Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

April 26, 2013

16 same-sex marriage certificates issued in Appanoose County

By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian

---- — It’s been four years since the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in April 2009 and legalized same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage certificates became available April 27, 2009 in Iowa.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health website: In 2009, 1,138 female and 645 male same-sex marriage certificates were issued; in 2010, 1,082 female and 512 male same-sex marriage certificates were issued; in 2011, 885 female and 417 male same-sex marriage certificates were issued.

The department’s website doesn’t have marriage records available for 2012 or 2013.

Iowa’s same-sex marriage law was touted as a way to boost the economy.

In April of 2008, a California-based group released a report that states Iowa’s budget would realize a net gain of $5.3 million per year due to same-sex marriage.

The report issued by the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, states the net impact for Iowa would result from “an increase in state income and sales tax revenue” and “savings in expenditures on state means-tested public benefit programs.”

The economic impact in Appanoose County, according to Joyce Bieber, executive director of the Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, would be difficult to determine until the businesses that cater to weddings were asked if they had seen an increase in business.

“The only way that you could really measure it is if you surveyed the businesses that cater to weddings,” Bieber said.

Appanoose County may have seen an economic impact from same-sex marriages as long as the individuals involved utilized local businesses that deal with weddings.

“It does have an economic impact where they are coming here, staying here,” Bieber said. “There potential could be, because we certainly have the facilities.”

Bieber said Appanoose County is becoming known as a wedding destination because of places like Honey Creek Resort State Park, Bessie’s Barn and the Manhattan.

“We have some facilities that people are kind of looking for,” Bieber said. “There’s certain people who are looking to get away from the city. They can’t afford to go to a tropical location for their wedding but they want something kind of unique and we have some different options there and we are kind of a destination spot for weddings.”

The cost to obtain a marriage license in Iowa since has been $35 since 2009, Teddy Walker, Appanoose County recorder, said. Of that $35, Appanoose County keeps $4 and $31 goes to the state.

It took approximately five months from the time the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage to see the first certificate issued in Appanoose County. Since then, a total of 16 same-sex marriage certificates have been issued, all to women.

In 2009, one same-sex marriage certificate was issued in Appanoose County to two Mexico, Mo. residents.

In 2010, four same-sex marriage certificates were issued in Appanoose County. In January, two Des Moines residents; in February, two Centerville residents; in May, two Kirksville, Mo. residents; and in October, two Bloomington, Ill. residents.

In 2011, four same-sex marriage certificates were issued in Appanoose County. In March, two Peoria, Ill. residents; in May, two Des Moines residents; in June, two Centerville residents; and in July, two Centerville residents.

In 2012, six same-sex marriage certificates were issued in Appanoose County. In February, two Centerville residents; in March, two Green Castle, Mo. residents; in May, two Unionville, Mo. residents; in June, two Missouri City, Texas residents; in September, two Columbia, Mo. residents; and in November, two RidgeCrest, La. residents.

In 2013, so far one same-sex marriage certificate has been issued in Appanoose County. In March, two Peters, Mo. women tied the knot.

The total number of marriages in Appanoose County for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 come to 340, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. A review of marriage certificates filed at the Appanoose County recorder’s office shows since April 27, 2009, 377 marriage certificates were issued.

After marriage certificates are recorded, they are sent on to the Iowa Department of Public Health Vital Records division.