Happy Valentine's Day

February 14, 2011
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Reporter Rebecca Berfanger wrote this blog post.

Starting in 2007, each year the clerk’s office in Marion County does a “Chapel of Love” event where couples can get married on Valentine’s Day for a donation to the American Heart Association. This year the clerk’s office had 35 couples scheduled to get married today between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to a release the office sent Friday.

A $50 donation to the American Heart Association is in lieu of an officiant’s fee. Since 2007, the event has raised more than $5,500 and 134 couples have been married prior to today’s event.

A year ago today, my friend Natasha Wheeler, who got engaged the previous October, got married at the Marion County Clerk’s Office and has no regrets.

Natasha and her husband first learned about this event through an article they saw in NUVO, and later through the blog post I wrote the Friday before the 2010 event, which I posted on my Facebook page.

She sent me a text that Friday evening because she had called the clerk’s office and was told they didn’t have any openings. I don’t have an “in” with the clerk’s office myself, but I did tell her when I called for more info earlier that day I was told they might be able to take walk-ins.

They got to the City County Building Feb. 14, 2010, about an hour and a half before the scheduled start time for the event, begged for a marriage license (the clerk’s office recommends couples get these ahead of time but did grant one to my friends), and they were the first couple to be married.

About a month later, they hosted an open house at their condo and shared photos and their story from that day. An e-mail I sent to her about the press release for the event was included in their wedding album.

Since then, Natasha and I have talked about her experience. Last month I joked with my coworkers that my boyfriend and I would do this today (we’re not, for the record and in case my mom is reading this).

Before deciding to do this, Natasha and her husband had looked into more traditional options for their wedding, and had even researched the costs for Las Vegas wedding, but they are happy with their choice to get married at the “Chapel of Love.”

“When planning a traditional wedding became too stressful and expensive, we decided to do something more fun, unique and philanthropic,” she texted me on her one-year anniversary.

In related news, the cost of a marriage license might increase if a bill passes this session. HB 1248, currently in the Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs, would increase the fee from $18 to $72, effective July 1, 2011. Couples who take a premarital preparation course would still only pay $18.
 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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