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Gay couples in Iowa preparing for same-sex marriages

Sunday, April 26, 2009 | 4:26 p.m. CDT

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa counties begin processing same-sex marriage applications Monday and the first gay weddings could happen within hours, but details of just what changes and benefits the ceremonies will bring are still being untangled.

However, any questions lingering under the Iowa Supreme Court's April 3 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage aren't expected to slow the initial rush to county recorder offices.

And while Iowa requires a three-day waiting period before marriages can occur, judges may waive that delay and allow immediate weddings. At least one pro-gay marriage group is counting on waivers and has announced its members will hand out bouquets to newly married couples Monday in five of Iowa's larger cities.

"There are people who may feel they have waited a long time and they want to do it as soon as possible or they understand that life is uncertain and something could happen while you're waiting," said Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization.

Maryfrances Evans and Stephanie McFarland don't plan to marry Monday, but they're not waiting much longer. Evans, 46, and McFarland, 39, will have their ceremony Friday, performed by the same judge who finalized the adoptions of their two daughters, now age 5 and 3.

"It's all about me having the legal right to protect my family, and it's about my daughters being able to grow up knowing that their family is absolutely as valid as any other family," said Evans, who lives in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale.

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimated Iowa had 5,800 same-sex couples in 2005, and said U.S. Census figures reported about 19 percent of gay and lesbian couples in Iowa were raising children.

The institute predicted in an April 2008 study that more than 2,900 of Iowa's same-sex couples would marry in the first three years if gay marriage became legal. And based on experiences of other states that allow same-sex union, the institute estimated about 55,000 gay and lesbian couples would travel to Iowa to marry during that period.

Just what tangible benefits those couples will gain from marriage remains uncertain.

Gay marriage advocates said some advantages are clear, including shared employer benefits, streamlined life and other insurance policies, and the ability for couples to make health care and end-of-life decisions for one another.

Evans noted that if she died before her Friday wedding, McFarland would have to pay taxes on their house and whatever else she inherited. Once they are married, "there will be a clear-cut legal line connecting Stephanie and I, period."

Sharon Malheiro, a Des Moines attorney and board chairwoman of One Iowa, a gay advocacy organization, said other issues may require legal untangling, such as the ability to file wrongful death lawsuits or apply for workers compensation benefits if a same-sex spouse is killed or injured.

She said same-sex couples probably will be denied some benefits under the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages. For example, spouses in same-sex marriages may not be able to pay health care plan premiums with pretax federal dollars and may not get reimbursed for their spouse's expenditures from flexible spending accounts for health care.

While health care decision-making rights are anticipated under Iowa's ruling, Malheiro noted that she and her fiance will continue to carry their legal records with them when they travel outside the state, and she advises her clients to do the same.

Iowa state agencies are still trying to determine how their programs will be affected.

Department of Human Services officials said there won't be noticeable changes in the child welfare system, which screens prospective parents by safety issues, not sexual preference. Unmarried people can already adopt or foster children so long as they have the proper training.

Other states have different requirements for adoption, and many foreign governments and international adoption agencies refuse to place children with same-sex married couples.

Human Services spokesman Roger Munns said the marriage ruling's impact is less clear on programs such as Medicaid, food assistance and subsidized health care because those programs are federally funded.

The Iowa Department of Revenue has generally followed federal guidelines on levying taxes. Spokeswoman Renee Mulvey said officials are reviewing the state court's decision.

Public health officials are reworking paperwork to give couples options beyond the traditional "bride" and "groom." Agency spokeswoman Polly Carver-Kimm said officials are considering other changes, including the designations of "mother" and "father" on birth certificates.

Iowa's ban on same-sex marriage was initially overturned by the Polk County District Court in August 2007, but only one couple, Sean and Tim McQuillan of Ames, managed to get married before that decision was stayed the next day.

Sean McQuillan said he's looking forward to other same-sex couples sharing the benefits he and Tim have starting seeing.

