A Republican in the Iowa Senate tried to give county recorders the authority to deny a marriage license to same-sex couples, but the proposal was sidelined this afternoon by a procedural motion.
An Iowa Supreme Court ruling paves the way for same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses later this month. Senator Merlin Bartz, a Republican from Grafton, says the county recorders who issue those licenses are "in a quandary."
"…The reality is that because Iowa does not have a residency requirement for marriage licenses, on April 27 particularly in border counties or other counties with high populations of individuals that may be mobile and can commute in via airplane we may have — and it’s hard to predict — but we may have an influx of individuals wishing to receive same-sex marriage licenses in the state," Bartz says.
According to Bartz, one county recorder is "so furious" they may resign rather than issue a same-sex marriage license.
"In visiting with the County Recorders Association, they know that they’re right in the middle," Bartz says. "They’ve got a big bulls-eye pointed on them and like it or not, the supreme court has pushed the county recorders into an unenviable position."
Bartz proposed allowing those recorders — "as a matter of conscience" — to refuse to issue a same-sex couple a marriage license. Bartz asked his senate colleagues to grant the recorders a pass if they take that action, rather than face removal from office for failing to fulfill the duties of their office.
"I would suggest to you that the constitution that those county recorders swore an oath to and the constitution that I swore an oath to and the constitution that those seven supreme court justices swore an oath to must be different constitutions," Bartz said during senate debate.
Bartz argued it was a "matter of decency," but his proposal was ruled out of order. Senate President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, said Bartz’ amendment did not fall within the scope of the identity theft bill the senate was debating.