10 Amazing Same-Sex Couples In Books That Make Us Believe In The Power Of Love
Well, we've just heard the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage that we have been waiting patiently (read: increasingly impatiently) for since April, and really, way before — and it's GREAT NEWS. In the landmark Supreme Court case, justices have struck down an existing ban on same-sex marriage in the remaining 14 U.S. states that have the amendment, including the four directly involved in the case: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Essentially, same-sex marriage is now legal across all 50 states, so get out your air horns.
But this isn't just about marriage. The ruling now allows same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples when it comes to crucial things such as hospital visitation rights, tax benefits, adoption, and much more. It's incredibly exciting, and it's finally time.
There are so many ways to celebrate this life-changing SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling, but here on Bustle Books, we're turning to... books, of course! Let's raise a glass to 10 of our favorite same-sex couples across literature, from classic to contemporary, adult fiction to YA. Wedding bells for these pairs, anyone?
Aristotle Mendoza & Dante Quintana in Benjamin Alire Sáenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aristotle and Dante initially bond over their similarly classic names, but by the end, their relationship is all about being open and uniquely themselves without shame. It's a unique kind of relationship, especially for teenagers and especially in 1987, that allows for this kind of freedom, both in sexuality and in spirit. The two boys won over the hearts of basically everyone (except of course the book banners) when it was published in 2012, and I have a feeling they'll live on for many years to come.
Liza Winthrop & Annie Kenyon in Nancy Garden's Anne on My Mind
Liza and Annie are in the hall of fame of couples, and not only because they were revolutionary in young adult publishing at the time in 1982. The two young women are from vastly different worlds, but that doesn't stop them from falling in love, against the wishes of basically all the adults around them. Despite everything — and everyone — against them, including the headmistress of their school, the two love each other (and themselves) enough to fight for their relationship and their right to have it.
Maurice Hall & Alec Scudder in E.M. Forster's Maurice
Allegedly, Forster based his love story on his friend and poet Edward Carpenter and his partner, George Merrill. And if that's true, those two have one passionate love story. And hello, (spoiler!) happy ending. You have to hand it to Forster for publishing a same-sex, happy-ending romance in 1971, though he did state that he wanted to publish it after his death because he was aware that it would be controversial.
Ennis del Mar & Jack Twist in Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain should need no introduction — it's an Oscar-winning movie after all, and it's so embedded into our pop culture that it's hard to miss. However, you still need to read Annie Proulx's original short story about two closeted cowboys finding a real, long (but not long enough) love. If you don't love Jack and Ennis, you probably don't have a soul. No offense.
Penelope O’Grady & Cara Wall in Emma Donoghue's Hood
So maybe Penelope and Cara's relationship isn't exactly the most functional of relationships, what with all the cheating and secrets, but especially at the beginning you had to root for the two Irish teenagers finding love in a Dublin convent school. The story is told from Pen's perspective after the car crash death of her love Cara, as she's still closeted and living with Cara's father. Pen and Cara have the kind of love that's full of lust and passion, and it's a depiction of the nuances of a long-term relationship.
Therese Belivet & Carol Aird in Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt
The Price of Salt might currently be a little harder to find, as it's been pushed out of print and adopted by smaller publishing houses and booksellers (also it sometimes goes by the title Carol), but I suspect that soon will not be the case. It's on its way to theaters with a movie adaptation starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in the lead roles. The 1952 romance novel probably still stands as one of the most optimistic, yet realistic, lesbian relationships in literature, especially for its era. It's a true love story as Therese and Carol evade private investigators seeking to "out" them (seriously!) and actually have a possibility of a happily ever after they deserve.
Charles Ryder & Sebastian Flyte in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited
Depending on how you interpret Evelyn Waugh's classic Brideshead Revisited , Sebastian and Charles are in a romantic relationship or they're just really, really (really, really) close friends who define each other for life. I, at the very least, lean toward the former, but no matter what, you cannot deny that the two men have some serious chemistry. And it's their love story (whether romantic or platonic) that drives the entire novel, as it zig zags and escalates and falls. They're one of the most compelling couples ever in literature. I mean, we're still reading and making adaptation after adaptation of it after 70 years, aren't we?
Paul & Noah in David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy
What's so incredible about Paul and Noah is that David Levithan has created for the couple an idealized world where LGBTQ teenagers are not treated with bullying, hatred, fear, or anger. They just exist, same as everyone else. As Levithan writes in the book, "There isn’t really a gay scene or a straight scene in our town. They got all mixed up a while back, which I think is for the best." And so, Levithan can tell a coming-of-age love story minus the trappings of the actual "coming out" and just engage with the characters as characters, as people. It's wholly refreshing and makes for a seriously great romantic comedy.
Clarissa Dalloway & Sally Seton in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
OK, I know. The titular Mrs. Dalloway and Sally are never truly a couple in Virginia Woolf's novel, but they do have a romantic history — a kiss shared decades earlier — and it's hard not to root for Clarissa to leave her boring husband and run away with her friend Sally. There's some seriously great flirtation and they definitely have the chemistry, so maybe in the collective Mrs. Dalloway of our minds, they're living happily ever after somewhere.
Kaede and Taisin in Malinda Lo's Huntress
You could pretty much read any Malinda Lo book for some great, well-rounded LGBTQ characters who aren't defined by their sexual orientation. I'm partial to Kaede and Taisin because they seem to be complete equals in their partnership (despite Taisin having the magic Kaede does not), whether it's working together or romantically. The two young women are strong, brave, and cunning, making for a well-matched, memorable couple that shines through in this fantasy story.