Dallas Same-Sex Skype Marriage Nullified By Marriage Bureau

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Remember the same sex couple from Dallas who Skyped their wedding ceremony last month to make it legal? Though the dust is barely off the “I do’s,” the Marriage Bureau has weighed in with a “No, you don’t.”

Mark Reed remembers the October Skype ceremony as “The most important, exciting day of my life.”

He and his partner Dante Walkup exchanged their vows at the “W” Hotel in Dallas while their officiant remained in Washington, D.C. where gay marriages are performed and recognized.

Reed and Walkup thought Skype would provide the loophole that enabled them to “legally” tie the knot in Texas, which has outlawed same sex marriage. But the marriage didn’t last – not on paper.

Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the men received a letter in the mail telling them their marriage was invalid.

“Like it never legally happened. When we first got the letter, we were devastated,” Reed said.

“I couldn’t believe it. It’s like I was totally floored. It’s like I got hit in the stomach,” Walkup added.

In the letter, the Washington D.C. Marriage Bureau said it rejected the marriage because all of the parties involved (i.e. the contracting parties and the officiant) were not physically present.

Rob Wiley, a gay rights attorney says that is still open to interpretation.

“We struggled with whether emails were documents. We struggled with whether electronic signatures are the same as pen and ink signatures,” Wiley said.

Now, he said they’ll struggle with Skype.

“They could file in court in D.C. to get an interpretation from a judge for what it means to be present in D.C.,” Wiley said.

The two men said they were told an anonymous complaint led to the rejection letter from the marriage bureau. They said it may have been one person or a group.

Mark and Dante may fly to D.C. just to make their ceremony legal, hoping the second time will be the charm.

  • Bonham

    Duh. It’s illegal!

  • John

    Leaving alone the same-sex issue, would a marriage ceremony over the phone be legal? If so, or if not, why would Skype be any different?

  • Matt

    How about some real news!!!

    I wish the best for both those guys, but come on, what’s the point? Neither the Feds nor the State of Texas recognize same sex marriages…

    What exactly is surprising or note worthy here?

  • John

    It’s not legal in TEXAS.go live somewhere were it is legal.. Get out of the great State of Texas.

  • Elmer

    Channel 11 loves to put their own kind in the spot light.

  • Jude SafeSchools Stevens

    I’m personal friends with these men. I was at their wedding in Dallas. They wanted to be surrounded by friends and family, watching their real wedding take place. It is ridiculous to have to fly to another state. Marriage may have been left up to states but I believe that is an archaic approach. Even where it is legal, the Federal government does not provide the benefits of marriage, and that is where the major benefits are, like Medicare and Social Security. Our government is behind many other civilized countries. I am heartbroken for my wonderful, courageous friends. All they want is what any loving couple wants. To protect their relationship and each other.

    • BDK

      It may be ridiculous to have to fly to another state but that’s the law, isn’t it? If you don’t like the law then do what you can to have it changed.

      Personally when I first read this story I had to ask if any common sense was involved.

  • Tom

    It’s an interesting legal argument. I would imagine someone has been married over the phone before, just as I’m sure many contracts have been completed over the phone. There may be case law regarding the completion of a contract that is valid in one location, and not in another.

    Best of luck guys!

  • Hemroidious

    And such a cute couple too!

  • Tom

    I think this issue was decided in the Bible, and then by common law, and then by both federal and state statute! If they want to be married, they need to move to one of the parts of the country where the legislators or courts have been so misled as to allow this. Then, if they want it to be legal, at least in the eyes of the particular state, they have to stay there. THIS IS NOT NEWSWORTHY!

  • Sshsearching

    This state allowed a cosmonaut to marry his bride while he was in orbit in 2003. I don’t see this situation as being any different.

  • Hemroidious

    I can’t help to keep looking at their mouths….I don’t know why.

    • Hemroidious


  • http://www.online-fashion.org/town-clerk-arrested-in-marriage-license-dispute/ Online Fashion » Town Clerk Arrested In Marriage License Dispute

    […] Read more on CBS 11 Dallas – Fort Worth […]

  • Hemroidious

    Please take their picture off the site!

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