Imagine not being able to make it to your ownwedding. Even weirder, imagine getting married over and over again at someone else's wedding. This is the daily life of Teresa and Tom Kennedy's because, in Montana, double-proxy weddings are completely legal.
Double-proxy weddings allow for both the bride and the groom to be absent from their own weddingswhile replacing themselves with stand-ins. The law was established in the 1800s to help miners get married without having to force their wives to make the long trek out to them. Tom stated:
All the women were on the east coast and it was not seen as proper to bring them to tough all-male mining communities to get married.
Tom and Teresa's business works a little like this: Tom usually conducts the ceremony while Teresa stands in for either the bride or groom (as same-sex marriage is legal) while a co-worker steps up to be the third participant.
It used to be that anyone in the world could get married this way in Montana, international romances could be made official without either person having to jump on a plane. However, ten years ago this rule changed and now at least one of the participants has to be a Montana resident or working in the armed forces.
The pair usually marry around 40 couples a month but the recent pandemic has seen their double-proxy marriage business soaring, marrying over 140 couples in April alone. This is because many workers in the armed forces, who would usually make their lifetime commitments on their days off, have been unable to leave their bases. Tom stated:
As a girlfriend or boyfriend of someone in the military, they hold no rights. But as a husband or wife, they benefit from all that goes with being in the forces. Everything from housing and health is taken care off, but crucially it allows couples to remain together wherever they are stationed throughout the world.