April 24, 2024

There is a bill pending in Congress authored by Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo allowing the celebration of weddings via the Internet. House Bill 7042 or the Virtual Marriage Act was deliberated on first reading last week.
In coming up with the proposed law, Salo reasoned it is necessary, considering the disallowance of large crowds, counting among it religious events, which explicitly include weddings. He said his bill aims to contribute in lessening the convergence of people thereby limiting the spread of the Covid-19.
The purpose of the bill may be pure and noble. However, it cuts deeply into our religious beliefs that I doubt if it will ever see the light of day. For one, HB 7042 raises more questions than answers. For instance, does it mean that the husband and the wife can make their marriage vow online without the need for them to be at the same place? Can the affirmation of their vow be preset on tape? Or, will it only be the priest or preacher who will be online, with the groom and the bride inside the chapel or the church facing a screen? How will they cherish their first kiss as husband and wife, which, among wedded couples, is the most memorable? How long will the law last? Will it still apply even if there will no longer be a pandemic?
The Inter-Agency Task Force and the Department of Health have assured that with the arrival of a vaccine against the Covid-19, the acquired knowledge on how to cure the disease and how contamination can be prevented with the observation of minimum health protocols, the worst is behind us. If the worst is behind us, the Virtual Marriage Act may just end up as one of those inutile laws that wasted people’s money. As correctly observed by the CBCP: “Virtual weddings might become moot and academic because we will protect the sanctity and dignity of the sacrament.”
A virtual wedding is much like a proxy wedding. Only, instead of another person taking the place of a contracting party, it is a computer. A virtual wedding is like marrying a machine. If this will be allowed, think of the consequences that will happen next? There will be virtual baptisms,virtual burials,virtual anniversaries and oh yes, maybe, the newlyweds might as well also expect a virtual honeymoon. It is not only cheaper and convenient but less deadly and untiring. But if this is allowed, where is the fun to all of it? A wedding, much like a kiss, requires presence because no matter how fancy or rhetoric the act is described via computer images, people involved in it will never truly appreciate the passionate experience and meaningful happiness of it unless they actually and physically do it.
I think we have extended the use of virtual reality and exaggerated its applicability. Sure, we take advantage of technology and maximize its use for our benefit. I agree that in terms of meeting, hearing, tutoring, mentoring, teaching, or giving instructions, it is far-reaching. However, in terms of beliefs, emotions, and passions, there is nothing like a face-to-face interaction. There are certain aspects in our lives that are beyond the scope of computers. Among those is the miracle of marriage. It is a union between a man and a woman who are bound by love. Their union is never complete unless both of them feel and touch each other real time.