Same sex marriage opponents push for executive order - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Same sex marriage opponents push for executive order


Same sex marriage opponents are demanding that Iowa Governor Chet Culver defy an Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex unions.

Culver says he doesn't have the power.

Monday, same-sex couples will have the right to apply for marriage licenses but some say county recorders don't have to issue them.

Same-sex marriage opponents say county recorders aren't being held to the same standard as county attorneys.

They say county attorneys can choose to not prosecute certain cases.

They say county recorders should be able to choose to not issue same sex couples marriage licenses if they're opposed to it.

Opponents say the Iowa Supreme Court went too far when issuing its ruling.

"We truly believe the judiciary overstepped its bounds. We believe it went into legislative territory which is not theirs," said Bob Vander Plaats, an opponent of same-sex marriage.

Vander Plaats says the court should have referred the matter back to the legislature to rewrite the law.

He says the Governor's Office should order recorders to hold off on issuing licenses.

Others say a conscience clause should be in place for those county recorders who may object to the ruling.

"Attorney General Tom Miller's silence on this issue of historic magnitude prior to the Supreme Court decision is deafening. He absolutely has no right, in my opinion, to advise county recorders to violate their conscience he evidently had selectively chosen to utilize and invoke his," said state Sen. Merlin Bartz of Grafton.

Cedar Valley area county recorders say they wouldn't use the conscience clause if it was in place.

Meantime, the fight in Des Moines continues with judges the preferred target.

"Their power is not to make, amend, or strike legislation. That power belongs to the general assembly," said Vander Plaats.

But the Democratic majority legislature says it has no plans to visit the issue this session.

Meantime, at least one magistrate in the state has said he won't perform any marriages now.

We couldn't find any northeast Iowa magistrates taking that position.

The Linn County Recorder's Office issued this statement Thursday afternoon: "In accordance with the recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages, the Linn County Recorder's Office will begin accepting and processing marriage license applications from same-sex couples on Monday, April 27, 2009, the same date the Court's decision becomes effective. This is a change from the Recorder's Office original plan to accept applications on Friday, April 24 and hold them for processing until April 27.

"The marriage license application is not a legal document until Monday," said Jeff Clark, Assistant Linn County Attorney. "If the application is notarized before the ruling takes effect on April 27, someone could challenge its validity. Waiting until Monday assures that no one is taking that chance."

All county recorders in the State of Iowa are required to comply with the Iowa Supreme Court ruling and issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in the same manner as licenses issued to opposite-gender applicants."

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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