College of Arms issues rules for managing coats of arms in same-sex marriages

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Rule 1: The more Tom Bombadils the better.


the College of Arms has you covered!

Thank Dog for that!


Yay! Finally I can get same-sex married with that troublesome fundamental issue sorted out!


Well, it’s nice to be seen. I guess I grew up in a time when gay people were invisible, so even when an institution I regard as a little silly says “oh, hey, gay people exist and that’s not a problem,” I feel a bit of happiness. And I could use all the happiness I can get today, so I’m going to be low on snark-juice.


If you believe that God has imbued your blood with special zoomph, thus ennobling you

Whoa there’s no call for that. Arms are cool, and you don’t have to be titled to have them. Although, according to the College of Arms, you should use a helm appropriate to your rank in your full achievement of arms–for a normal person this would usually be a left-facing closed steel helmet. It could also be a space helmet, gimp mask or whatever, as long as it isn’t facing forward (which is for knights and barons), or barred and/or emerging from a crown (for royalty). I believe there is some other thing for clergy.

And it’s not like the College of Arms can arrest you anyway.


An institution that pretty much epitomizes the whole stuffed-shirt, upper-crust nobility bullshit showing that even the most archaic and staid of traditions can be open and flexible to change.

Brought a smile to my face anyway.


Agreed. Although has historically been on the damned unfriendly side of the issue.

So this is nice.


"If you believe that God has imbued your blood with special zoomph, thus ennobling you… "

Gee, Mr. Doctorow and M_M, that is just the teeniest bit snarky. Even though as an amatuer genealogist and heraldist, I really want to reiterate what Bobtato has already pointed out; having and using a coat of arms in no way implies that you are nobility, nor even gentry. And it certainly does not prove (or even imply) that your blood has any more zoomph than anyone else’s. It’s just a nice way to show your pride in your family, heritage, and tradition. I’d also like to throw in that much heraldic art today is really rather beautiful.
I does give me an extra grin that you chose the arms of the Duke of Edinburgh for the illustration. Prince Philip has never struck me as the most rainbow-friendly royal. It was for the nearly naked men, I imagine. Thought just to be really picky about it there should only be the one. Thank you, I really needed a smile in these last few days.
The arms of the Kingdom of Prussia (you know, the Kaiser of WWI fame) also has the wild men (the guys in those prickly looking organic Speedos) but on both sides, and underneath a purple, ermined-lined canopy, no less. Nearly naked men AND drapes, how gay can you get!

BTW I think your writing is the greatest.

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A man who contracts a same-sex marriage may impale the arms of his husband with his own

Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?


If anyone is baffled by the buff dude, the link says it’s “a representation of Hercules girt about the loins with a lion skin, crowned with a chaplet of oak leaves, holding in the dexter hand a club Proper”. (To be clear, this image is altered and there’s only one in the actual coat of arms.)

It does not explain why he looks vaguely peeved. I imagine he’s thinking, “Ah, geez, look at that guy over there with his tongue hanging out; they just don’t make lions like they used to.”

Damn straight. And for Mr. Doctorow’s next post, I hope he covers the Catholic Church’s recent IETF RFC on the number of angels that can dance on the pins of a DE-15 VGA connector.


Pretty sure that most arms given out there days, in the UK at least (and I can’t see this having any bearing elsewhere) are for individual achievements. Sir Terry Pratchett etc.

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the arms of Pratchett.
note the open faced helm, as he was knighted

The motto reads
Don’t fear the reaper.

Supposedly the pattern on the arms is a morpork, thus ankh morpork, but the blazon does not contain this pun.

The Arms are blazoned: Sable an ankh between four Roundels in saltire each issuing Argent.

The Crest is Upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Sable On Water Barry wavy Sable Argent and Sable an Owl affronty wings displayed and inverted Or supporting thereby two closed Books erect Gules.


Sir Elton John’s Coat of Arms. I don’t think there’s a reference to his husband in it (yet).


I remember this was on Making Light when it was issued in March 2014…

You’d only have a reference to his husband in there if his husband also had a coat of arms, which as far as I know he doesn’t.

Although he is currently lobbying for the husbands of knights (and presumably also of Dames) to be given a courtesy title in the same way that the wife of a knight is Lady.


I think the morpork is the owl.


Our family crest is a wine goblet and the motto ‘As I Find It’. Seriously.


There are enduring rumours that he is, in fact, very friendly with gay people. I assumed that was why his was used.