First same-sex marriage license issued in Iowa

from USA Today.

DES MOINES — Gay and lesbian couples flocked to county buildings throughout Iowa today to marry legally for the first time in the wake of the state supreme court’s landmark same-sex marriage decision.

Melisa Keeton and Shelley Wolfe, a lesbian couple in Iowa’s capital city, exchanged vows outside the Polk County Administration building before a swarm of friends, family and news crews.

“By the power vested in the state of Iowa and God, I now declare you legally married,” said the couple’s pastor, Peg Esperanza of the CHS Rainbow Cyber Church.

“What an honor,” Esperanza added. “Amen!”

The ruling made Iowa the third state to allow same-sex marriage, joining Massachusetts and Connecticut, according to the Associated Press.

The ceremony makes Wolfe and Keeton the second same-sex couple to marry in Polk County, but the first to wed after the landmark supreme court decision. Members of the first couple were Iowa State University students Tim McQuillan and Sean Fritz, who successfully married before a lower-court judge suspended a ruling that allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Wolfe and Keeton were the first couple to receive their license in Polk County, shortly after 8 a.m. today. They hurried three blocks to the Polk County Courthouse, trailed by reporters, and persuaded a district judge to waive the three-day waiting period ordinary needed to marry in Iowa.

Gay marriage opponents this morning presented county recorders with petitions urging them not to issue licenses, in the wake of the Iowa Supreme Court’s April 3 decision. The decision, which ignited a political firestorm, made Iowa the first Midwestern state and the third nationwide to allow same-sex couples to wed.

Protesters or petitioners showed up in several counties, including Pocahontas, Sioux, Humboldt, Wayne and Black Hawk. They wanted recorders to refuse to issue licenses.

Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy said he had no reports of protesters. About eight sheriff’s deputies were assigned to the Polk County administration building this morning “just to keep order,” the sheriff said, adding, “and everything looks orderly.”

The state’s most prominent anti-gay-marriage activist, Chuck Hurley, also showed up the Polk County building this morning. Hurley, a former legislator who is head of the Iowa Family Policy Center, said his group planned no dramatic protests.

“People I associate with are very much law-abiding people. They’re not going to chain themselves to their recorders’ offices,” he said, later adding, “But there may be some of that.”

Hurley said a group of Fayette County residents would be at their courthouse this morning to hand over petitions pressing for traditional marriage and urging the recorder to “follow the law.” He already turned in a stack to Polk County Recorder Julie Haggerty.

“The reason more Iowans who oppose gay marriage aren’t making a stand this morning is because they’re “probably raising children, going to work,” Hurley told reporters at the Polk County administration building.

Read the article from USA Today.