"It's been a little bit awkward ... us being the only ones," he said. "It's going to be really great when everyone else gets the same chance at equality that we've had for the last year and a half."

Associated Press writer Melanie S. Welte contributed to this report.


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr April 26, 2009 | 5:23 p.m.

One thing I heard on a late night news program was gays who wanted to get married would just go to these others states to quickly get married then return to their original states of habitation be happily ever after.

Example California before the Gay Marriage Ban.

It looks like some of these people found the "loop hole" in the laws so why make it where every state this way if the populations of some of those states do not want it as such.

To myself this wreaks of the militant attitudes that some gays push forward in their agendas which I do not agree with one bit and continually undermines our traditional and Christian Society this country was founded upon.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 26, 2009 | 5:40 p.m.

("And while Iowa requires a three-day waiting period before marriages can occur, judges may waive that delay and allow immediate weddings.")
Especially if there's a pregnancy involved!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 26, 2009 | 5:46 p.m.

("And while Iowa requires a three-day waiting period before marriages can occur, judges may waive that delay and allow immediate weddings..."There are people who may feel they have waited a long time and they want to do it as soon as possible or they understand that life is uncertain and something could happen while you're waiting,")
Like maybe Iowa figures out they made a mistake and retracts their liberal, secular progressive, politically motivated decision to destroy the traditional concept which reserves marriage to be between a man and a woman...

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 26, 2009 | 5:58 p.m.

("Agency spokeswoman Polly Carver-Kimm said officials are considering other changes, including the designations of "mother" and "father" on birth certificates.")
Oh, great. Change the meaning of the word marriage and now remove the words mother and father from the dictionary...

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 26, 2009 | 6:47 p.m.

Sounds like the old saying of "once they get their foot in the door there is no stopping the flood".

This movement looks just as bad as our illegal invasion on our Southern Borders only this one is coming from the "Enemy with in".

http://www.amazon.com/Enemy-Within-Ameri...

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 26, 2009 | 8:46 p.m.

This "dude" is just jealous that she's prettier than he is...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deSaC-EKJ...

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 26, 2009 | 8:54 p.m.

So much fretting by two straight dudes in Missouri. Let Iowans do as they will and you can rest comfortable that the constitutional amendment you probably voted for keeps Missouri from acknowledging any gay marriages, whether performed in Iowa or elsewhere.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 27, 2009 | 4:39 a.m.

John Schultz what they do over there effects what might be done over here. That is why we post.

The same thing for what is done or might be done in other parts of this nation effect what might or could be done here too.

There is a huge world out past the Missouri state line that when it does something also effects us here whether you really realize that or not.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 27, 2009 | 7:57 a.m.

I guess that makes it OK for other groups and states to meddle in Missouri's affairs by your logic? I don't want to hear any complaining if outside influences start pushing for an end to the gay marriage ban if you are going to stand by the above statements.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox April 27, 2009 | 8:02 a.m.

Charles Dudley Jr oppression has nothing to do with Christianity, ok it has nothing to do with Jesus, people like you have long used the Bible to justify your own hate.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 27, 2009 | 8:11 a.m.

Eric Cox it is far from hate but it is principles before personalities.

People are whom you hate but principles are what you fight for.

If the principle is unacceptable to one person or a group of people who have a consensus point of view then they stand up for what they believe in.

There are alot of individuals who still believe in the base heterosexual principles that have been in place since man first started counting time and that are taught to us by nature itself.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox April 27, 2009 | 8:37 a.m.

Charles Dudley Jr you may hate the principle but you oppress the individual. Then you talk about some kind of cosmic truth to justify it. And Charles real Christians (unlike me and unlike you) bring people to Jesus.

"There are alot of individuals who still believe in the base heterosexual principles that have been in place since man first started counting time and that are taught to us by nature itself."--That Charles is ridiculous, why don't you just say god told you like the rest of the nut jobs.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 27, 2009 | 9:08 a.m.

Iowa has blessed America with Herbert Hoover, Harry Hopkins and Henry A. Wallace.

