Constitutional Law

2 Men Wed, Then Iowa Ruling Suspended

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Two gay men in Iowa persuaded a judge to approve an expedited wedding, paid an extra $5 fee and were married today, apparently becoming the first same-sex couple to wed in state history. But then the judge who approved same-sex Polk County marriages yesterday, saying that a previous legal ban was unconstitutional, granted the a stay of his ruling pending the county’s appeal.

That ended, for now, a tiny window of opportunity that opened at 2 p.m. yesterday, when Judge Robert Hanson issued his ruling ordering the county to accept marriage license applications from same-sex couples, and 12:30 p.m. today, when he stayed it. More than two dozen same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses during that period, but weren’t yet ready to take their vows because of a three-day waiting period that ordinarily applies to get married in Iowa, according to the Associated Press. Other couples drove to Polk County from throughout the state in an attempt to apply for marriage licenses, but the county is no longer accepting applications.

Rev. Mark Stringer of First Unitarian Church of Des Moines performed the history-making marriage of college students Timothy McQuillan and Sean Fritz. He said he didn’t hesitate to do so, having performed many same-sex commitment ceremonies, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The two are believed to be the only same-sex couple in the country to have actually married outside of Massachusetts, AP reports. A few other states allow civil unions between same-sex couples.

News reports suggest that some state legislators are considering spearheading a move to amend Iowa’s constitution to require that marriages be between a man and a woman. What Hanson found to be unconstitutional was the same requirement imposed by state statute.

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