Additional Language Added to Same Sex Consort Proposal at BoD Meeting
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. 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 email@example.com with “Same-Gender Consort Proposal” in the subject line. Include your comments in the body of the message.
Could it instead say that
“No one may take part in the list as both competitor and also consort unless it is the same pairing.”
That would mean that Duchess Rowen would have been able to beat Duke Hector, because he was fighting for her and she was fighting for him.
An excellent suggestion. Don’t make it here. Make it to the board. 🙂
Isn’t that the current EK rule? I’d never heard of the situation where Lord A fights for Lady B who fights for Lord C. That seems tacky in the extreme (and Rule #0 of the SCA is “just don’t be tacky”) but, sadly, it doesn’t *surprise* me. We should encourage SCA-wide adoption of the EK practice. I will suggest: “No one may participate in the same Crown Tournament as both a Combattant and Consort except in a reciprocal pairing”.
One clarification. The comment period on the first proposed Corpora change ends December 1st. A decision on it will be made after the end of that comment period. The comment period on the second proposed Corpora change will be 90 days after the Board meeting. A decision on that proposed change will be made after the end of its comment period. Neither proposed change has been approved nor will a decision be made on any proposed change until the comment period for that particular proposed change is over. While the second proposed change is intended to work in conjunction with the first, the Board is simply floating the concepts and has made no decision. Commentary from the populace is actively encouraged.
Hmmm, after re-reading, I can’t remember if the comment period is 60 or 90 days. At any rate, decisions on the two proposed changes are not being made at the same time
Thank you Lisa! If you could let us know that would be great!
I think that same sex couples should be included in crown lists and the clarification that it must be a couple, 2 seperate people, is a very good addition.
I would agree only if the same restriction is placed on the hetrosexual members in the list.
As worded, the restriction *is* for hetero-consort couples as well. That sentence says “no one,” not “no same-sex couple.” It applies to every fighter and consort.
They are trying to eliminate two Duke males from gaming the system and fighting for each other, while allowing same sex consorts for the first time in 45 years.
I have no problem with being fair to all consorts, but I don’t feel that anyone should have to lose out to do so. Sir Gabriel fought for his wife and she for him for many crowns and it would suck greatly if couples or friends couldn’t do that at Crown to allow the plausibility of same sex consorts.
I am sure there is a way to word it without restrictions to ALL who wish to fight in Crown.
“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.”
As a female fighter, I take very strong offense to this concept. A girl fighter who can’t play with the boys shouldn’t be fighting.
It is not unusual for the SCA Board to simultaneously over-think things, and under-think things. 🙂
And I am particularly grateful that the Board seems to be moving in the direction of allowing inspirational equality, and I don’t want to lose sight of that. That is a pure and good thing that must continue.
I think the language can be made very simple: “Only pairs of individuals may enter Crown or Coronet list, and members of that pair may fight only on behalf of each other. Seated Crowns, Coronets or heirs to such thrones may not enter Crown or Coronet lists.” 
I think the so-called “Superduke” problem is not something that matters. If it turns out to matter, the Board can address it at a later time. We’ve already seen thrones traded back and forth between powerful and talented combatants, and we’ve seen what happens when a King and Prince are both members of a closely entwined household. These situations have both good and bad points.
 I recognize that my language may bar someone who is Prince/Princess of a principality within a Kingdom from fighting in the Crown Tournament for that Kingdom before their reign is through. Not having lived within a Principality of that sort, I don’t know if that is unacceptable. I’m OK in terms of arguments of “Fairness”, but as a practical matter: would that reduce the turnout for Coronet lists to an unacceptable level? I can’t say.
In the principalities of the Midrealm, if you are the Prince or Princess of a Principality, you are a member of the Royal Family within the Kingdom, and are barred from competeing in Crowns or Coronet tourneys until your reign is over. You cannot be both.
That is actually true throughout the Society, and is because of regulations that are elsewhere in Corpora. But I thought it would be worthwhile to repeat it near THIS piece of regulation.
“We don’t want to be seen as the oppressive government, but we’re going to pass regulations to discontinue a perfectly reasonable tradition that many of you hold dear to avoid a possible but unlikely and otherwise preventable problem.”
Perhaps if the BoD does not want to be seen as the oppressive overlords ruining everyone’s fun, they should not suggest making new rules that they know will provoke a reaction simply for the sake of provoking a reaction. There are more respectful ways of collecting the opinions of those whom you are overseeing.
As for the “daisy-chain of dukes,” I heartily second Tibor’s suggestion to make the regulation state that if both people want to fight, they must fight for each other, and not a third party. However, I honestly believe that this level of regulation could be safely left up to the Kingdoms themselves, who all have different rules about these things to begin with.
I would also like to point out that in the East and, as I understand it, many other Kingdoms, the Crown may bar anyone from entering Crown Tournament for any reason. I see no reason why that safe-guard would be any less effective in this situation than it has been in the past, which is to say, it is not perfect, but does help avert disaster.
That’s what I was thinking. Don’t all combatants have to be approved by TRM to compete in the first place? If so, why is there a serious concern about people gaming the system?
And for that matter, I don’t know a single so-called superduke who is not also a member of Chivalry. The idea of daisychain dukes seems about as far from the spirit of Chivalry in a tournament as you can get without actively kneecapping your opponents.
I would be against this additional wording. I think it would discourage participation of women in the list as most are statisticly less likely to win then their male counterpart and a pair who wish to perform service for their kingdom will of course do so with their most likely combatant. If the wording is intended to disallow daisy-chaining of participants then disallow diasy-chaining, not shared participation.
