To mark the recent Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage in the United States, the Journal of American History and Oxford University Press have opened Rachel Hope Cleves’ March 2015 JAH article “‘What, Another Female Husband?: The Pre-History of Same-Sex Marriage in America” to the public. An abstract of the article follows:
Despite its centuries-long history in the United States, same-sex marriage is often treated as a new development in the arguments of both opponents and advocates of the cause. Examples from the past are seen as sui generis rather than constitutive of a minority tradition, in part because period accounts describe such marriages as impossible. Rachel Hope Cleves synthesizes incidents ranging from the sixteenth century through the twentieth century to argue that same-sex marriage was never impossible. Rather, she asserts that the rhetoric of impossibility served to acknowledge and accommodate exceptions to the rule while preserving the regulatory function of marriage.
Also check out Dr. Cleves’s interview for the JAH podcast about this piece.