Is any further comment necessary?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 27, 2009 | 9:26 a.m.

Eric Cox I'll keep standing by those traditional principles until the day I die. At least I am one of those still willing to stand up for them.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox April 27, 2009 | 9:50 a.m.

"Eric Cox I'll keep standing by those traditional principles until the day I die. At least I am one of those still willing to stand up for them." While you're at it keep deluding yourself that you're a Christian on the side of right.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 27, 2009 | 12:17 p.m.

Eric Cox better to be on one side or the other instead of riding that old wooden fence post and get splinters in your groin.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox April 27, 2009 | 2:14 p.m.

Charles Dudley Jr I've heard of ridding the fence, which is a figure of speech for being undecided or unconcerned about an issue. As for riding a fence post I'm not so sure what that or the splinters in the groin symbolize. Personally I'd rather be undecided than wrong.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 27, 2009 | 3:47 p.m.

Eric Cox people must stand for something or they will fall for anything.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox April 27, 2009 | 4:07 p.m.

Charles Dudley Jr is that it, pointless rhetoric. I do stand for something Charles "The Golden Rule" maybe you've heard of it, so I also stand for equalitiy for everyone not just the people with whom I agree with. I personally am quite happily married to a woman, but if someone else wants to have a homosexual relationship how does that hurt me? It doesn't, so why would I want to stand in the way of their happiness? I don't, because even though I don't understand homosexuality I do understand happiness and love, so if two people love each other and want to be together I'm for it.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley April 27, 2009 | 5:06 p.m.

Charles Dudley, people must NOT fall for everything, or they will stand for nothing.......

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 27, 2009 | 5:40 p.m.

Eric Cox it is only pointless to those who just do not give a dam about our society as a whole and the directions it is going in.

If this society as a whole keeps going the direction it is going we are bound to eventually suffer the consequences of our cumulative actions whether they be physical,mental or spiritual in nature.

Alot of times all three of the latter are linked together in the downfall of many a past society.

Obviously we as society have not learned from any or all of societies past mistakes.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 27, 2009 | 5:46 p.m.

Definitions and the usage of words can vary, however the government and its lawyers will determine how to administrate state marriages.
What amazes me is that gays will use America's Black Slavery transformation and make this "marriage" issue into a civil rights issue. It is not. The American government. does not violate homosexual citizens rights and to demand equal treatment and protection is ridiculous as it already exists. The discrimination gays shout about is perceived discrimination and accusatory. What you are advocating for is that the rules of state marriage be extended to homosexuals. For the government to condone legal homosexual marriages puts society at risk. Those states who buckle or are politically voted to change the administration of marriage will find a new set of problems. It is my hope that tax laws and other reasons the government entered into the "marriage" business will be modified so that our government can get out of the marriage business all together and the choice of the adult you live with will not be their concern. For homosexuals to attempt to get validated for their "queerness" is narcissistic at best. The gay community will use the word Homophobic as loosely as the words politically correct and racist are used today to censor others who have a different opinion. The only difference is the manner in which these rights and treatment is administrated. The traditional concept of marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman. You can not change history and the pendulum will swing back as Americans realize how damaging to the education and upbringing of our children will be as heterosexuality is seen as an equal to homosexuality. We are talking about sexual behavior here and not the color of a person's skin.
The more I learn about the LGBTQ community the more convinced I am that their sexual activity must distort the way they see the world.
The gay community is being played by a bigger machine. Secular progressives want more people to become government dependent. Government legislated gay marriage puts you into their fold and even more under their control. The gay community would better serve themselves and other American citizens by advocating that government get out of the marriage business entirely. What they have done is a ruse to pit us against each other. It's the old divide and conquer rule. Bureaucracy is their love and we are all playing right into it.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox April 27, 2009 | 7:35 p.m.

