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eMarriage License Proposal Could Change Geography of Same-Sex Marriage

December 14, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

emarriageAdam Candeub and Mae Kuykendall are law professors at Michigan State University in Lansing.  The two have been researching an interesting new way for states to issue marriage license.  They’ve proposed that states allow people to apply for marriage licenses online, dubbing the proposal “eMarriage.”  Candeub told NPR:

What we’re arguing for is that states should formalize in their laws what they’ve always been doing in smaller degrees in specific areas, which is, allow people outside their states to use their laws.

The proposal would allow couples in any state the ability to go online and download their new marriage license from a state which recognizes same-sex marriage and prevent the unnecessary costs and expenses associated with same-sex marriage tourism.  In that, lies the problem for Christopher Diebel, founder of MyIowaGayWedding.com, and others using same-sex marriage laws in their states to corner the market. According to Mr. Diebel:

Those of us that are involved in that industry are certainly going to want to protect our investments and the business that comes to our state.  And frankly, we would all believe that our state deserves to have that income brought into it for being at the forefront of this fight and leading the way.

Same-sex marriage advocates have often invoked the argument at the state level that recognition of such marriages would result in a “tourism” market and bring additional income to the area.  The proposal by Candeub and Kuykendall, if successful, would effectively make the argument moot; however, the debate of the issue certainly lends credibility to the argument that same-sex marriage is a money maker for states.

The proposal is still being tweaked; however, according to Candeub and Kuykendall, it is gaining momentum.  The duo are prepared to advise any legislator about the process in an effort to “extract their state from the culture wars of same-sex marriage.”

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3 Comments to “eMarriage License Proposal Could Change Geography of Same-Sex Marriage”


  1. I support extending marital rights to same-sex couples in any possible way. However, I do not see how an on-line marriage license would help. A license to marry is not the same as being married or getting married. The couple would still have to travel to the state that issued the license in order to actually get married. It might save some bureaucratic hassle but not the time and expense of your plane tickets and hotel rooms.

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    • Hi: I just noticed this comment. It shows the strength of the geographic assumption. The e-marriage proposal is to allow people to use a state's marrriage license without traveling tothe state. The state would both issue the license by distance communication, and provide a means for the couple to use the license outside the state. So the proposal absolutely would avoid the "time and expense of your plane tickets and hotel rooms." The details for any state would be provided by a new statute. It can take many forms.

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  2. As a person who performs marriages and issues marriage licenses for my county, I'm completely against any form of marriage license issuance and solemnization that does not occur in person. Marriage grants too many rights and responsibilities–including the right to say whether a person receives live-saving measures in a medical emergency–and the potential for fraud is too great. Marriage laws are a state matter anyway; it would be absurd to try to get all 50 states to adopt emarriage measures when the simpler (and more Constitutional) method would be to overturn DOMA.

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