B-117383, JANUARY 26, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 305

B-117383: Jan 26, 1954

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- WHO WAS MARRIED BY PROXY IN MEXICO. WHERE PROXY MARRIAGES ARE VALID. THERE WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE YOUR LETTER OF THE SAME DATE REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON A VOUCHER. THAT THE DECEDENT WAS MARRIED TO JO ANN SUTTERFIELD. WHERE PROXY MARRIAGES ARE RECOGNIZED. 96): A MARRIAGE IS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS VALID IN ANY STATE IF IT WAS VALID IN THE STATE WHERE IT WAS CELEBRATED. THIS RULE IS FOLLOWED IN BOTH CALIFORNIA AND TEXAS. APPELLEE'S PROXY MARRIAGE WOULD THEREFORE BE RECOGNIZED AS VALID IN EITHER STATE IF IT WAS VALIDLY CELEBRATED UNDER THE MARRIAGE LAWS OF NEVADA. AT LEAST UNLESS PROXY MARRIAGES ARE STRONGLY IN CONFLICT WITH SOME AFFIRMATIVE POLICY OF CALIFORNIA OR TEXAS.

B-117383, JANUARY 26, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 305

GRATUITIES - SIX MONTHS' DEATH - PROXY MARRIAGES - RECOGNITION BY OTHER STATES THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY MAY BE PAID TO THE NON-DESIGNATED WIDOW OF A SERVICEMAN--- RESIDENT OF CALIFORNIA--- WHO WAS MARRIED BY PROXY IN MEXICO, WHERE PROXY MARRIAGES ARE VALID, IN THE ABSENCE OF A RULING OF THE CALIFORNIA COURTS ON THE VALIDITY OF PROXY MARRIAGES PERFORMED IN A STATE RECOGNIZING SUCH MARRIAGES.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO CAPTAIN J. M. WEIDNER, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, JANUARY 26, 1954:

BY FIRST ENDORSEMENT OF OCTOBER 8, 1953, OF THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS ( CAC), THERE WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE YOUR LETTER OF THE SAME DATE REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON A VOUCHER, TRANSMITTED THEREWITH, COVERING THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY IN THE CASE OF GERALD J. CARMICHAEL, LATE PRIVATE, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, THE VOUCHER BEING STATED IN FAVOR OF JO ANN CARMICHAEL AS " NON- DESIGNATED WIDOW.'

IT APPEARS THAT THE DECEDENT, A RESIDENT OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UPON HIS ENTRY INTO THE MARINE CORPS ON APRIL 30, 1951, DESIGNATED WILMA IRENE CARMICHAEL, HIS MOTHER, AS DEPENDENT RELATIVE FOR PAYMENT OF THE GRATUITY; THAT THE DECEDENT WAS MARRIED TO JO ANN SUTTERFIELD, A RESIDENT OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, ON AUGUST 27, 1951, IN THE CITY OF TLAQUILTENANGO, STATE OF MORELOS, UNITED MEXICAN STATES, WHERE PROXY MARRIAGES ARE RECOGNIZED, EACH OF THEM BEING REPRESENTED BY THEIR RESPECTIVE ATTORNEYS; AND THAT THEREAFTER THEY LIVED TOGETHER AS HUSBAND AND WIFE IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNTIL THE DECEDENT'S TRANSFER OVERSEAS ON NOVEMBER 25, 1951.

IN BARRONS V. UNITED STATES, 191 F.2D 92, THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT UPHELD THE VALIDITY OF A PROXY MARRIAGE IN NEVADA BETWEEN A WOMAN IN NEVADA AND AN ARMY OFFICER, THE LATTER BEING A RESIDENT OF CALIFORNIA AND, AT THE TIME OF THE MARRIAGE, STATIONED IN SARDINIA. THE COURT, IN THE COURSE OF ITS OPINION, STATED (PP. 95, 96):

A MARRIAGE IS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS VALID IN ANY STATE IF IT WAS VALID IN THE STATE WHERE IT WAS CELEBRATED, AT LEAST UNLESS IT COLLIDES WITH SOME STRONG PUBLIC POLICY OF THE STATE OF RESIDENCE. THIS RULE IS FOLLOWED IN BOTH CALIFORNIA AND TEXAS. APPELLEE'S PROXY MARRIAGE WOULD THEREFORE BE RECOGNIZED AS VALID IN EITHER STATE IF IT WAS VALIDLY CELEBRATED UNDER THE MARRIAGE LAWS OF NEVADA, AT LEAST UNLESS PROXY MARRIAGES ARE STRONGLY IN CONFLICT WITH SOME AFFIRMATIVE POLICY OF CALIFORNIA OR TEXAS.

NO CALIFORNIA OR TEXAS CASE RELATING TO THE VALIDITY OF A PROXY MARRIAGE IN ANOTHER STATE HAS BEEN CALLED TO OUR ATTENTION. HOWEVER, IT IS CLEAR THERE EXISTS NO STRONG POLICY IN EITHER STATE OPPOSED TO SUCH MARRIAGES. THE MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP VALIDLY CREATED BY A PROXY CEREMONY IS IN NO WAY DIFFERENT FROM THE SAME RELATIONSHIP CREATED IN THE MORE USUAL MANNER; THERE IS NO ASPECT OF THE RELATIONSHIP COMPARABLE TO MARRIAGES DEEMED BIGAMOUS OR INCESTUOUS BY THE LAW OF THE STATE OF RESIDENCE. A PERSUASIVE INDICATION OF THE ABSENCE IN ANGLO-AMERICAN JURISDICTIONS OF A STRONG OBJECTION TO THE PRINCIPLE OF PROXY MARRIAGES IS THE FACT THAT IN SOME STATES, AT LEAST, AND PERHAPS IN TEXAS, SUCH MARRIAGES HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED UNDER THE LOCAL MARRIAGE LAWS, AS HEREINAFTER DISCUSSED. ALL STATES WHICH HAVE PASSED UPON THE QUESTION HAVE RECOGNIZED THE VALIDITY OF PROXY MARRIAGES VALIDLY PERFORMED ELSEWHERE. WE CONCLUDE THAT BOTH CALIFORNIA AND TEXAS WOULD RECOGNIZE THIS MARRIAGE, IF IT WAS VALIDLY CELEBRATED IN NEVADA.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, AND SINCE PROXY MARRIAGES ARE RECOGNIZED IN THE STATE OF MORELOS, UNITED MEXICAN STATES, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN GERALD J. CARMICHAEL AND JO ANN SUTTERFIELD WAS VALID. ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER IS AUTHORIZED, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.