IOWA: Bizarre Gay Marriage Fraud Case
A former Iowa court official pleaded guilty yesterday to filing a fraudulent marriage license on behalf of a Florida gay couple that she'd only spoken to on the phone.
Former Grundy County deputy clerk Brigitte Van Nice, 42, received a fine and a suspended sentence after entering the guilty pleas to perjury and forgery charges at the courthouse in Grundy Center, where she used to work. Van Nice was arrested and suspended from her job in October after investigators discovered that she issued a license last year to Joab Penney and his then-boyfriend Joseph Parker, who had never set foot in Iowa. She was later fired for violating judicial branch policies, court administrator Linda Nilges said.Penney said he discovered the fraud when he attempted to file for divorce from Parker so that he could marry a woman. We can expect the right wing to somehow make hay out of this story.
Penney and Parker contacted Van Nice's office randomly when inquiring about how to get a license, which they could not get in Florida, where same-sex marriage is outlawed. Iowa allows same-sex marriage for couples who come to the state for a ceremony witnessed by two people. Prosecutors say Van Nice issued them a license after she filed documents falsely claiming she had officiated a Valentine's Day wedding for the couple and faked two witness signatures. Van Nice falsely told colleagues that she had met the men at a Waterloo truck stop, where they asked her to officiate and had lined up the witnesses.