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Gay couple in dilemma after Skype wedding is declared invalid

December 2, 2010 - London

A gay couple, who tied the knot over the Internet to bypass state law, has been told their union is invalid because they were not present when the ceremony took place.

Mark and Dante Walkup became Internet sensations after they were married over Skype to avoid a ban on same-s*x unions in Texas.

But a letter they received last week from the Superior Court now states their union was invalid, because they and Reverend Sheila Alexander-Reid were not physically present in Washington D.C.

"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," the Daily Mail quoted the letter as reading.

The letter then advises the Walkups to return to D.C. to perform the ceremony again in person if they want their marriage to be considered legal.

The couple claim that when they visited a marriage bureau in D.C. in May to check whether they could get married over Skype, they were told the law only required the officiant to be in the district.

"In good faith, we planned our wedding accordingly because we thought we were talking to the experts," Mark told Unfair Park.

He was also angry after the court failed to give them any notice their licence was under review.

Dante Reed-Walkup said he believed the decision was politically motivated as a result of the publicity they received.

"It was based on homophobia or politics or both," he stated.

Professor Mae Kuykendall, at the University of Michigan, said 'there was simply no reason for the court to do something like this'.

"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," she stated.

The Walkups are now planning on finding out how to get legally married and taking legal advice on whether to fight the Superior Court ruling.


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