I’ve talked to the couple, their friends and family are there to bless the union, and, by the way, as far as I’m concerned, the attendees are doing the marrying.
I’m just sort of channeling their intentions, and they in turn are representing our society as a whole.
They delay marriage but they ended up having a child, and they realized the issues of who gets custody upon death are so complicated, and they spent so much time thinking about it, that they decided, “Oh, let’s just get married and make it simple.” So in many ways, e-marriage can help in the new needs of a globalized world. I’m not sure what my grandparents would have thought of a Skype marriage, but maybe my grandchildren will find in-person weddings as weird as vinyl records and telephone handsets.
Adam Candeub: Well, it could be a change, but again, you have to think about different ways of, one, making sure that people aren’t exploited and that indeed there is true consent.
I think it’s most precedent in the military, where you have to settle issues like survivorship benefits, but also in other circumstances, where just simply inheritance, or something has to be settled.
So to give you one example, I have friends who are German, and, of course, sophisticated Europeans.
It was a 500-person church wedding, I think, where the groom appears on a screen from the hospital, and that seems very different from a laptop in a living room with a bare minimum of witnesses.
Weddings are meant to be, if not a big thing, at least a public thing, aren’t they? And I mean, again, I think this is the development of a trend, a way toward a sort of social affirmation. I think it’s becoming a lot more diverse, different significances for different people, and in a way this is a natural extension of that trend.
They often assume that there’s a ceremony being performed and that everyone is present, but often there’s nothing explicit about that.
Because there’s nothing explicit, people can use telephones or they use Skype, and there’s a real legal issue whether that’s valid.
In a way, electronic marriage, or “e-marriage,” is the culmination of that trend toward a complete lack of oversight. So certainly there’s a question there, as you point out, of being able to ascertain intent, and that’s particularly important in immigration, where it could be another country—there’s real issues of taking advantage of women.
This is both an exciting development and a real challenge for society.
Proxy marriage actually has someone, a real live person, standing in for the bride or groom, generally requires a specific statutory permission, and if that’s not there, you can’t really perform a valid proxy marriage.