Trend-watching, from today’s NY Times, “When the Bride Takes a Bride:” how same-sex couples are finding ways to celebrate without being forced into a straight couples’ mold. The piece opens with a pair of lesbians who didn’t like how their “wedding” and “honeymoon” went.
“On every level there was something lacking,” said Kirsten Palladino, who took Maria’s surname after their wedding in June 2009. “We didn’t see any couples like us. The language was all he and she, bride and groom, please your man.”
The Times (which, like another national paper, clearly wants this to be true) tells us same-sex weddings are on the increase, and the rest of the world is adapting.
But as more states legalize same-sex marriage, and the weddings take root in American culture, the marketplace is responding with a growing number of new companies, services and publications aimed directly at gay grooms and lesbian brides. Equally Wed, published in a state where same-sex marriage is outlawed, is among a crop of Web sites that are filling the void left by conventional bridal publications
Are same-sex “weddings” really taking root in our culture? To some extent, yes. While legal battles continue, this article tells us that 70% of daily papers “now carry same-sex wedding announcements.” The source for that was the not-terribly-objective Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Though the Times links only to GLAAD’s home page, supporting data (or something like it) can be found: a list of papers that say they would accept homosexual announcements. On the same page, though, with a bit of digging (and using recent figures on the total number of papers in America), one can also discover that 77% of newspapers have never done so. Is that a sign of a new movement “taking root”? Not much, but some. The Times has overplayed it, as usual, but still we ought to recognize it for what it is.
The article goes on to mention same-sex couples being featured on the Today show, “under pressure from gay rights groups.” Is something taking root or is it being forced upon us? Two bride’s magazines have recognized same-sex couples as part of their market, but
Both magazines played it straight, focusing on menus and decorations, with no mention beyond the obvious of the couples’ orientations…. because it must appeal to a broad base, Brides does not plan to spotlight same-sex weddings in any deliberate way or to document their sociological evolution.
That “broad base” represents that large part of American culture where SSM is not taking root, evidenced by most of the country’s opposition to it. The Times’s language on that is interesting, to say the least:
Equally Wed, published in a state where same-sex marriage is outlawed, is among a crop of Web sites that are filling the void left by conventional bridal publications.
“Outlawed,” it says. Where I live in Virginia, bank robbery and kidnapping and burglary are outlawed. You can go to jail for those kinds of things. SSM is simply not recognized; it doesn’t happen. “Outlawed” is inaccurate and tendentious. Once again, our “paper of record” shows us how it’s done. (This is not the first time this has come up.)
Part of what seems to be taking root, though, is a kind of outlaw mentality.
It is not lost on the Palladinos that despite the assertion in their publication’s name, they were wed and continue to live in one of the 41 states that prohibit same-sex marriage. But it is the very absence of state approval, they said, that made their own vows so meaningful and inspired the spirit of their magazine….
Equally Wed can seem driven by conflicting impulses. On the one hand, it is devoted to making same-sex weddings seem ordinary, providing the same obsessive attention to floral arrangement and cake design as bridal magazines. On the other, it celebrates the distinctive, norm-flouting nature of gay unions and guides participants through their specific challenges….
“There are no rules,” Kirsten Palladino said. “We can look to the history of straight weddings and take what we want and leave what we don’t.”
No rules? I want to take that and run with that a bit, since it has to do with the subtext coursing through this and most other reporting on SSM. What about the rule that tells the rest of us we need to accept all this as right and proper? There are rules we’re expected to follow, though they come out of a no-rules relativistic culture; the main one being that we must toe GLAAD’s and the Times’s line on this. SSM is on the rise, and if in moral relativism there are no rules, it follows that there are no rules against SSM. But because there are no rules, and thus there are no rules against SSM, apparently they think it follows that there is a rule against believing there’s a rule against it.
These are some of the recent trends.
Cross-posted at First Things: Evangel