E-marriage: Marriage by proxy for same-sex couples

Wedding cake topper of two men in tuxedos. It was designed for a same-sex wedding.

Marriage via proxy on Skype – aka “e-marriage” – has served military and same-sex couples. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Stefano Bolognini/Wikipedia)

The laws pertaining to gay marriage in most states do not currently favor same-sex couples. Yet through technology, some same-sex couples have found a way to navigate around what many consider to be unjust laws, reports Time. For instance, one same-sex couple in Texas recently tied the knot via the online communication service Skype, in what is being called an “e-marriage.”

E-marriage possible in Texas, despite state law

In Texas, gay marriage may not be recognized, but an e-marriage was still possible for Mark Reed and Dante Walkup in their home city of Dallas. Reed, a board member of the LGBT group GetEQUAL, arranged for the e-marriage to be officiated by a party in Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriage is legal. While it was necessary for the couple to go to D.C. before the ceremony to register for a marriage license and receive it in the mail, being able to have a ceremony before family and friends was something neither Reed nor Walkup wanted to pass up.

Marriage equality activist and wedding officiant Sheila Alexander-Reid appeared via Skype teleconference on a 6-by-8-foot screen.

“When we walked down the aisle, as soon as we reached the front, she comes on the screen like The Wizard of Oz,” Reed said. “It was beautiful. It wasn’t make-believe. It was like she was really there.”

Proxy marriage has been done before

Military couples have married via teleconference when one party is overseas, so same-sex e-marriage seemed well within the realm of possibility to Reed. While there are no specific laws governing e-marriages, Reed is currently working with state and national legislators to ensure that other same-sex couples will have the right to marry via Internet proxy should they choose to do so. Taking on Texas’ same-sex marriage ban will come later.

Finding creative ways around inequality

Mark Reed and Dante Walkup are happy that their e-marriage may draw added attention to what many consider to be a human rights violation clothed in laws enforcing inequity. As technology expands horizons, perhaps ignorance will contract. But as Reed puts it, creativity is needed in the campaign to change minds.

“It’s like the more equal we can get through creative ways, we’re going to do it,” Reed said.


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