Legal or not, gay couples around the world have been getting married in creative ways forever. In celebration of that love, Google Hangouts has a new ad about one especially unique way it can be used: to have a wedding ceremony in a country where same-sex marriage isn’t legal, conducted via video call by someone in a country where it is.
Though such a ceremony would be only symbolic in countries where marriage equality is not recognized regardless of where the wedding was held, including the United States, for those whose countries do recognize them, having their ceremony online might mean the difference between having to save up for years to be able to make the trip—or never being able to be legally wed at all.
Most video calls can only manage a one-to-one connection, but as the accompanying text for the ad on YouTube explains, Google Hangouts is different: “a unique technology allowing 10 people to be on a video call simultaneously. We wanted to put Google +’s hangouts at the service of a greater cause—the most debated issue in France at the time: same-sex marriage.”
To that end, Google says, “We partnered with the association “Tous Unis Pour l’Egalité” and created the first social same-sex marriage. We made it possible for French gay couples to get married [before their marriage equality bill passed]in France via Hangout, with a Mayor from Belgium where same-sex marriage is law.”
The ad opens with an older couple, Jacques and Pierre; a voiceover begins (in French), “We met in 1976. We’ve been together for almost 40 years, and we’ve seen things change for the better. But one thing in France has stayed the same. The lack of recognition of our relationship and our love for one another. We’re not young anymore, we haven’t got 20 years ahead of us, and same-sex marriage is still not legal… Then one day, the phone rings… and we hear some news: ‘Actually, there is a way to get married in France, by a Belgian mayor… because in Belgium same-sex marriage is legal.’”
The video cuts to a clip of a news show, where the anchors are explaining that “French gay couples can at last get married… on Google Plus. An association called ‘Tous Unis Pour l’Egalité’ (Together for Equality) organizes these events. Since a French mayor does not have the right to perform the ceremony, a Belgian mayor in the city of Marchin performs the ceremony.”
The video goes on to show multiple same-sex couples getting married; in addition to the Belgian mayor officiating, the screen displays multiple other people in as many locations. Google’s commentary below the video explains, “The ceremony was witnessed online by family and friends and broadcasted live on YouTube for the whole world to see.”
It goes on to clarify, “Since we did this operation, the law is passed in France. It’s now possible for same sex couples to marry in France. But we still have a long way to go as we take this initiative further… If your country is still deliberating the Bill and the Law is not yet passed, please be in touch with us [at]firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will marry you, from France, live on the Internet via Google Hangouts.”
The video ends on the line, “In these debates we talk a lot about Equality, we talk a lot about Liberty, but not enough about Brotherhood. Happiness is the only thing which grows when we share it.”