Monday, April 27

Licensed to Wed, But Still Not Equal

Today is the first day that same-sex couples can go to their local courthouse and apply for a marriage license.

Lambda Legal provides these details of what constitutes marriage in Iowa as of today:

_Marriage requirements: Two people, over 18, not already legally married, not closely related and legally competent to enter into a civil contract.

_License: Applicants must show proof of identity, pay $35 fee, and have a witness sign the application. Three-day waiting period before wedding may be performed, although this may be waived by judge.

_Ceremony: Must be in Iowa, with both parties, an officiate (judge or leader of a religious faith) and two witnesses present.

_If a same-sex couple have been legally married elsewhere, their marriage is valid in Iowa as of Monday. It is not yet clear if civil unions from another state or registered domestic partnerships will be recognized in Iowa.

_For a divorce, one party must have been a resident of Iowa for at least one year.

Despite the movement to change Iowa's constitution, same-sex couples still will not have the same rights as other married couples because the Defense of Marriage Act signed by Bill Clinton and approved by Senators Harkin and Grassley in 1996.

DOMA states:
1) No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) needs to treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.
2) The federal government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.

As a result, same-sex couples who are wed in a civil ceremony in Iowa do not have the same rights where taxes, benefits and other privileges if the federal government or other states' laws are involved. The Des Moines Register has this story.

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