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    Same-Sex Marriage by Skype
    Posted: 2012-08-30 05:00:43

    A same-sex couple from Texas has been disappointed to learn that its D.C. marriage by Skype, conduced by an official in Washington while the couple remained in its home state, has been rejected by the D.C. Superior Court.

    As same-sex marriage is prohibited inTexas, the couple sought to formalize their marriage under District of Columbialaw. That jurisdiction, along with Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, permits gay couples to marry.

    Same-sex marriages have been recognized throughout Canada since July 20, 2005, and was in effect in most provinces from 2003.

    CNN comments on the Texas case, which ultimately is of most interest for its holding that a Skype conference cannot establish a necessary physical presence in a jurisdiction:

    But the court said its notice had nothing to do with the gender of the men and everything to do with the location of their ceremony.

    Marriage statutes in the District of Columbia (dating back to 1901) requires marriages to be celebrated within the jurisdictional and territorial boundaries of the city," Marie Robertson, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Superior Court, wrote CNN in an e-mail. "Both the officiant and the parties to the marriage must be physically present at the ceremony performed in the district."

    Though video conferencing allows people to interact in new ways, such technology raises tricky questions about what it means to be present in a legal sense. Describing themselves as "accidental activists," Reed and Walkup now find themselves part of the new legal tangle.

    Also see Family Law Prof Blog, which notes this case today.

    Garry J. Wise graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1984 and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1986. He practices with Wise Law Office, a Toronto litigation firm he founded in 1986, with focus on Employment Law, Family Law, Estates Litigation and Civil Litigation. You can learn more about him by visiting his website:


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