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How To Get Married In Iowa For Same-Sex Couples

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A student celebrates Iowa's decision to allow same-sex marriage.
© David Greedy/Getty Images
Starting April 24, 2009, same-sex couples can legally marry in Iowa. The Iowa Supreme Court made history on April 3, 2009 with a unanimous ruling, making Iowa the 3rd state to allow same-sex marriages. The state county attorney has stated that he will not seek a rehearing. Are you and your partner ready to get married? If so, here's what you need to know before you get married in Iowa.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Residency
    Same-sex couples do not have to be residents of Iowa in order to obtain a marriage certificate. Couples should bring a photo ID and their Social Security card with them at the time of registration.
  2. Cost
    Expect to pay at least $30. Fees vary from county to county.
  3. Previous Marriages
    Divorce happens. So does finding love again. If either of you have been previously married, be prepared to show your divorce papers. If the divorce is fresher than 60 days, bring a signed copy.
  4. Waiting Period
    You and your soon to be husband will have to wait up to three (3) business days for the application to process.
  5. Blood And Other Tests
    No tests are required in order to marry in Iowa.
  6. Marriage Certificate
    Crystal, a newlywed in Iowa says, "You don't have to go into the county recorders office to apply for a marriage certificate. You can call and request one be mailed and have it signed and notarized and mail it in. Once the recorder receives it the 3-day waiting period starts and your license will be available for pick up after that. Also you can request one online, at least through the Polk County recorder."
  7. Witnesses
    You will need a witness, so plan on bringing a close friend or relative with you when you apply for the license.
  8. Age Requirements
    You both need to be at least eighteen (18) years of age. Applicants younger than eighteen need parental consent.
  9. Wedding Officiator
    Even after you apply, your marriage isn't valid unless an ordained and licensed clergymen or justices of the peace officiates over your ceremony.
  10. Planning
    Plan your ceremony month-by-month with this same-sex wedding planner. On a budget? Learn how you and your fiance can save a few dollars and still have a beautiful ceremony.
  11. Ring Selection
    Kathy Belge over at About: Lesbian Life steps you through the process of buying a wedding ring, including deciding on a budget, style and jewelry store.
  12. Copies of Certificate
    Iowa-born citizens can purchase a commemorative marriage certificate for $35+ by sending an application to:

    Iowa Department of Public Health
    Bureau of Health Statistics
    Lucas State Office Building, 1st Floor
    Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

What You Need

  • Photo ID
  • Social Security Information
  • Divorce Papers (if applicable)
  • A Witness
  • Ordained Clergymember or Licensed Justice Of The Peace
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