If you look at the requirements of marriage in Anglo-American law, they used to call what was “announcing the banns.” I don’t know if you are familiar with that, but for four Sundays before the marriage, the minister with the church of England would say, “So and so are going to get married. ” And sometimes there were, because there were issues of bigamy or whatever, and people would come, and society was sort of able to police marriage in that way. But you’re right—it is a turn away from the public. It was very much of a social role that was specific to a given place and time in a given community.
Some states used to do that, and that it’s very pro forma to get a license.
I’m not going to ask your legal interpretation of my theory of performative utterances there. Steven Cherry: Well, maybe we’ll get to it then, but the whole intention thing seems less assured by phone or computer. And that’s one of the challenges that e-marriage or Skype marriage presents.
There is a whole regulatory body associated with marriage. We have seen a retreat from the regulatory oversight of marriage.
Steven Cherry: You mentioned a circumstance where a bride or groom just can’t get to the wedding, maybe one of them is in the hospital.
And Skype’s blog actually describes a marriage where the groom had to be in the hospital and the family went ahead with the big fancy wedding.
And historically it’s been done over the telegraph, it’s been done over the telephone, and now, quite logically and inevitably, it’s being done over Skype. So the general rule here is that a jurisdiction, whether that’s a state of the union or a foreign country, will recognize the marriage performed in another jurisdiction or country if it is valid under that country’s laws. So the offices that register marriage are often inconsistent in their application.