|Mark Reed (L) and Dante Walkup (R)|
At issue is the question of whether or not a state that allows same-sex marriage also allows "proxy marriages". These are ceremonies performed when the parties involved, such as the officiant and the couple, or one member of the couple, are not physically present in the same state. This is usually due to an overseas military deployment.
Reed explains on dot429.com why they chose an E-Marriage and why they chose to do it now, after ten years together :
"As Dante and I reached the middle age of 50, we realized time was flying by and marriage equality still seemed several years away from reaching our state. Recently, Dante was in an automobile accident and my relationship was questioned before I was taken to his room. I lied and told the nurse he was my husband and demanded to see him immediately. Fortunately my white lie worked. Not having the ability to see each other in an emergency situation was not something either of us ever wanted to experience. So, the desire to get married legally became very important to both of us."The couple call themselves "accidental activists" who jumped on the marriage equality train after the overturning of Prop 8 in California. They joined GetEqual and Reed was among six activists arrested over the summer for handcuffing themselves to the White House Fence in protest of DADT. He writes, "As we began to think about getting married, we explored creative ways we could import marriage equality into the unequal state of Texas. Our solution was E-marriage, and this eventually led to our Skype wedding.
In their research Reed and Walkup discovered an article published by the University of Michigan's School of Law, entitled, "E-Marriage: Breaking the Marriage Monopoly", co-authored by Adam Candeub and Mae Kuykendall. The article states, in part, "...we argue that states can and should authorize weddings in any location. Depending on a couple's preferences for “e-ritual” and a state’s desired level of regulatory control, a couple could have a traditional marriage ceremony in the location of their choice, but would receive a license and file necessary papers with a distant state jurisdiction or, perhaps employ an officiant in the authorizing state using teleconferencing or Skype."
There have been two other same-sex e-marriages performed this way, one other in Texas and one in Minnesota. The couple applied for a marriage license in DC, where proxy marriages are legal. The ceremony was performed by activist Sheila Reid-Alexander, who fought on the front lines of the marriage equality battle in the nation's capital. Upon being pronounced legally married in front of their 80 guests, the two kissed and high-fived each other.
You can view the couple's very hot/sexy/romantic/inspiring e-invitation here. Congratulations, guys!