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Get Married in Google Hangouts

Old laws allowing a couple to marry without both being in the same place is blossoming because of the Web

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For most people, marriage by proxy went the way of the sword and farthing-ale, but the Internet has made proxy marriage bloom.

    The phenomenon is being fueled by immigrant communities in the United States, according to the New York Times.  In the story, American citizen Punam Chowdhury married her Bangladeshi husband via Skype and with the blessing of her own imam in Jackson Heights mosque.

    Marriage by proxy, where only one member of the couple is present, is usually thought of as an ancient tradition -- something akin to a maiden kissing a knight's sword as proxy for her absent groom during the Crusades. The Internet and streaming video have changed all that.

    In the United States, most proxy marriages seem to occur because one member of the union is on military deployment. Only a few states, among them California, Montana and Texas, allow proxy marriages to occur.

    The rise seen in immigrant communities is based on the idea that proxy marriage is blessed by the Koran. “After all these advancements in technology and all kinds of telecommunication tools, scholars came to the conclusion that it is acceptable,” the imam Shamsi Ali, of the Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens, told the Times. “Skype is making it easier. . . . These days you have Google Hangouts, too.” 

    Montana is the only state where both parties don't have to be present to be married,  a so-called double-proxy marriage. However, the state recently passed a law that it can only be applied to Montana residents or active members of the military. 
    Marriage isn't to be entered into marriage lightly, but for many immigrant communities where proxy marriage isn't uncommon, the Internet simply replaces an older technology -- the telephone.