Iowa State Daily

A window of opportunity

Gay marriages temporarily allowed, 2 ISU students first

Kyle Miller

Issue date: 9/4/07 Section: News
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Sean Fritz, left, embraces his new husband Tim McQuillan after they received their marriage certificate Friday in Des Moines. The Ames couple was married a day after a judge threw out the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Media Credit: Charlie Neibergall/The Associated Press
Sean Fritz, left, embraces his new husband Tim McQuillan after they received their marriage certificate Friday in Des Moines. The Ames couple was married a day after a judge threw out the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Two ISU students took a bold step into legally uncharted waters Friday when they had their same-sex union recognized under Iowa marriage law, taking advantage of a very small window of opportunity that has since closed.

The couple, Sean Fritz, senior in computer science, and Timothy McQuillan, junior in linguistics, were married at 10:32 a.m. Friday by the Rev. Mark Stringer of the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, on the reverend's front lawn.

"We're both very happy and excited to be married. It has been an overwhelming day. It's good to say that we're married," Fritz said. "Both of our parents are enthusiastic about the marriage."

On Thursday, Polk County Judge Robert Hanson decreed that the state ban on gay marriage, under the 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, was unconstitutional due to the violation of due process and equal protection rights after six gay couples had sued the state.

Hanson then ordered a stay on the issue Friday, effectively stopping the ruling until the appeals process was complete.

Julie Haggerty, Polk County recorder, said the office is now under direction from the county attorney not to issue any more same-sex marriage licenses.

Fritz and McQuillan first met over Facebook, and the relationship developed over the course of the following year and two months, Fritz said.

"We arranged to have a coffee date and it went from there," Fritz said.

Fritz said they had been engaged for six months and had been weighing other marriage options.

To get married, the couple had to first obtain signatures on four different forms and get it to the Polk County recorder's office to be legalized. The usual three-day waiting period was waived in this case. At 11:30 a.m. Friday, Hanson ordered a stay on the ruling, which stops any more marriages from being legalized.

Trish Umthun, Polk County deputy recorder, said the three-day waiting period is only for contractual purposes.

"The three-day period is a contract - you have three days to back out of it," Umthun said.

The same-sex marriage issue is a hot debate, with 45 out of 50 states adopting the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Fritz said the move to get married is not based along any political lines.

"Neither of us are activists, we're just married. We're both just happy to be married and we're looking forward to our honeymoon," Fritz said.

Don McDowell, consultant with ISU College Republicans and senior in political science, said he was disappointed by the ruling and that it was forcibly trying to "change the social culture of the state."

"I think that it's obviously disappointing, and it's a prime example of judicial activism," McDowell said. "I think what happened today is very undemocratic."

McDowell said the state should have a vote or a referendum on whether to legalize same-sex unions.

"The voters [need to decide] if they want Iowa to become the Massachusetts of the Midwest," McDowell said.

On the other side of the issue, Stringer has past experience in performing same-sex marriages. Stringer said that although Friday's union was not conducted under normal circumstances, he was happy to do it.

Stringer was also very encouraged by the judge's ruling.

"I've lived in New York City and Chicago, and I'm really proud to say that the rest of the country needs to catch up to Des Moines," Stringer said.

Stringer reiterated that although he has a vested interest in the church, he feels that same sex marriages are a civil issue, not a religious one.

"As a citizen, I affirm religious organizations that choose to deny same-sex marriages. That's OK. But in this country, we have the freedom from religion and of religion. It's a civil rights issue," Stringer said. "Religion should never trump civil rights."

Faces in the Crowd: What is your reaction to the recent lifting of the ban on same-sex marriage?

D'Juan Combs, sophomore: "They are legal citizens, and you can't deny their rights just because of their sexual orientation."

Murail Kuchibhotia, graduate student: "I support it. If two people are in love then it shouldn't matter what sex they are."

Maggie Luttrell, junior: "I'm in support of it. I think that it furthers the progressiveness of Iowa."

Matthew Hendrickson, senior: "I'm against gay marriage. I don't believe its right by the Bible's standards. And it's pretty much against the country, besides Maryland."

Michael McBride, freshman: "I guess I don't think you should deny people's rights because of their sexual preference. I think its fair to let them live the life that they want to live, because we don't discriminate on the basis of race then why should we discriminate based on sexual preference?"

Keihly Moore, senior: "I thought it was a great thing that they lifted the ban and it was a bad thing that it was stopped. The reaction from the people who responded to the lift was great and it showed what people want."

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posted 9/03/07 @ 11:00 PM CST

"Matthew Hendrickson, senior: "I'm against gay marriage. I don't believe its right by the Bible's standards. And it's pretty much against the country, besides Maryland. (Continued…)

(4 replies)   Details   Reply to this comment

Rev. Isaac L. Luk

posted 9/03/07 @ 11:30 PM CST

How painfully it is to hear again the 2nd Sodomic act on the surface of the earth?
" 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. (Continued…)

(1 reply)   Details   Reply to this comment

Steve Gregg

posted 9/03/07 @ 11:31 PM CST

First, gay and straight people have exactly the same rights. There is nothing in the Constitution that says the Bill of Rights is conditioned on the sex acts or partners you prefer. (Continued…)

(1 reply)   Details   Reply to this comment


Kyle Solberg

posted 9/03/07 @ 11:37 PM CST

I am very glad to see that these Iowa State students were able to express their love for one another through a societally accepted form of expression. (Continued…)


posted 9/04/07 @ 1:05 AM CST


How about nature? Male parts were intended to match with female parts. That is the only way all life is reproduced (except asexual organisms). (Continued…)

(2 replies)   Details   Reply to this comment


posted 9/04/07 @ 1:06 AM CST

I guess I am troubled by a number of things I have just read on this site...

First of all, I am troubled by (although I certainly understand) the incredible amount of "shouting" that is going on with so little "listening/reading" taking place. (Continued…)

Scott Wolcott

posted 9/04/07 @ 1:21 AM CST


Why do you need an objection that doesn't involve religious texts or beliefs? Don't you consider your beliefs to be true for a reason? Isn't it reasonable to expect that a person can hold a belief for a "religious" reason? I think what I am asking here, is if you could help me to understand why a religious reason is inherently less valuable than a non-religious one?

American Atheist

posted 9/04/07 @ 1:24 AM CST

I'm happy for the two young men who have found love & now are married. Iowa is a common law state & I do hope that more couples will just bypass the license process & prove in courts of law their contractual equality against those who'd prevent their equity rights. (Continued…)

Scott Wolcott

posted 9/04/07 @ 6:55 AM CST

[QUOTE id="8443cb82-acf8-4550-af70-e1b8a4e1be7b"]It is time to expose the violent irrationality of religious fanatics who'd harm families to justify their idiotic religions. (Continued…)


posted 9/04/07 @ 8:27 AM CST

Whooda thunk it'd be two ISU students and not two Iowa City students for the first gay "marriage"? Not me.

Why do the godless demand you make an argument without using God, then when you do the best the godless can do is say " then why doesn't a man pee in a girl's vajayjay?"

What the hell? If nature's reasoning isn't good enough (NEVER will two dudes or two chics be able to have their parts rub together and make a baby) then why isn't God's Law good enough for you? Gay "marriage" is wrong, it's icky, and it serves no positive purpose. (Continued…)

(12 replies)   Details   Reply to this comment

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