National News

Pre-Civil War Newspaper Article Sheds Historical Perspective On Same-Sex Marriage

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The Transgender Foundation of America’s Transgender Archive, located in Houston, has uncovered an original 1846 American newspaper reporting on the “do- mestic co-partnership” of two Millerite women.

The Newark Daily Advertiser article reads: “. . . As we understand the story, it is Louisa and Sarah, both maiden ladies of no particular age, [who] became enamored of Mr. Miller’s doctrines, and embraced the theory of the speedy consumption of the world’s history. They subsequently fell in love with each other, and fearing that time would not afford them an opportunity of making any other disposition of their love, they entered into a domestic co-partnership, and took each other for better or for worse. Sarah was the richest, and physically the weakest. She had some property; and by mutual agreement she was to furnish the capitol, while Louisa was to do the housework; and the profits—that is, a home and a living as long as time and money should last—were to be divided between the two. . . .”

“The TG Archive was interested in this bit of history because marriage is one of our culture’s most powerful institutions for instill ing and enforcing cultural gender norms,” Cristan Williams, director of TFA, said.

The article further describes how the end of the world did not occur as Millerism, the forerunner to the Seventh Day Adventists faith, taught. It also reveals that Louisa left Sarah, and Sarah, being distraught, sought to have Louisa arrested by claiming that she had $40 of Sarah’s money.

Not only does this article seem to be one of the first known reports of “gay marriage” in America, it seems also to report on issues that arise from not having clear laws concerning dissolving a “domestic co-partnership,” Williams said.

The complete original 1846 newspaper is now available for review in the Transgender Archive located at the TFA Transgender Center, 713 Fargo. – Nancy Ford

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