dot429 EXCLUSIVE by Xiaolu Ning – Reprinted with permission
When Mark Reed and Dante Walkup celebrated their wedding in an e-marriage ceremony on October 10, 2010, they thought they had uncovered a loophole in the laws that prohibit gay marriage. The ceremony, officiated by Washington, D.C. Reverend Sheila Alexander-Reid over Skype, took place in Texas and included over 80 guests.
Reed and Walkup had spent months researching the legality of an online marriage. Last year, they discovered a D.C. law dictating that only the officiant—and not the wedding party—is required to be present in D.C. during the solemnization of the ceremony. According to Reed, he and his partner filed for marriage and planned their wedding after they had verified this stipulation with D.C. court authorities.
The couple was shocked when they received a letter from a D.C. court last week informing them that while gay marriage is legal in D.C., their marriage was not because they had not been physically present in D.C. during the wedding. “We were stunned because the court had annulled our marriage without contacting us or our officiant,” Reed says. “There was a total lack of due process of law.”