The not-so-aptly named Romeo and Juliet reside in the Public Garden in spring and summer. (Globe Staff Photo / John Tlumacki)Boston's beloved pair of swans -- feted by city leaders, residents, and tourists alike as one of the Hub's most celebrated summer attractions -- are a same-sex couple. Yes, scientific tests have shown that the pair, named Romeo and Juliet, are really Juliet and Juliet.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department conducted the tests months ago, but didn't announce the results for fear of destroying the image of a Shakespearean love story unfolding each year in the Public Garden.
''Each year when the swans go in, the kids immediately come to us and say, 'Which one's Romeo, and which one's Juliet?' " parks spokeswoman Mary Hines said yesterday in response to a Globe inquiry. ''It's just like one of those fairy tales; why spoil it?"
This year and last, the swans have laid eggs in the spring and then stood guard at the nest as visitors and nearby residents made regular pilgrimages, hoping to see the eggs hatch. Neither batch did. Turns out, that's because they were never fertilized by a male swan.
The news ignited something of a debate among swan spectators in the Public Garden yesterday, with some insisting the city now should buy a true Romeo and others saying the city should embrace the two as a couple.
''If these two swans are happy together, they shouldn't have to have a guy," said Emma Stokien, a 15-year-old from New York. ''It's good to have the swans as a symbol of the acceptance in Massachusetts."
* Boston Globe Story