Today the state of Iowa began granting marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. I've had a huge smile on my face as I've been clicking through photos of couples getting married in Iowa City, Des Moines, and Council Bluffs on the Des Moines Register website. In all, more than 260 same-sex couples applied for licenses today.
My husband and I are getting legal and religious things squared away to apply for an Iowa marriage license of our own. Iowa has no residency requirement for marriage, so we are as welcome to marry in that state as are any of its 3 million citizens.
The process begins with the two of us signing an application for the marriage license (note the new optional checkboxes to designate "bride" "groom" or "spouse"), which must be witnessed by a notary public. Since C and I only see each other on weekends, this has posed a the small problem of finding a notary available on a weekend. I pulled some strings today and contacted some people with connections; I may have tracked down a sympathetic notary public who would be willing to meet with C and I this Saturday :-)
Step two is simple: we mail the application and $35 fee to the Johnson County Clerk in Iowa City (where C's folks live) and wait 3 days for the application to be processed and an incomplete marriage license to be prepared.
The final step will take some logistics: we must travel to Iowa and be wed by an Iowan who can legally marry a couple--basically, a judge or a minister (but not a riverboat captain). We have it on good authority that the judges in Johnson County are booked solid with weddings for ~three months. So that leaves the religious option, which we are exploring. C and I were married in our Quaker meeting in Urbana, Illinois. We have visited the Quaker meeting in Iowa City on occasion when visiting C's parents. Today, C wrote to the Iowa City meeting asking if the clerk of their meeting would be willing to sign an Iowa marriage license for us--we would of course (as is the custom among Quakers) first open a channel of communication between our Quaker meeting and theirs so that our meeting could verify that we satisfied all components of the Clearness process for marriage. We may also be required to supply the Iowa City meeting with a copy of the Quaker marriage certificate which was signed by all who attended our wedding.
This step could prove thorny. Quaker meetings act in unanimity; if there is any opposition to an action, it is avoided. I am happy to say that my marriage to C was approved unanimously by our local Quaker meeting. However, the Iowa City meeting may disapprove our marriage if any in the meeting oppose it. We will have to wait and see.
In the meantime, I continue to smile at the photos of the happy couples tying the knot today (and every day after today!) in Iowa. Congratulations!