Iowa will begin processing same-sex marriage applications today.

The state legalised marriage for gay couples on April 3rd after a unanimous decision by judges at the Iowa Supreme Court.

Polk County Recorder Julie Haggerty has told reporters that workers at the county offices have set up extra tables and chairs to cope with the expected rush. Additional staff will also be on hand to help out.

“We will be busy. We anticipate to be a lot busier than normal, yes. But as far as the procedure that happens in our office, it will be business as usual,” said Ms Haggerty.

Iowa became the the third US state to legalise same-sex marriage this month. Massachusetts and Connecticut already allow same-sex marriage; Vermont too has passed the legislation but this will not take effect until September.

Though applications are being processed today, marriages will only be allowed to take place from April 30th.

This is because the state requires a three-day waiting period, however a judge can waive that delay and allow an immediate wedding.

It has been reported that committed gay and lesbian couples are travelling from neighbouring states such as Illinois and Chicago to legally tie the knot.

Pastor Tom Emmett of Metropolitan Community Church of Omaha has already agreed to officiate more than a dozen ceremonies and he has received even more inquiries.

He told local reporters: “Many people are excited that they can finally have equal rights. However, some are waiting until later on in the year, I have ceremonies scheduled as late as August so far.

“It’s only a matter of time until God’s love for equality translates into equal rights for everybody regardless of who you are.”

To emphasise equality and to ensure all gays and lesbians enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples, weddings will be performed at bed and breakfasts and parks.