice law and was a leader in school desegregation.

Alicia Zacher, 24, and her 22-year-old fiancee Jessica Roach, both of Des Moines, said they have a 4 p.m. appointment to get married if they can get a waiver. They want to get married immediately after seeing how California voters reinstated a ban on same-sex marriage.

"You just never know when they'll try to take it away," Roach said.

From the Huffington Post:

Within hours of a state Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage taking effect, several same-sex couples had exchanged vows on the steps of the Polk County Administrative Building.

"It's not very romantic is it?" Melisa Keeton joked, referring to the location of the ceremony and the media attention, before marrying Shelley Wolfe.

The couple were allowed to wed after getting a judge to waive the state's three-day waiting period. The waiver was granted after the couple claimed the wait was stressful on Keeton, who is
pregnant and due in August.

The couple, who will go by the last name Keeton, were married by the Rev. Peg Esperanza of the Church of the Holy Spirit. She later married at least two other couples, all at no charge.

"God sent me here today, and I've said OK," said Esperanza, a lesbian who plans to marry her partner in October.

A poll by the University of Iowa taken just before the high court's ruling showed 26 percent of Iowans support gay marriage. That number rises to more than 50 percent when people were asked if they supported either gay marriage or civil unions.

"If they want to marry, I don't see a reason not to let them," said Joe Biase, a 31-year-old college student from Des Moines. "For a state in the heartland, it's come a long way."

Tom Wittman, 55, of Johnston, agreed.

"I think it's fine," he said. "It is an issue of equal rights."

There's some basic wisdom from the heartland.

1 comment: