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Old 05-10-2012, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Earth
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"Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the "Office of Same-Sex Union" (10th and 11th century), and the "Order for Uniting Two Men" (11th and 12th century).

"These church rites had all the symbols of a heterosexual marriage: the whole community gathered in a church, a blessing of the couple before the altar was conducted with their right hands joined, holy vows were exchanged, a priest officiatied in the taking of the Eucharist and a wedding feast for the guests was celebrated afterwards. These elements all appear in contemporary illustrations of the holy union of the Byzantine Warrior-Emperor, Basil the First (867-886 CE) and his companion John."

anthropologist: When Same-Sex Marriage Was a Christian Rite

So, Christian churches performed same sex marriages throughout antiquity and throughout medieval times, and in one case as late as the eighteenth century. The church did not always look down upon such marriages.

Quite, quite fascinating.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:02 PM
 
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It is an interesting view, but you may also want to look and another interpretation of these unions from wikipedia:

Adelphopoiesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

...which suggests these unions were not marriages but were more similar to blood brother type oaths between two men, which were officially sanctioned by the church.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:20 AM
 
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I posted the following in this thread, but it is interesting to add to this as well...



//www.city-data.com/forum/new-j...to-gay-23.html

Quote:
In the western world...

Of note is the root of the word marriage, which is the Latin word "matrimonium", which derives from the word "mater" which means mother. Basically, a man takes a woman and enters into "in matrimonium ducere" in order to produce children with her.

This state of institution though is separate from the legal binding of people in Rome under a term "conubium", a legal marriage.

The first term "matrimonium" was a religious term, the second "conubium" was a secular legal word. There is evidence throughout the Roman period of same-sex legal unions (conubium) having been in place, though rare, but even some emperors engaged in them. There is even limited evidence of these unions being performed with an accompanying ceremony. However, "matrimonium" was always between a man and a woman as a religious union for the sole purpose of producing children. A man and woman were "in matrimonium" and legally bound by a "conubium" at the same time.

When Christianity became the State Religion of the Roman Empire, there was a turn against homosexuality in general, but the unions in particular. In 342AD, co-emperors Constantius II and Constans issued the Theodosian Code. Within the code was a banning of same-sex "conubium" in all Roman provinces. Performing or engaging in such a union was punishable by death.

As the Roman Empire declined, it's power and position in terms of social laws was taken by the institution of the State Church of the Roman Empire. The church gained the authority as the arbiter of social affairs and the concept of "matrimonium" and "conubium" became intertwined. In fact, this was the key power of the church, they decided how and to whom people could marry. In 1054, the Great Schism occurred and gave birth to the Catholic Church in the west and the Orthodox Church in the east with both continuing the tradition of the State Church of the Roman Empire, but in somewhat divergent directions on ecclesiastical matters.

In the west, there is some evidence of the early Catholic Church being somewhat tolerant of same sex unions. There is one such union recorded in Galicia (northwest Spain) in 1061. However, it was a rather rare event and the one I mentioned is most likely the last same-sex union ever performed in a Catholic Church.

So, basically, if we go back to the foundation of where we got the words from, there was a legal idea of marriage and a religious idea of marriage that used separate terms. It was not until Christianity was introduced and the power over the union of people was consolidated in the church, that the concepts merged into what we currently consider marriage, which has both a legal and religious definition. So, one cannot escape the Bible if we want to have this discussion, this is why things are the way they are.
Now, I took that information from reading a few different sources. I'm not a Rome or Ancient Church expert by any stretch, but this seems to match up pretty close with what was being described here. Essentially there were two separate concepts that later got intertwined as one and called "marriage". Perhaps these "blood brother" ceremonies have their roots in the Roman practice of conubium which was known to have been performed between persons of the same sex.
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