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So far, so good on first day for marriage equality in Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 13:36:57 PM CDT


As of midday on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa had not heard of any same-sex couples having problems obtaining a marriage license in Iowa. Iowa Independent reported today that "marriage applications have been received in Bremer, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Dallas, Dubuque, Fayette, Floyd, Fremont, Grundy, Guthrie, Howard, Linn, Mitchell, Pottawattamie, Polk, Harrison, Johnson, Mills, Winneshiek, Woodbury and Worth counties."

Various local media are covering the story from outside county office buildings or courthouses, and I haven't seen any reports of disorderly conduct. Some couples have already been married, having received a judge's permission to waive the normal three-day waiting period before marriage.

The petition drive to pressure county recorders not to do their jobs hasn't accomplished what conservatives were hoping for. Chuck Hurley, whose Iowa Family Policy Center promoted the petition drive, spoke to reporters in Des Moines after delivering petitions to Polk County recorder Julie Haggerty. He claims one county recorder is prepared to resign rather than issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, but he didn't specify the county. I suppose we'll find out if any gay or lesbian couples try to get married there. The good news for Hurley is that these petitions will help build his 501(c)3 group's mailing list, since organizers urged Iowans to send copies of all petitions to the Iowa Family Policy Center.

Hurley still doesn't get that the Supreme Court can invalidate laws that violate the constitution. He told reporters today, "The law, as we speak, this second says marriage in Iowa is between a man and a woman." I'm waiting for some Republican to stand up and explain the concept of judicial review to the confused conservatives, but I'm not holding my breath.

Meanwhile, Governor Chet Culver said county recorders have a duty to comply with the Iowa Supreme Court ruling:

"The court has spoken loudly and clearly in a unanimous way. It's time to move on and respect the court," the governor said. [...]

"This is a duty and a responsibility that these elected officials have under Iowa law and they'll be expected to follow that and I believe they will," Culver told reporters outside a meeting he attended at the Dallas Center-Grimes high school.

The governor also said it's time for Iowans to aggressively focus on economic recovery and rebuilding the state's aging and disaster-damaged infrastructure rather than getting "sidetracked by divisive, partisan politics."

Culver mentioned that the Supreme Court ruling granted civil marriage rights but did not force churches to accept same-sex marriage. Senator Tom Harkin emphasized the same point today, and also predicted that marriage equality will one day be uncontroversial:

"Time heals all wounds," he added. "I think in the future people will shrug their shoulders and say what was the fuss all about.

"It won't take that long. I think things will calm down. As long as there is no drive - and this is where I draw the line - in mandating churches have to perform any kind of ceremony that is outside of their religious belief. That I'm  vehemently opposed to. But as the civil side goes, I think we're going to abide by the Supreme Court decision and I think in a few years it'll all be ho-hum."

Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy told the Des Moines Register that Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church canceled planned protests in Des Moines today, but are likely to come to Iowa later this week.

Please share any news on this subject from your corner of Iowa, whether it's a first-hand account or a link to a local media report on same-sex marriages.

UPDATE: The Des Moines Register has brief reports from around the state. Many rural county reporters say they've received the Iowa Family Policy Center's petitions today but haven't had any same-sex couples apply for marriage licenses yet.

Fairfield-area progressives, how about getting some people to run against your Jefferson County supervisors in the next election? From the Register:

Jefferson County Supervisors this morning unanimously passed a resolution this morning asking lawmakers to take action against same-sex marriage.

"We expect the Iowa legislature to resolve the issue," said Stephen Burgmeier, chairman of the three-member, all Republican board. "We hope it either leads to a public vote or to a constitutional amendment."

About 40 people attended the 7:30 a.m. meeting, a meeting that typically attracts three or four people, Burgmeier said. Almost all at the meeting were against same-sex marriage, he said. A group of residents also brought a petition that asks County Recorder Charlotte Fleig to deny the licenses.

Fleig acknowledged that she was aware of the petition but hadn't received it as of 9 a.m. this morning. She said she will issue the licenses but, as of 9 a.m., no same-sex couples had requested a license although there was at least one same-sex couple who called to inquire about the process.

Really effective for those supervisors to pass this resolution a day after the state legislature has adjourned until next January, by the way.

desmoinesdem :: So far, so good on first day for marriage equality in Iowa
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Proud day for Iowans (4.00 / 1)
I'm glad there's little fuss and muss.  I agree with Senator Harkin that there will be a day in the near future as to why we squabbled over such things.  

Exactly (4.00 / 1)
And this is exactly the sort of response I expect from my fellow Iowans and why I believe that marriage equality will stand. I'm very proud of my state today.

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