Same-sex couples wed in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa " Same-sex couples in Iowa began holding hastily planned weddings Monday as the state became the third to allow gay marriage, a leap that even some supporters find hard to grasp in the nation's heartland.

Within hours of a state Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage taking effect, several same-sex couples had exchanged vows on the steps of the Polk County Administrative Building.

"It's not very romantic is it?" Melisa Keeton joked, referring to the location of the ceremony and the media attention, before marrying Shelley Wolfe.

The couple were allowed to wed after getting a judge to waive the state's three-day waiting period. The waiver was granted after the couple claimed the wait was stressful on Keeton, who is pregnant and due in August.

On April 3, the Iowa justices upheld a lower court ruling that rejected a state law restricting marriage to a union between a man and woman. The decision added Iowa to the list of states where gay marriage is legal, joining Massachusetts and Connecticut. A Vermont law allowing gay marriage will take effect in September.

Officials said the Polk County recorder's office had received 82 marriage applications from same-sex couples by 4 p.m.

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