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Joel Derfner: Lawfully Wedded Husband

Joel Derfner: Lawfully Wedded Husband

How My Gay Marriage Will Save the American Family. USA 2013, 248 pp., hardback, € 26.95
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University of Wisconsin Press
When Joel Derfner's boyfriend proposed to him, there was nowhere in America the two could legally marry. That changed quickly, however, and before long the two were on what they expected to be a rollicking journey to married bliss. What they didn't realize was that, along the way, they would confront not just the dilemmas every couple faces on the way to the altar - what kind of ceremony would they have? what would they wear? did they have to invite Great Aunt Sophie? - but also questions about what a relationship can and can't do, the definition of marriage, and, ultimately, what makes a family. Add to the mix a reality show whose director forces them to keep signing and notarizing applications for a wedding license until the cameraman gets a shot she likes, a family marriage history that includes adulterers, arms smugglers, and poisoners, and discussions of civil rights, Sophocles, racism, grammar, and homemade Ouija boards - coupled with Derfner's gift for getting in his own way - and what results is a story not just of gay marriage and the American family but of what it means to be human.
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