A proxy marriage is one in which a representative, known as a “proxy,” serves in place of either the bride or the groom. In a “single proxy marriage,” only either one of the bride or the groom (but not both) is absent from the proxy marriage ceremony, and is therefore represented by a proxy. Conversely, in a “double proxy marriage,” the bride and the groom are both absent from the proxy marriage ceremony, and each is therefore represented by a proxy; so there are two proxies (one representing the bride, and one representing the groom); thus: double proxy marriage.
The legal principle of comity applies to marriage law, and, as a consequence, U.S. law and the law of virtually all states and nations function such that a marriage, which is solemnized in accordance with the law of any respective state or nation, will be recognized by other states and nations, provided that doing so does not run strongly contrary to the public policy of state or nation which is granting recognition.
If this were not the case, then every time that a married couple crossed a state or international boundary, everybody would need to question if the boundary-crossing couple was still legally married. Of course, this would cause total mayhem and make interstate and international travel and immigration very difficult; which is precisely why, as a matter of course, every state and nation does recognize the legality of marriages which are solemnized in conformity with the laws of a different or foreign nation (unless doing so would seriously violate the public policy considerations of the state or nation granting legal recognition).
The only types of marriages which might run afoul of the aforestated “public policy” proscriptions are: underage marriage; marriage between close blood relatives; polygamist and polyandryist marriages (multiple wives or husbands), which are proscribed by the laws of most nations which are not Muslim or are not on the African continent; and same-sex marriage in those states and nations which have laws explicitly barring same-sex marriages. But, aside from these types of marriages, virtually all states and nations will recognize the legal validity of a marriage which is solemnized according to the law of a different state or nation. Again, if they didn’t due so, it would result in an interstate and international legal mess.
A proxy marriage, which is solemnized in any of the States of Montana, Colorado, Texas, or California, will be recognized, as being fully legal, by the U.S. Federal Government, including all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as by all U.S. states and territories (with Iowa requiring further perfection after the solemnization).
Provided that either the groom or the bride, or both, are actively enlisted in the U.S. Military, a couple who enters into a proxy marriage in any of these named states, may enroll in DEERS (the database whereby military benefits are allocated) immediately upon the solemnization of their proxy marriage, thus becoming immediately eligible to receive military marriage benefits.
It should be noted that while USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ) will recognize a proxy marriage as being a legal marriage immediately upon its solemnization, nevertheless, USCIS will not recognize a proxy marriage, for immigration purposes, until the proxy marriage is consummated after its solemnization (even though USCIS concurs that the proxy marriage is indeed a legal marriage ab initio). This caveat becomes of importance only in those instances in which a U.S. citizen marries a foreign citizen, and in which the foreign citizen intends to apply for a K-1 or K-3 Visa.
If you’re considering entering into a marriage by proxy (proxy marriage), then please call us, or e-mail us, for a free consultation.