Officials in the District of Columbia
have declared the high-tech marriage of a Dallas gay couple invalid.
Reed and Dante Walkup married earlier this month on the Internet
via a Skype call after a 10 year engagement. The Skype call
connected the couple to Sheila Alexander-Reid, who officiated their
wedding from the nation's capital. The city legalized gay marriage
Prior to the ceremony, the pair
traveled to D.C. to register their marriage, but they exchanged vows
in front of a 6-by-8 foot screen illuminated with the image from the
teleconference call in a Dallas hotel conference room. (A video of
the ceremony is embedded in the right panel of this page.)
The couple said they received a notice
in the mail last week stating that their high-tech marriage, known as
e-marriage, was not valid.
“It was extremely disappointing. We
were very depressed on Friday,” Mark
Reed-Walkup told gay weekly the Dallas Voice. “We felt
like we had covered our bases, and all of the media out there was
agreeing. No one was saying what we did wasn't legal, so we felt
very confident that we had succeeded, and so it really was a kick in
the stomach and it hurt.”
“Having that piece of paper that says
you're legally married really means a lot to a couple, at least it
did to us. It made a stronger emotional bond that we didn't expect.
That same emotional bond that we felt strengthened our relationship
was taken away on Friday.”
He added that the pair were considering
their legal options and remained committed to marrying in the
District of Columbia.
“I can only speculate that there was
somebody out there motivated by homophobia or politics or both that
wanted to see this marriage annulled and prevent other couples from
pursuing it,” he said.