Same sex marriage: Dubuque courthouse not as busy as expected - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Same sex marriage: Dubuque courthouse not as busy as expected


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- One year ago today, same sex couples across the state were legally allowed to wed for the first time in Iowa's history. A year later, and the Dubuque County Recorder's office isn't seeing as big of an increase as expected.

It was April 27th, 2009.

"We actually was up at four o'clock this morning," said Kentaindra Scarver.

Just outside the Dubuque county courthouse, a same sex couple celebrates their marriage.

"We wanted to get married, be the first ones in Dubuque to break history!" said Scarver.

A year later and things are quiet at the courthouse.

"It was not the dramatic increase that we really thought it would be," said Diane Gavin with the Dubuque County Recorder Office.

Since Dubuque borders Illinois and Wisconsin, many people, including those in the recorder's office, expected a rise in marriage license applicants. But they weren't sure how much.

"We could have just a few couples or a bus load. We really didn't know what to expect," said Gavin.

In fact, in the past year Dubuque saw 154 same sex couples apply for marriage licenses, that's 19 percent of all marriages. 82 percent of those marriages were within the first six months of the new law. 71 percent of those couples were from out of state. 12 percent from outside the Tri-states.

The county recorder's office credits the high traffic in the beginning to fear of the law being overturned.

"I think they've come to the realization that it's not something that going to be repealed immediately I think they realize they have the time. Those who initially came in were worried that it would be taken away," said Gavin.

But a year later, there are still many same sex couples coming to Dubuque to get married.

"You'll get a couple in that's just so excited to see Iowa lets them get marriage. They're kinda fun to watch," said Gavin.

To them, no matter what the numbers say, they're happy to finally legally be married to the one they love.

The Dubuque County Recorder's office admits this time of year is busy for marriage licenses. They expect a few of them to be from same sex couples.

Of course many businesses are taking full advantage of same sex marriage. This website serves as a resource for same sex couples. Here you'll find wedding planners, photographers, and venues advertising specifically to gay marriages.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

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