Two Grooms on a Cake: The Story of America’s First Gay Wedding

Little Bee. May 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499809565.
K-Gr 4–An iconic photo from the 1971 wedding of Michael McConnell and Jack Baker shows the men with their cake topped by two grooms. Those plastic figurines narrate this story about how two white men met, fell in love, and overcame obstacles to achieve the first same-sex marriage in the United States. Using the analogy of creating a wedding cake, the small figures gather and combine ingredients, bake the cake, and eventually frost and decorate it. At times the cartoon illustrations seem forced as the tiny grooms dance along the tines of a whisk or stand beneath a sugar shower in a mixing bowl. The illustrations of humans feature 1970s colors, patterns, and fashions, including polyester suits and wedding headbands. Both story lines emphasize the patience and persistence involved in the processes. Fifty years later the couple still lives in Minnesota as both Cathro’s illustrations and actual photos highlight. An extensive author’s note explains how the men obtained a license and married legally long before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 2015 ruling on marriage equality. A detailed time line notes various state and federal laws and court decisions along the way.
VERDICT This creative presentation of a little-known historic event introduces young readers to the topic of marriage equality. A good choice to foster diversity and inclusion.

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