A New Old Tradition

at 12:35 AM
Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

"Aquila non captat muscas." That's the Latin motto for the once medieval, very English Wadsworth clan that counts me as a modern family member. The motto anchors my ancestors' coat of arms; a blood red battle shield, marked with gold symbols representing the family's proud heritage. The Latin translates literally to "the eagle doesn't catch flies," which in everyday English basically means "big shots don't sweat the small stuff."  It's not the most dignified motto, but, hey, no one asked for my perspective 500 years ago.

Imagine, then, my glee in learning that the British College of Arms, which has set the rules for heraldry since 1484, recently updated its laws to allow married same-sex couples to create their own coat of arms by combining both partners' family symbols into a single shield and motto. Who says tradition can't catch up with the modern family? And, finally, a good reason to marry my partner of 21 years - a new and improved family motto.

His Scottish ancestors had their own noble mission statement: "Honor is acquired by virtue." It's hard to argue with that. Even if joining our families might take some work, mixing our mottos with those building blocks would be fuss free.

I set my mind on eagles, flies and honor, and a simple, timeless truth floated from my lips: "The eagle flies with honor." I thought again. Sure, it's dignified, but maybe a little last century . . . and maybe better as a frequent flier ad.

Our non-traditional family needs a motto with a progressive edge. And then it hit me: "Gay eagles fly with honor." Now that's moving truth forward. And on the shield, two eagles in flight, wing tips touching,  in a kind of Michael-Sam-and-his-boyfriend moment.


Sure, we may get some disapproving tweets. And Donald Trump may criticize our touching eagles as "pretty out there." But that's okay. Gay eagles don't sweat the small stuff. Oh, wait...

With a Perspective, I'm Clyde Wadsworth.

Clyde Wadsworth is an attorney practicing business and civil rights law.