Charles Dudley Jr that's right I just don't give a damn about society, you've nailed me. It's pointless because you just make statements like

"If this society as a whole keeps going the direction it is going we are bound to eventually suffer the consequences of our cumulative actions whether they be physical,mental or spiritual in nature."

which there is no way for you to know that, so it's rhetoric and pointless because it doesn't support you're point it's just nonsense.

Societies fall because people get apathetic and lazy, not because they respect one another and their differing views, America may indeed be on the path to destruction but it will be because we don't ask enough from our politicians, we ask too much from our government, we sit around watching American Idol and don't give a damn about plain old America, not enough to get up and make it better. It won't be because of gay marriage, flag burning, or because we are decent enough to treat those people who may be slightly different from us as equals.

I guess by some of these Biblical standards I'm in trouble, I'm not gay but I don't keep the sabbath (biblical law punishable by death). I'm married and I don't cheat on my wife by the conventional sense, but you know what the bible says about sex before marriage, yeah it's pretty clear on definition and punishment. And as far as that goes I have both eyes and both hands. "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:Matthew 6:20" but me I have a 401k. Yeah I got the plank, maybe you guys are going up with the first blast of the trumpets, me I'm not so sure. But to be so righteous you must have got these down pat, me I still struggle with "You shall love you neighbor as yourself" but I try. I am from a small town, when I moved here I didn't believe in gay marriage (I am embarrassed to admit,) while a horrible doubting Christian I consider myself a Christian none the less. Ray mentions "The more I learn about the LGBTQ community the more convinced I am that their sexual activity must distort the way they see the world.- ray shapiro" Well I'm not sure where ray learns about the LGBTQ community(really I don't even know what that all means) but when I moved to town I learned something about the gay community by making gay friends and I learned that to love someone as yourself you must accept that person, you may even find that you wish for their happiness. At that point you may have to redefine your view on some subject, but maybe that's just me I don't give a damn about society you know.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 27, 2009 | 9:17 p.m.

Eric Cox anybody can love the person but nowhere am I or anybody commanded to love the behaviors or the sin.

Keep up your own rhetoric it is quite amusing.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox April 27, 2009 | 9:38 p.m.

Charles Dudley Jr I don't believe you know what rhetoric means, although as I type this I'm sure you'll just paste the definition so let me rephrase, I don't believe you understand what it means, just like you don't understand how to support your point because you don't have one, only rhetoric. Unfortunately I don't find you amusing, although I do still wish for your happiness but from what I understand about "bliss" I imagine that will be quite easy for you to find.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 28, 2009 | 5:11 a.m.

Eric Cox well I do not think you even know what you are talking about as well but you sure come off as a good little drone of sorts but that is your choice in life those around you must live with.

Your opposition to my views really do not mean much in the grander scheme of this entire issue but if it makes you feel better to come here and post or try to change my view on the subject and if it makes you content then feel free to do so.

I stand on the long time proven principles and traditions I was taught long ago and always will. Obviously alot of people around this world still do as well.

I guess it goes back to the same saying they say about guns only in this case my principles and traditional values I was raised on.

"As long as I am upon this Earth I will not give up my traditional principles,values and faith until the Good Lord lays me down into the dust from whence I came from".

Don't get me wrong I am no angel by far but one must stand for something.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox April 28, 2009 | 6:45 a.m.

Charles Dudley Jr I'm done with you, continue to fool yourself into believing your right, you also completely failed to support your point. There is no point in conversing with you like a reasonable intelligent person because you are not. I tried to have a intelligent conversation but it's beyond your capacity, respond however you want I won't waste my time on judgmental fools.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 28, 2009 | 6:46 a.m.

Just live and let live, Chuck. That's all anyone is saying. Gay marriage does not affect you in the least - you CHOOSE to let it affect you. You can just as easily choose not to.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 28, 2009 | 7:29 a.m.

Mark Foecking it effects all of society and it is so sad you and others cannot see that simple fact of the issue.

Truly we as a nation and society have forgotten the traditional concepts once taught to us all by our forefathers and patriarchal mothers so long ago and handed down from generation to generation.

This society will reap what it sows in time.

(Report Comment)

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