Sharia Law, the law of Islam, allows for proxy marriage, a marriage where one party does not need to be present. In a proxy marriage, at least one person is represented by another party in order for the marriage ceremony and licensing to occur.
There are a number of reasons that proxy marriage is permitted. Gambia as one of the countries where proxy marriage is legal allows it because there are many arranged marriages in the country. In some cases, military duty, travel, and even imprisonment can help someone in Gambia get married with a proxy representative. They are the same reasons people use proxies in many countries where it is legal.
In the United States, proxy marriage is sometimes legal. This is a matter legislated by the states. It is currently legal in Montana, Texas, Colorado, and Kansas. Montana permits a proxy marriage where both parties can be represented by a proxy, and is the only state in the union to allow this.
This practice has been in effect in America since 1924, when a Portugal resident and a Pennsylvania resident got married under common law. The marriage occurred in the United States without the Portuguese woman who then immigrated to the country as a result. She would not have been permitted to enter the United States under any other reason, as she could not read, a requirement at the time for entry into America.
Elsewhere in the United States today, proxy marriage is most commonly used by people in the military. It is available in California, but only for marriages where one party is deployed. Most states in the United States will recognize a proxy marriage, even if they do not permit it.
In Germany, proxy marriages are not permitted to be performed, but the matter is binding. Germany refers to international law for this, and Germany will recognize the marriage as legal. Human rights prevail here, where Germany seeks to determine if the person that required a proxy permitted the marriage and chose the spouse themselves. If not, the marriage may not be recognized in Germany.
In the United Kingdom, proxy marriages are generally not legal but they will be recognized and will come under scrutiny. The United Kingdom does have a problem with spouses who claim proxy marriage. The United Kingdom has had some issue historically with marriages that were scams in order to secure government benefits or European citizenship. Scotland does not believe that a proxy marriage can be proven as a legal one, but Scotland and most other countries in the United Kingdom will allow for proxy marriage if it can be proven as a legal marriage.
Proxy Marriage Status
|Germany||Recognizes Proxy Marriages|
|Indonesia||Legal under Sharia law|
|Iran||Legal under Sharia law|
|Saudi Arabia||Muslims only|
|Sri Lanka||Muslims only|
|United Arab Emirates||Muslims only|
|United States||Legal in some states (Kansas, California, Colorado, Texas, and Montana)|
As long as the marriage is performed legally in the other country, a couple will still be considered legally married in the US.