A Local Habitation and a Name

1.

When Hannah Shipman and Marie Ward decided to be among the first to avail themselves of the Supreme Court’s ruling about same-sex marriage, Marie’s father, a devout Catholic, refused to have any part in it or even to acknowledge it. In fact, he would have nothing more to do with Marie, since she was defying all the years of growing up in his house. From the minute the marriage was official, he said, she would be dead to him. He used that phrase in a level, low, fiercely disdainful tone, and then almost immediately apologized, nearly in tears—you could hear it over the phone—begging her forgiveness. But in the end he was unable to accept the fact of the marriage, and Marie was therefore exiled, as it were, consigned to outer darkness, like Cordelia in the old play. No phone calls answered or returned, no communications of any sort acknowledged, and that was that. In the first few weeks Marie, with her customary wit, called herself Cordelia, and Hannah her French King; Nashville she said, was France, and France was across the “channel”: 212 miles of asphalt (Route 40 West). But as the banishment continued, she dropped the conceit.

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