IMHO the liklihood of a chain of male participants dominating the field is no more likely in a same-sex arangement then in a mixed sex sex arangement. So long as both reigning monarchs are prevented from competing in their own tourney for a successor, nothing can be achieved that couldn’t be achieved by multiple male combatants each fighting for seperate consorts.
I sent my comment to the BoD, but also wanted to share it here. I think the wording should be COMPLETELY gender neutral, ie,
Each competitor in a Royal List must be fighting for a consort who is acceptable to the current Crown.
I would rather let the crown regulate the entrants to Crown tourney with a sense of fair play than exclude fighters who wish to fight for each other.
Whatever rules we set now are presumably going to last for a while. While I don’t think the super-duke problem is likely among any current dukes in my kingdom (mostly because those who know them better than I do say so), I don’t know what will happen in 10 years from now. Yes we have time to solve those problems then. That said, good analysis now may prevent unintended consequences later.
I worry that relying on the Royalty to preclude from Crown Tourney couples who are trying to game the system will seem personal. Say the king did bar from his tourney a particular pair for doing this. In the future this particular Count (the king who barred the system-gamers) may find that not only will those two gamers bar him from their tourney when they do eventually win crown (separately or together) but all from their household will do likewise. I’d hate to put that on one person’s shoulders.
It is a choice of competing evils.
But I’d ask you to consider: the rules that place the onus on Royalty to manage the entrants to Crown Tournament has been in place within the Society for decades, probably since Corpora was first really codified.
And, while individuals (including myself) might wish some individual decisions had gone differently at times, overall it seems to be working.
Why do you think that a theoretical future problem, such as a “SuperDuke” problem is harder to solve than some of the SCA-historic problems we have had and which we continue to survive? Different enough that we require a different sort of solution to it?
And, isn’t the inspirational equality problem equally well stated as “an accidental injustice created by fixed rules”, which any SuperDuke solution might also have?
The SCA has a terrible institutional problem with fixing speculative problems, whether in the Laws, or on the field, or…
This proposed “fix” will do REAL harm. It would necessarily remove current contenders from the list, all to combat an “evil” that has never even occurred.
The solution to that isn’t rules, it is correctly applied social pressure.
We already have a situation wherein it is perfectly possible to cheat. Yet, for all that, what cheaters we do have are pretty few and far between, and noteworthy.
It seems to me that this is a separate issue. The custom of a man and a woman fighting for each other is a long-established custom in at least some Kingdoms. In two cases, it has ended with the woman winning, once beating her husband in the final round.
The issue of same sex couples should NOT be used to end this custom. It would not only mitigate against same sex couples competeing, but it would also, as others have said, limit the opportunities for deservig female fighter from competing.
This is not only unfair, it is UNCHIVALROUS.
I find it personally insulting that the entire reason for proposed verbiage is to prevent Dukes from somehow rigging Crown.
The vast majority of us are Knights, and as such, we are supposed to be the pinnacles of honor and chivalry. Why do we need rules to keep the CHIVALRY from hypothetically being unchivalrous?
And who is to say it is unchivalrous?
At times, depending on the advocates point of view, this is a gay rights issue, at other times this is simply an inspirational issue.
If it is inspirational, and I am great friends with a fellow Duke, and we decide to fight for each other out of friendship, what great harm are we going to do to the Kingdom? Are we going to do more harm because we are not a gay couple? And if I cannot fight for my friend, does that mean I cannot fight for my female friend? That would invalidate my second reign, as well as many other reigns throught the life of the SCA.
This is a slippery slope.
Of small note: if Dukes decide they are going to win Crown, then generally, they are going to win Crown, and it doesn’t matter who they are fighting for.
I have never been a fan of the entire IE movement, but if we are going to change verbiage, then let it be this:
“All prospective combatants in a royal list must fight for the honor of someone who inspires them.”
Which, if you notice, leaves the tournament open for single combatants.
My wife does not really want to be Queen again, but as one who has stood by my side as I reigned with another, she won’t let me fight for anyone else. Why can I not fight without a consort and rule by myself?
There is certainly overwhelming historical precedence for it, and with the IE movement potentially winning it’s case, all gender specific roles and traditions (“Queens” Guard, “Queens” Tea, Queen Specific awards) will have to be completely revised or stricken from record.
Which, in effect, makes it a non point to even have a Queen.
In this case, why should I not be able to fight for the honor of my wife and the love of my Kingdom while ruling alone if I should win?
Think on that
Duke Phelan, the following is not carefully researched fact, but just opinion.
There are a number of arguments that people have advanced against the idea of same gender consorts. Some have greater merit than others. It is my opinion that the “SuperDuke” argument is largely fanciful, but is advanced on two sets of emotional grounds: that “Joe Fighter” could not stand against two mythical Dukes each fighting for power and glory, and that somehow contemplated change is going to make Crown Tournaments “less fair” in some way.
You are right that it is a base and unseemly assertion against Peers who have served and wish to serve again, but I don’t think it is a “serious” argument. But it is of a piece with other arguments about “if you change things, they’ll axiomatically be unfair”. And, perhaps you’ll admit that it’s flattering to be part of a legend of invincibility? 🙂 But you are also correct that it slanders all truly prieux combatants.
The slander is not the reason it shouldn’t be taken seriously. It shouldn’t be taken seriously because it is not a serious position: it’s an emotional one.
Having said that, I’d like to suggest that your parallel proposal (reigning alone) is not under consideration at this time, and that it is unlikely for the Board to consider two large changes at once when it has its hands full with one. Best, probably, to let this situation die down before trying to raise a whole new fundamental change.