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As for initials—aloud, “Mark V” and “Mark J” sound too alike, and oddly formal besides.

Some distinguish us by day job—“mathematician Mark” and “pilot Mark”—but that seems sad, especially when we’re on vacation.

Physical characteristics are an obvious port in the homonymous storm.

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When people meet Jon Paul and his husband—wait for it—Juan Pablo, they either get it right away (and assume the joke’s on them) or suffer a painfully delayed “Hang on … Kathryn Hamm, president of Gay, the nuptial website for same-sex (“and same-name! brightly points out that homonymy simplifies as many situations as it complicates.

And given the vogue for gender-ambiguous baby names, there’s plenty more homonymy in the pipeline: Think of all the Rileys, Jordans, and Harpers yet to meet.

A more effective tactic might be to remind conservatives that the gay-rights movement is only the outermost ripple of the American experiment’s historic, ever-expanding promise of freedom.

” Or we could call it an extremely equal form of marriage equality—“marriage equality equality,” perhaps, appropriately abbreviated ME, when Olympia Dukakis remarked that all gay men are named "Mark, Rick, or Steve? (First problem: no mention of Brian.) But it foreshadowed a level of social chaos that I could never have imagined when Mark and I first met. Sure, America can cope with dinner-party disorder—but imagine that moment of confusion in a national security-critical context, like in a submarine or on a battlefield. Our friends and family plumb even greater depths of bewilderment when Mark or I come up in conversation.

The simplest type of homonymic confusion occurs at large gatherings: parties, dinners, or barbecues. At first everyone referred to us as “Mark 1” and “Mark 2,” based on whom they’d met first.

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