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Mark Abzug

Florida men scammed in gay marriage scheme

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2012 | Divorce

How about a wedding where the bridge and groom didn’t even have to show up for the ceremony to get hitched? Sounds too good to be true, and it was for a Florida man and his male partner. Iowa allows out-of-state gay couples to marry but there has to be an in-state ceremony with two witnesses. According to police, the men randomly dialed a county courthouse in Iowa and asked about the marriage process. They spoke with a county deputy of the court clerk and she offered to mail the application documents. The clerk told the men that for $150 she would take care of the matter, no ceremony required. In due, time a marriage license appeared at the men’s Williston residence.

Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last and when one of the men went to a Florida attorney seeking a divorce, he found out that the license was fraudulent. The divorce attorney noticed that the application documents came with a hand-written note and were mailed from the woman’s home instead of the county courthouse. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was called in. The clerk told investigators that she met the couple at an Iowa truck stop and performed the ceremony there. Not so, the men said, we have never been to Iowa. The enterprising county employee was arrested and charged with two counts of forgery and one count of perjury.

The Case of the Marriage by Mail is thought to be a first in Iowa and very rare nationwide. The clerk is pleading not guilty. Iowa sees a lot of out-of-state gay couples who want to get married – it’s not allowed in Florida – and other gay marriage states have experimented with ways to accommodate non-residents. In one memorable case, some gay couples in Texas attempted to wed via a video link in a Washington, D.C. court. That practice has since ended.

Source: The Associated Press, “Florida man angry over gay marriage scam,” Ryan Foley, Oct. 19, 2012