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. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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