Where is the Obamas’ marriage certificate?

Easter is a classic time for weddings, and why not. I’m married, again (so far so very good). Some of you are married. Barack and Michelle Obama claim they were married:

on October 3, 1992 by Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois.

This isn’t proof, or even evidence. Consider these well-known facts:

  • The black family has disintegrated. Single mothers cohabit with a shifting cast of male drifters and criminals, financing their unplanned children from welfare. Barack Obama isn’t quite like that himself, but he was a community organiser among them, an advocate for these people. He must have absorbed their un-American values, if he didn’t share them already, as an East-Coast Harvard liberal elitist.
  • Reverend Wright: ’nuff said! The Rev. “God damn America” – would such a man bother with legal formalities?
  • President Obama supports gay so-called marriage [Update: in spite of unconvincing denials by librulls, see comments]. This shows that he has no commitment to real traditional American marriage, “as long as we both shall love” as the Bible says, somewhere.

Americans should demand that Barack and Michelle Obama produce their marriage certificate. Not a “certified copy”.

We want to see the original certificate: you know, the one with proper certificatey calligraphy and a seal and rolled up and tied with red ribbon: the one they give you at the time and you swear you won’t lose. Like the one Donald Trump released:

I bet you that the Obamas will refuse to produce a proper certificate, They will try and palm off on us a mere copy, printed out and stamped by some indifferent and probably corrupt official of Cook County, Illinois. Cook County! They’d issue one for Al Capone’s dog.
/wingnut

Now I can only ask this because I can show you mine and Lu’s.

This is a photograph of our page in the current marriage register of the Gibraltar Registry Office. It doesn’t have the signatures; the photo was taken before the ceremony, but I can supply five photos of me, Lu, our witnesses, and the registrar signing it afterwards.

Now that’s an original certificate: a page in a register that does not belong to me and Lu but to the state.

I will never see it again, and nor will you. The registers are kept in a secure room in the Registry Office. To have another look, we would have to ambush the harmless registrar soon on his unsuspecting way to marry another couple in a hotel and force him a gun- or knife-point to show us the book. As soon as the register is full, it will stay in the strongroom and we’d have to hire a team of bank robbers to break in.

The Registry Office naturally does not advertise its security arrangements. Since land is scarce in Gibraltar town, they may find it easier to keep their archives in the 50 miles of tunnels dug by British military engineers inside the Rock. These were carefully designed to resist attack by French navies, Spanish armies, Nazi paratroopers and in some cases Soviet atom bombs. Any vault inside would be out of reach of civilian talent; we’d have to hire ex-Spetsnaz or French Foreign Legion mercenaries. And even then success is far from assured: the local military are not some weekend militia but a a small regiment of serious professional soldiers, the British Army’s experts and training cadre for tunnel fighting. Doesn’t seem worth it, really.

In Britain, there is no private access to any register of births, marriages or deaths since the church registers were replaced by a civilian system in 1837. I mean this: you can ask for a copy of your great-great grandma’s certificate from 1842, and they publish indices to help, but the original? Nada. For all anybody outside knows, the registers may have been eaten by mice in 1871 or burnt in the Blitz in 1941 or chopped into cat litter in a Thatcherite cost-cutting drive in 1981. You can ask to see official papers about Lloyd George’s mistresses or the founding of MI6, but not the registers. Cook County? Well, they lost the early records in the fire of 1871. The County Clerk’s website and genealogical request form give no indication you can see any of the registers after that.

This close-fistedness over the registers is extreme, but entirely consistent with their original purpose. They started out in effect as Stasi files. The system of compulsory registration of baptisms, marriages and funerals in every parish church was invented by Cardinal Cisneros, primate of Spain, in 1497. Thomas Cromwell, the Protestant-leaning minister of Henry VIII, brought it into England in 1538. Cromwell’s registers had to kept in a box with two keys; a fine of 3 shillings and 3 pence could be levied for each failure to register – a month’s wages for a labourer.

What these lovable characters were interested in was Bad Thinking. Bad Thinking was a threat to state security, and it had to be stopped, quickly or, it may be, slowly. The Bad Thinking might come from Lutherans, or Papists, or crypto-Jews, or Anabaptists – everybody had it in for Anabaptists. One of their Errors was to deny the efficacy of the sacraments and rites of the proper established church; so they would often fail to bring a child for baptism say. A compulsory register killed two birds with one stone. It warned the authorities of outbreaks of Bad Thinking and helped identify Bad Thinkers to assist the authorities with their enquiries. To the rest of the population, it provided a steady reminder of the importance attached by the state to sticking to Good Thinking.

Providing copies of entries to individuals for their private purposes is a later and accidental benefit. There have never been pretty ribbons.

Happy Easter, whatever your beliefs or civil status.