More Out-of-State Gay Couples Marry in Iowa Than Residents

New numbers from Iowa reveal that there's strong out-of-state demand from gay couples to be married there, the Des Moines Register reports:

Iowa "Out-of-staters made up 60 percent of same-sex couples married in Iowa since the practice became legal in April 2009, state officials reported today.

A new report from the Iowa Department of Public Health says 2,020 same-sex marriages were recorded in the state from April 27, 2009, through March 31, 2010. Only 815 of the couples were from Iowa. The newly married included 199 gay couples from Illinois, 158 from Missouri and 111 from Nebraska.

Overall, 19,904 couples were married in Iowa during the time period. Of those, 2,020 were listed as 'same gender' couples, 16,869 were listed as 'opposite gender' and 1,015 were listed as 'not stated.'

Among gay couples getting married here, 728 were two men, and 1,292 were two women."


  1. Charlie-o says

    I hope businesses in Iowa are marketing this like crazy – honeymoon packages, restaurants, chapels, florists, the whole (ridiculos) nine yards. In the end, money’s the only thing that changes peoples minds.

  2. says

    These stats are exactly the same as those for Civil Unions in Vermont, when we were the only place that had them (2001 until 2004, when marriage became legal in Mass).

    More out of staters than in-state couples.
    Twice as many women as men.

    I’m not sure what the current stats are, since now we have marriage equality, but so does every jurisdiction around us except for New York. I’m hoping VT is still an attractive wedding destination, at least for New Yorkers! It certainly is for the straight folks.

    Iowa’s an island of equality in a sea of nothing, just like VT once was.

  3. Marc says

    If only state rights are equal then what benefit would it be to get married in a different state if your state of residence won’t recognize it? Am I missing something?

  4. John in Boston says

    VT and Iowa have TINY (and VERY homogeneous) populations, especially VT. The quoted statistics are not surprising. Even though MA has a much larger and more diverse population, I wouldn’t be surprised if a large minority, even a majority, of those involved in gay marriage ceremonies were out-of-staters. There is after-all only so many homosexuals.

  5. JT says

    John in Boston: Yes, VT and Iowa sure aren’t ethnically diverse (like ALL the states that allow gay marriage….hmmmmm)

  6. says

    As a person who lived in Omaha, Nebraska for the first 22 years of my life, I can say I was actually shocked the numbers from Nebraska weren’t higher. When I tell you that Council Bluffs, IA is just across the river, I’m talking a twenty minute drive TOPS from Omaha, Nebraska into Council Bluffs, IA (and that’s in really heavy traffic). And seeing that Omaha is the biggest city in Nebraska, it truly shocks me that more gay people from Omaha aren’t “jumping the river” to “jump the broom”.

  7. says

    Who knew that news from IA could be given a racist spin?

    So MA is now “not ethnically diverse”?
    How about Canada? Ever been to Montreal or Toronto, boys?

    There are more interesting conclusions to draw from the statistics, which have nothing to do with race. (Furthermore, I seem to recall an early video of early applicants for marriage in IA featured two black women, but I guess you didn’t see that. Women and people of color being invisible, and all.)

    Marc: never underestimate the symbolic value of marriage. People know what it is. Those out of state couples can now say they are married and even show a piece of paper, even if it legally means nothing in their home state.

  8. says

    Yes, VT and IA have a homogeneous population, but so does SD. Lack of ethnic diversity isn’t why these states have marriage equality. In the case of VT, the keys were a liberal Supreme Court that said gay couples must be treated equally and a heavily Democratic legislature that found–10 years later–separate is not equal. VT has marriage equality because we’re one of the most liberal and least religious states in the US and because a small population did help with outreach efforts. Any states that allow public referendums (such as ME and CA) are at a distinct disadvantage at this point in history no matter what their ethnic makeup.

    As for the statistics, not particularly surprising. Though for out-of-staters I would think it would be a difficult choice: getting married in another state gives you potential legal entanglement with potentially no practical benefits. It shows a strong desire to commit, even when that commitment remains largely symbolic.

  9. Chitown Kev says

    And no, the District of Columbia is not a state but Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota are.