Iowa Official Arrested Over Invalid Marriage License

Brigitte Van Nice is accused of selling a Florida gay man a bogus license and telling him he didn't have to come to Iowa to marry his partner.

BY Trudy Ring

October 22 2012 6:30 PM ET

Brigitte Van Nice

An Iowa county official has been charged with forgery and perjury after being accused of selling a gay man from Florida an invalid marriage license.

Brigitte Van Nice, deputy clerk of court for Grundy County, was arrested last week and charged with two counts of forgery and one count of perjury, the Associated Press reports. She had mailed a marriage license to Joab Penney of Williston, Fla., in February after he contacted her about getting married in Iowa, one of six states that recognize same-sex marriages. Prosecutors say she told him that he and his partner, Joseph Parker, could enter into a valid Iowa marriage without coming to the state — something that is not true.

Penney, who broke up with Parker shortly after obtaining the license, found out it was not valid when he took it to a divorce lawyer in Florida. “I was pretty upset,” Penney told the AP.

Van Nice claimed she met Penney and Parker at a truck stop in Iowa and that they asked her to officiate their wedding, but Penney said he has never been in the state and contacted Van Nice only because her name turned up in an Internet search.

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