Same-sex weddings in the heartland

CNN reports on how everything has changed for same sex couples in Iowa.

Everything changed for this Iowa nurse on April 3, when the Midwestern state’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled to overturn a ban on same-sex marriages. On that day, Pollard proposed to Gayla Snook, her partner of 10 years — three times, just because she could. By lunchtime, the two women were busy planning their wedding, a big blowout scheduled for next summer.

Forty years after the Stonewall riots in New York — the June 28, 1969, demonstrations that marked the beginning of the gay rights movement — Iowa stands as one of six U.S. states to have legalized same-sex marriages. The others that currently, or will soon, perform such unions are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

Iowa Episcopal Churches offer blessings of civil marriages according to Diocesan Policy. Clergy may ask a state official to perform the vows followed by the blessing of the couple’s marriage.

The Supreme Court’s ruling broadens the legal definition of marriage beyond that which is currently stated in the Canons of the Church or the Prayer Book which contains our authorized services. Further, the Prayer Book requires compliance with both the laws of the State and the canons of the Church. But the Church’s definition of the sacrament of marriage and the state’s definition of the legal form of marriage now differ. In spite of the good intentions many may have, I am unable to permit Episcopal clergy to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Couples wishing prayers and a blessing therefore must go first to the state to be married or a priest may ask a state official to provide for the vows and the signing of the license.

Read the Diocesan policy below:

A Pastoral Response

to the Iowa State Supreme Court Ruling on Equal Marriage

The Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, Bishop of Iowa


I invite you to read the

Past Posts