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 Post subject: In Iowa, a historic day for gay couples
PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:33 pm 
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In Iowa, a historic day for gay couples. Starting today, they can get license to wed

By Grant Schulte
USA TODAY

DES MOINES — Shelley Wolfe and Melisa Keeton plan to be at the Polk County Recorder's office before it opens this morning.

Today is the first day same-sex couples can apply for a marriage license in Iowa. The Des Moines couple hopes to be among the first to get one, then get a judge to waive the three-day wait to marry.

"We took a lot of time thinking about what marriage meant to us," Keeton says. "For us, it was binding."

Wolfe, 38, and Keeton, 31, are among couples who plan to marry after the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous ruling April 3 that barring same-sex marriage violated the state constitution. It makes Iowa one of four states — with Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut — that allow same-sex marriage.

California briefly allowed it last year after a state Supreme Court ruling, but in November voters changed the state constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman.

The Iowa Supreme Court decision prompted protests and calls from lawmakers and religious leaders for a similar constitutional amendment.

One district magistrate, Francis Honrath of Larchwood, said he would stop performing any marriages. Iowa state Sen. Merlin Bartz, a Republican, unsuccessfully proposed a "conscience clause" that would allow county recorders to opt out of granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it violated their beliefs.

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