Mark and Dante Walkup’s wedding ceremony that took place over Skype has been declared invalid by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The two were married at the W Dallas Victory hotel and it was officiated through a Skype teleconference from Washington D.C. They received their license in the mail shortly after. They had it done this since way since the state of Texas banned same-sex marriages.
Mark said the invalid wedding news was a “sucker punch.” The two were “shocked and devastated” by a letter that arrived at their house from the Superior Court. It was addressed to the officiant of the wedding Reverend Sheila Alexander-Reid. The marriage was invalid since the Walkups and the Reverend were not physically present in D.C. at the same time during the ceremony.
Below is an excerpt from the letter:
“The return is invalid because it has come to the attention of the court that the subject contracting parties to the marriage and you, the officiant, did not all personally participate in a marriage ceremony performed within the jurisdictional and territorial limits of the District of Columbia.”
All of the parties will need to return to D.C. and perform the ceremony again in order for the marriage to be considered legal. When visiting D.C. in May, the Walkups had asked a clerk and a supervisor whether the Skype wedding would count and they said yes. “[Courts] don’t flyspeck other people’s marriages,” stated Michigan State University College of Law Professor Mae Kuykendall. “It’s fairly extraordinary for the court to have taken action adverse to Dante and Mark’s interests based on something they read in the paper without advising them they were contemplating doing so.”