Lavender marriage is a term coined to describe a marriage between a man and a woman in which one, or both, parties are homosexual. Usually, but not always, both parties are assumed to be complicit in a public deception to hide their homosexuality. If one party is straight, they are referred to as the beard.
Although there have been a number of prominent lavender marriages in history, the phrase itself came into colloquial use during the 1920s, when the imposition of morality clauses into the contracts of Hollywood actors caused some homosexual stars to enter into marriages of convenience to protect their public reputations, and preserve their careers. The destruction of the career of MGM actor William Haines, who refused to end his relationship with his male partner Jimmy Shields, and enter into a marriage at MGM's discretion, was said to have caused a spate of couples to seek refuge in marriage.
While the term has passed from modern usage, rumors that the practice still occurs to protect careers continue to surround some high profile celebrity couples.
Among the couples and individuals who have been reported or rumored to have entered "lavender marriages" are:
This article is based on "Lavender marriage" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lavender+marriage&action=history