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Dallas Same-Sex Skype Marriage Nullified By Marriage Bureau

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News
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Mark Reed and Dante Walkup (right) who used SKYPE during a wedding ceremony in Texas.

Mark Reed and Dante Walkup (right) who used SKYPE during a wedding ceremony in Texas.

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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.

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