Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I was really excited about this story when I first read it, and couldn't wait to post it.

It seems that a Texas couple, a Texas gay couple, recently got married. In Texas. Where, you know, equality for the LGBT community and marriage is not exactly a reality. So, how did Mark Reed and Dante Walkup do it?

Via Skype. Reed, who is on the board of GetEQUAL, recently married Dante Walkup at the W Dallas Victory hotel. Their wedding was officiated by Skype, from Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriage is legal. They were married in a conference room  in front of about 80 people with a 6-by-8-foot screen looming behind them. At a W hotel in Washington, marriage quality activist Sheila Alexander-Reid officiated the wedding.

Folks are calling it an “e-marriage;” a high-tech version of the proxy wedding traditionally held when one of the parties can’t be physically present — because, for example, they’re in the military stationed overseas.

Mark Reed: “The reason we wanted to do it this way is because we wanted to have a wedding here in Dallas with our family and friends. It was very important that all of our family came. It was the first time they actually met, even though we’ve been together 10 years. If we had to go to D.C., there’s no way we could have had the people there who we wanted to be there.”

Although Reed and Walkup could marry in Dallas, they first had to travel to Washington DC to register. And Reed said while DC’s marriage law has no provision against e-marriage, the validity of the procedure could be challenged in court. So, the couple is working with legal experts and legislators from states where same-sex marriage is legal to draft statutes to solidify the practice.

Reed and Walkup say they have no desire to use their e-marriage to challenge Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage, but they do want to make same-sex marriage more convenient and less expensive for gay and lesbian couples to legally wed.

One step forward, right? Except then I read that the Washington DC marriage bureau is having issues with the legality of an e-marriage.

Sheila Alexander-Reid, who officiated at the Reed-Walkup e-marriage, says: "The D.C. marriage bureau kicked back the certificate we had filed." Apparently, the DC marriage bureau has deemed that the marriage license filed following the Skype ceremony is invalid.

Reid-Alexander says the license is said to be void because the marriage did not take place within the District. She received a fresh marriage license from the court. Alexander-Reid could use it to re-officiate a Reed-Walkup ceremony, if they choose to marry again in DC, "with all parties . . . in physical attendance."

Two steps back.

Gay Couple Legally Weds In Texas

DC Marriage Bureau Rejects Same-Sex Skype Wedding


Cubby said...

I feel bad for Mark Reed and Dante Walkup. I hope they can make other suitable arrangements for a wedding.

Whether the ceremony was legally effective or not, at least they had a ceremony which was attended by their families and friends. Now they may choose to go to DC for a private, legal ceremony to finalize it.

I've heard about e-marriages before. I thought I read that they require one of the parties to be physically present in DC and the other to be outside the United States (e.g. in the military abroad). In the Reed-Walkup case, neither party was physically in DC and neither party was outside the U.S. Only the officiate was there in DC. Is that correct? What am I missing here?

froggy said...

Where there is a will there is technology. And a lawsuit. Lawsuits.

Wonder Man said...

I wish them luck