Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No gay marriages in Carroll County, Iowa -- yet

New forms here, recorder reports no applications

County Recorder Marilyn Dopheide reported that no gay couples had filed for marriage licenses in Carroll as of late this morning during the first hours such unions are legal in Iowa.

Dopheide said people had called the office this morning seeking information on the necessary legal forms for a marriage. Since no information has been filled out at this point, she can't tell if they are gay or heterosexual.

"They're both men and women, and I don't ask," Dopheide said. "They're asking because it's spring."

Dopheide said the Iowa Supreme Court's decision allowing gay marriage became official at her office at 8:10 a.m.

In larger, metropolitan counties, and ones along Iowa's borders, gay couples applied for licenses this morning. There were reports of lines of same-sex couples in Polk County seeking forms.

"The recorders are doing their jobs, Dopheide said.

On April 3, the seven-member Iowa Supreme Courts court ruled unanimously that the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, effectively establishing marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Dopheide said her responsibility is to follow the law.

And for now that means changing the paperwork in the office. The new certificates for marriage ask applicants to list themselves as "Party A" and "Party B" - and then, if they so choose, to select a small box on the side of the form identifying themselves as "spouse," "bride" or "groom." The older marriage certificates simply listed "bride" and "groom."

The Carroll County Recorder's Office collects a $35 fee for a marriage license, and that fee remains the same.

Dopheide said she expects some people will not be pleased with change in traditional terms on the marriage certificates

Some have made their distaste with legal gay marriage known.

"I would say it's more frustration than anything," Dopheide said.

Other Iowa county recorders, who are elected, have received threats from gay-marriage opponents who want them to join in protest of the law. Those threats have been of an electoral nature, Dopheide said.

For her part, Dopheide said some people who have called her clearly don't understand the law.

"They don't think the Supreme Court ruling is law," Dopheide said. "I think there's some confusion as to the Supreme Court making law."

Dopheide, who has been county recorder since 1995, said she's never had a gay couple come in and request paperwork for a marriage.

The Daily Times Herald has never had a request for publication of a gay-wedding announcement, although some obituaries list what are clearly homosexual relationships within the surviving families of the deceased.

In 2008 there were 127 marriage licenses issues in Carroll County, down from 139 in 2007 and 150 in 2006.

This story first appeared in The Carroll Daily Times Herald ...

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