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Late in the day on Saturday at the BoD meeting, the Vice Chair, Mark Faulcon, introduced a new piece of business, “Madam Chair,” he said addressing Leslie Vaughn, Baronessa Isabeau della Farfalla, “ I have some proposed language that I would like to send in conjunction with the most recent language about same sex couples competing in Crown lists out for comment.”

The most recent language that Mark Faulcon was referring to can be found on the Board of Director’s Page on the SCA.org website which says:

“In continuation of its investigation of the matter of same gender couples competing in Crown list, the Board is continuing its quest to solicit commentary on potential language changes to its governing documents regarding this issue.

Current language reads:

Each competitor in a Royal List must be fighting for a consort of the opposite gender.

New Proposed Language:

Each competitor in a Royal List must be fighting for a prospective consort of the opposite sex unless the Crown has elected to permit a competitor to fight for a prospective consort of the same sex.”

He looked up to make sure that he had everyone’s attention, and then continued with the additional change, “No one may take part in the list as both competitor and also consort.”  Upon request of the audience members, he repeated the sentence so we knew we heard it correctly.

After that the Board voted to add the sentence above to the language out for comment, which passed.  Please Note: The policy has not yet changed, the vote was merely to add the additional sentence to the existing sentence out for comment.

At the Easterners’ puzzled looks the board took a moment from their meeting to elaborate “We want our intent to be understood,” stated Lisa May, Countess Margaret ni Conner.  Mark Faulcon stated: “The board is responding to some members concern for the unintended consequences of the language that was worked out which would allow for same sex consorts.  The entire concept was to allow gay couples inspirational equality. The concern was, What if that is forgotten?  Using this additional restriction, Our hope is that does not allow that  inspirational loss to happen.  The LGBT community should be allowed to  participate in the fullest sense that the rest of the membership does.”

Countess Marguerite explained to the Board of Directors that the East has a strong tradition of two fighters fighting for each other, and that this proposed language change would eliminate that possibility.

Erik Langhans, Sir Modius von Mergentheim, the Society Seneschal noted that in some kingdoms a fighter  fights for their consort, but then their consort is not returning the honor, but fighting for a 3rd person.  Countess Marguerite said that kind of fighter consort “daisy chain” was not customary in the East. Sir Modius went on to explain that  the board were trying to be cautious about the same sex change to policy creating unintended consequences.  The Board stated that they are actively attempting to provoke a response by their use of language.  They want communication from membership on this topic.  They want to know, what other things can we gain by allowing or disallowing these changes?

John Fulton, Sir John the Bearkiller, later clarified with Baroness Leonete that part of the Board’s concern with the first draft of the language is that it might allow an already male dominated sport to exclude women more completely if two skilled heavy fighters decide to fight for each other. They are worried that in allowing new rights to couples who love and want to fight for their significant others, that they are going to discriminate against women as well.  Although this was not stated, the implication was that there could also be a ducal daisy chain of male warriors fighting for each other to guarantee a victory for someone in the chain.

The original corpora change is to benefit people who are in same sex relationships and want to fight for each other.  The additional sentence would be to limit the ability for fighters to be both combatant and consort. Under this proposed policy change Duchess Rowen would not have been able to beat Duke Hector to be Queen of Ansteorra by her own hand, since they were fighting for each other[1].  Unless Duke Hector ceded his place to her on the list and acted only as a consort, under this wording change, that piece of history would never have happened.

There is still time to comment on these changes, and the Board of Directors is actively looking for commentary.  Comments on the original, shorter wording are accepted until December 1, 2012.  There has been no word on whether that deadline would be extended with the addition of the new sentence to consider.  Commentary can be sent in an email to comments@sca.org with “Same-Gender Consort Proposal” in the subject line.  Include your comments in the body of the message.

[1] http://heraldry.ansteorra.org/OP/crown-roll.php