Alex Blaze

Marriage in Iowa: Three items

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 24, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: bisexual, Christian beliefs, fundies, gay marriage, gender neutral, governor, iowa, lesbian, LGBT, licenses, marriage, party a, party b, republican, trangender

1. Iowa marriage licenses will now be semi-gender neutral:

iowa.jpgThe old forms had spaces for the "Groom" and "Bride" to fill in. The new forms refer only to "Party A" and Party B".

But the forms will also provide an option for traditional opposite-sex couples - allowing them to tick off a box identifying them as bride and groom.

Last week the Department of Public Health issued a directive to clerks reminding them that under the court ruling they are obligated to "issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in the same manner as licenses issued to opposite gender applicants."

Remember when California just went completely gender-neutral on the marriage licenses and it broke some fundamentalists' brains? I guess having a little box to check off will prevent the shallower end of the gene pool from getting upset that the contract they're signing isn't sexist enough.

2. Judges and public officials won't be allowed to choose not to perform same-sex marriages; they have to do them all or none of them. So one judge says that he won't do any of them:

At least one Iowa magistrate has decided that he will no longer perform marriages, a response due in part to the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex couples to marry.

Third District Magistrate Francis Honrath of Larchwood on Wednesday said he will not be performing marriages.

"The Supreme Court ruling had something to do with it, but the truth is it's not just same-sex marriage I had problems with," said Honrath, a Creighton University law school graduate who is married and has seven children.[...]

Honrath, a Catholic, has served as a magistrate for Lyon County since 1997. He said he has often had reservations about conducting marriages for even some heterosexuals but didn't realize until after the April 3 Iowa high court ruling that he could completely refrain from conducting any marriages and maintain his job.

He's one of 15 magistrates in the Third District. There are also at least 29 other judges in the district who can perform marriages.

Yeah, he always had issues with marriage, but for some reason he decided to stop performing marriages the week before same-sex marriages are going to start. Pure coincidence.

The obligatory homophobe quote is particularly funny:

Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center said he is concerned about the possibility that the same-sex marriage ruling would cause judges to opt out of performing weddings altogether. His group is opposed to marriage for same-sex couples.

Hurley acknowledged, however, that most people connected with his group have marriages performed by church officials and would not be affected.

"This fiasco, this legal milieu, will have lots of unintended, or maybe intended, consequences," he said.

Yes, I'm sure the whole reason Lambda Legal argued this case was to stop Francis Honrath from performing marriages.

3. One Iowa Republican thinks this is his issue for his gubernatorial bid in 2010. And when it comes to the Republican primary, he's probably right:

Vander Plaats of Sioux City said Miller is an officer of the state judiciary, not the executive branch, and therefore has no standing to insist that recorders issue the licenses.

"The attorney general's office, just to make clear, is not an executive branch office. It's a judiciary branch office. They can't execute," said Vander Plaats, who is expected to announce his candidacy for governor this summer.[...]

Vander Plaats, a Sioux City business consultant who has sought the 2002 and 2006 GOP nominations for governor, has formed a committee that allows him to raise money and hire staff in anticipation of an all-out campaign.

Vander Plaats had asked Gov. Chet Culver last week to sign an executive order staying the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He renewed the request at today's press conference.


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Every same-sex couple that gets married in Iowa should have one of the party fill out "bride" and the other "groom," just for the hell of it.

That's what I was thinking. I'd end up "bride" too. LOL

Vander Plaats really shouldn't be lecturing on the differences in the branches of government. His plan, if elected as governor, is to issue an executive order putting a hold on same-sex marriage until Iowa voters have a say.

Sorry Mr. Vander Plaats, but the governor doesn't have the authority to block a Supreme Court ruling.

His proposal, despite being an empty promise, may set him apart from the other Republican candidates for governor. But I suspect that all of the Republican candidates will make same-sex marriage a major issue, both in the primary and in the general election.

BTW, the Attorney General's office had good reason to issue a statement that all country recorders were required to register same-sex marriage. Some Republicans have been urging county recorders to disobey the Supreme Court ruling.

and, for the record....
Attorneys General are part of the executive departments, not the judiciary.

Were they a part of the judiciary, then there would be an inherent conflict of interest in prosecutions by the State.

The concept and practice arose out of English Common Law.

Mitch van Voorstein | April 27, 2009 5:04 PM

"Yeah, he always had issues with marriage, but for some reason he decided to stop performing marriages the week before same-sex marriages are going to start. Pure coincidence."

1) Yes, he did have issues with "performing" marriages prior to the same-sex law.

2) He believed, prior to the law, that he was bound by his job to "perform" all marriages for people who came to the Courthouse on a certain appointed day of the week.

3) In response to #2, he discovered after the new law that he was not actually required to "perform" said marriages.

4) Furthermore, I have it on his personal word of honor that he would not have "performed" marriages beforehand if he had known that it was optional.

5) Of course it's not "pure coincidence": and he can't correctly be termed a homo-phobe or some such thing if he opts out of all marriages.

I answer you thus.