Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Older Boston Marriage

The euphemistic Boston Marriage received new life a few years ago in a David Mamet play of the same name. Historians, sociologists and others may find irony in the current same-sex marriage trends in Massachusetts.

Lesbian couples living together certainly did not start in May 2004. In my own childhood, I knew them and of them even in classic Southern cities such as Danville, Virginia, the last capital of the Confederacy (literally). Yet rather than a Santa Fe Marriage or a Danville Marriage, the unsanctioned same-sex unions apparently entered the language with the Massachusetts connection because one figured in Henry James' The Bostonians. That famous novel had a lesbian couple as its main characters, although by modern sexual and political standards it is quite tame.

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