Not this year, though. Oh, we've got a few little matrimonies coming, and the couples are exceptionally sweet this year. But the number seems awfully low. For a while, we couldn't figure out why. And then we started reading the newspapers, and the cartoon lightbulb went off over our tonsured head: It's the gays, by gum!
See, they're getting married now. Massachusetts will marry in-state couples, California will marry anybody, and a handful of other states (including us here in the Minor Outlying Islands) will recognize the deal as done.
But it's not just us Yanks, not by a long shot. The big news from what's left of Anglicanism this week is the marriage of The Rev. Dr. David Lord and The Rev. Peter Cowell, at St. Bartholomew the Great in London. All the press reports are using inverted commas -- you know, 'marriage,' 'wedding,' and so forth. One supposes they must, since this was, at least technically, the blessing of a civil union. (We occasionally do this for straight couples, who have been to City Hall, but later decide they want a church "wedding.") But except for pronouns, it is reported to have been the Prayer Book service, right down to "with my body I thee worship."
Needless to say, international Anglicanism -- getting into the spirit of this inverted-comma thing, we're going to start calling it the Anglican "Communion" -- is all atwitter. Howls are coming from every corner, although it is often difficult to tell whether they are gleeful or dolorous. The southern tier and its adherents will surely gain some momentum as a result of this, and the more extreme liberationists will no doubt claim a stupendous moral victory. But in fact, the south was in no danger of losing momentum and liberationism manages to find victory in every act of rebellion, including those which are utterly crushed. (Somebody, somewhere, considers Michael Servetus to be the victor in his struggle with Calvin. Despite that whole burned-alive thing). The same dynamic can be discerned, less easily perhaps, in US politics.
The only parties for whom this new wave of same-sex broom-jumping is not a victory are the moderates, especially those who have not yet put little marks around "Communion." The howls coming from Canterbury are of genuine pain, as the G.A.S. becomes daily more noxious. (That's Great Anglican Schism, and we won't define it again). We feel for the Archbishop, and for all the rest of those Anglicans (or Americans) who had been hoping to fence-sit for another generation, until none of this seemed quite so pressing, and then slowly adjust to times that had already changed.
But seriously, people. The cultural need and the theological arguments have both been accumulating for decades. Since 28 June 1969, to be precise, when a bunch of gay men and drag queens decided that they had a legal and moral right to sip their martoonies at the Stonewall Inn without police harassment. That's forty years next summer, or roughly since the next US president was still sleeping with a teddy bear. So a few states, and a few churches, have just figured out that if you sit on the fence long enough, people start to think you're just a scarecrow.
For more on this, click the link to read an essay by the Rev. Martin Dudley, who solemnized the Lord-Cowell nuptials. His apologia pro rite sua is worthwhile, even if we do cringe when he begins by proclaiming his own "robust" heterosexuality, and claiming the nickname "Dud the Stud." But the point to note here is that Dudley also presided at the first CofE wedding of a couple who had been previously divorced -- not so long ago, either. For most of our readers, the idea that this too was controversial will seem freakishly quaint.
So we at the Egg are neither surprised nor particularly emotional about these recent developments. At no point in our life, child or adult, did we not expect them. To us, and to most of our generation, they are no more remarkable than a woman running for president. The next generation or two, we gather, are already scratching their collective head and saying "Umm ... hasn't it always been done this way?"
But there is one catch. You see, brides are notoriously competitive. So our theory is that a lot of straight couples are holding off, waiting until the fuss is over so that people will pay attention to them (or specifically, to her) again. Truth is that the gays have raised the bar -- a fabulous service! St Martin the Great! International press coverage! How can modest little St. Dismas-by-the-Quickie-Mart and a misspelled blurb in the Peoria Star ever hope to compete? So although we can't prove it, our working theory is that those pesky gays, what with their their civil rights and religious observance, have conspired to keep straight people from tying the knot.
Which just proves that the US conservatives were right all along. Gay marriage really is a threat to non-gay marriage. It's just a theory, for now. We could be proven wrong if straight people ever start getting married again.