Brigitte Van Nice, a former deputy
clerk in a rural Iowa county, on Monday pleaded guilty to filing an
illegal Iowa marriage certificate.
Van Nice received a suspended sentence
and probation, the AP reported.
The former Grundy County deputy clerk
was arrested last fall and charged with issuing a marriage license
to two Florida men who have never visited Iowa.
Joab Penney and Joseph Parker said a
Google search led them to Van Nice, who mailed them a marriage
license application and told the couple they could marry in Iowa
without coming to the state.
Van Nice, who has an ordination
certificate from an online ministry program, received $150 to marry
Penney and Parker. She falsely told colleagues that she performed
the ceremony at the truck stop where she had met the couple in
February. The men said they never stepped foot in Iowa, one of 6
states at the time where gay couples could legally marry.
Penney learned that he was not legally
married when he contacted an attorney about a divorce.
“I was pretty upset,” he
told the AP. “What she did was wrong.”
Van Nice forged the signatures of 2
witnesses to the Valentine's Day wedding ceremony she falsely claimed
to have officiated over.