Breaking Glass

Conquering History

I recently obtained a copy of a British newspaper published in 2025, which discussed the country’s favorite television program in that year.  The reviewer gives a crisp summary of the latest incarnation of Downton Abbey, and the episode in question is a crowd-pleaser.  Everything is bustling in the historic English mansion in 1925, as butlers, cooks, and maids prepare for the long-awaited day when Lord Michael will marry his beloved fiancé, Sir David Fitzwalter.  Oh, the romance, the humor, and all the last-minute crises!  The actual wedding, at the cathedral high altar, represents Anglican liturgy at its most glorious.

Regrettably, notes the reviewer, some hate-filled old fogeys have felt the need to blight the day by protesting that same-sex marriage did not actually exist in the 1920’s in England, or indeed anywhere on the planet.  Nor did the Church of England ever approve such a thing in that era.  The show’s producers have responded lightly to the nitpickers, saying that perhaps they have also taken liberties with the exact model and color of the limousine, as if such trivia really mattered to nonspecialists.

More substantially, mainstream academics have responded sharply to the naysayers, pointing out how wildly their homophobic views contradicted the mass of recent historical findings about the lengthy history of same-sex marriage throughout the civilized...

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