On June 17, Blake Filley and Jeanette Winney were married in county Recorder-Clerk Bill Schultz’ office. But, it was Winney — now Jeanette Filley — and Sara Jamison saying “I do.”
Jamison, Jeanette’s best friend, was standing in for Blake, who is stationed with the Army at Kandahar Airbase in Afghanistan.
“An attorney-in-fact stands in for the groom,” Schultz said of the wedding. The process requires notaries or judge advocate generals, power of attorney, signatures and the attorney-in-fact, in this case Jamison for a day. “It’s the second we’ve done in a couple years, a year and a half,” he said. “Power of attorney marriages are illegal, but about four years ago, the state Legislature passed a resolution.” If one member is overseas in a war zone as part of the armed forces, the marriage can be done by proxy.
“We just wanted to do it. We love each other,” Jeanette said. It also helps with the housing situation and with their kids, she said. When Blake returns, they will try to get housing at a joint community for Fort Lewis and McCord Airbase in Washington, and being married moves them up the waiting list. It will also speed the matter of custody of Jeanette’s daughter, she said. She has full custody already, but needs permission to move her daughter out of state. “We wanted to get the ball rolling now,” she said.
Blake, from Washington, brought up the idea of a wedding by proxy, and she agreed. Jeanette, from Jackson, then asked Jamison to stand in for Blake. “I called her up and asked, ‘Will you be my fake husband for the day?” she laughed. Though they wanted to get married when he returned — they’ll exchange rings then — they found it better to do it sooner. So, with Jeanette’s sister Felicia as witness, the two married by proxy.
Schultz, the county marriage commissioner, said he was “tickled to do it,” knowing who to speak with regarding the legality and having been in the Navy himself. As Jeanette left his office to go sign more paperwork, he wished her — and her husband-by-proxy — a happy married life.
Blake still has a year and a half left in the service.