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Evidence that Homosexual Civil Unions A 600-Year-Old Tradition

Orion

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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823110231.htm said:
ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2007) — A compelling new study from the September issue of the Journal of Modern History reviews historical evidence, including documents and gravesites, suggesting that homosexual civil unions may have existed six centuries ago in France. The article is the latest from the ongoing "Contemporary Issues in Historical Perspective" series, which explores the intersection between historical knowledge and current affairs.

Commonly used rationales in support of gay marriage and gay civil unions avoid historical arguments. However, as Allan A. Tulchin (Shippensburg University) reveals in his forthcoming article, a strong historical precedent exists for homosexual civil unions.

...

For example, in late medieval France, the term affrèrement -- roughly translated as brotherment -- was used to refer to a certain type of legal contract, which also existed elsewhere in Mediterranean Europe. These documents provided the foundation for non-nuclear households of many types and shared many characteristics with marriage contracts, as legal writers at the time were well aware, according to Tulchin.

The new "brothers" pledged to live together sharing 'un pain, un vin, et une bourse' -- one bread, one wine, and one purse. As Tulchin notes, "The model for these household arrangements is that of two or more brothers who have inherited the family home on an equal basis from their parents and who will continue to live together, just as they did when they were children." But at the same time, "the affrèrement was not only for brothers," since many other people, including relatives and non-relatives, used it.
Not that we need a history basis to grant this new right, but it's nice to know that there is some precedent that can be found in the past.
 

Goshin

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Seems kind of thin, really, in that it doesn't seem that this sort of civil union was actually intended to serve the purposes of homosexual marriage.
 

Hoplite

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Seems kind of thin, really, in that it doesn't seem that this sort of civil union was actually intended to serve the purposes of homosexual marriage.
It may not have been specifically designated as such, but it WAS widely utilized to serve that purpose and the civil authorities didnt seem to have a real problem with it.

The French had pretty similar attitudes about "teh gay" that most Europeans did; it was fine as long as you didnt do it in the street and frighten the horses.
 

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French society in the late medieval period was based entirely upon layer after layer of contractual oaths and obligations, so it is meaningless to compare it to a modern society based on the rule of law. Furthermore, these contracts had nothing to do with homosexuality, as they had nothing to do with sex. They had everything to do with the management of inheritances, households, and rights to property in a society where personal oaths and contracts were the only alternative to outright force of arms. Homosexuality was considered a form of blasphemy (there are many recorded mutilations to attest to this fact).
 
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JohnWOlin

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The whole gay thing has been going on for awhile. See: Romans, Greek, Egyptians, Abraham Lincoln.
 

Hoplite

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French society in the late medieval period was based entirely upon layer after layer of contractual oaths and obligations, so it is meaningless to compare it to a modern society based on the rule of law. Furthermore, these contracts had nothing to do with homosexuality, as they had nothing to do with sex. They had everything to do with the management of inheritances, households, and rights to property in a society where personal oaths and contracts were the only alternative to outright force of arms. Homosexuality was considered a form of blasphemy (there are many recorded mutilations to attest to this fact).
The point is, essentially, that this system was used by gay individuals to marry and be legally recognized as being joined. The civil authorities knew about it and didnt object, there was no serious societal outcry against it.

It's a strike against the anti-gay marriage argument that "no society before has accepted gay marriage" when clearly they have. I agree it may not be in the form and spirit we have it today, but it was there none the less.
 

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The point is, essentially, that this system was used by gay individuals to marry and be legally recognized as being joined. The civil authorities knew about it and didnt object, there was no serious societal outcry against it.

It's a strike against the anti-gay marriage argument that "no society before has accepted gay marriage" when clearly they have. I agree it may not be in the form and spirit we have it today, but it was there none the less.
I didn't see any mention of actual homosexuality in the OP's post with regard from the evidence from the medieval period. This had nothing to do with homosexuality, especially not in the sense we recognize it. It is well known that during the same period a vassal would kiss his liege on the lips as part of an homage ceremony, that doesn't mean they were gay. It wasn't a sexual exchange, but a show of good faith. The affrèrement mentioned above was not a legal affirmation of a homsexual union, it was just a contract.

To say that this was equivalent to marriage is a huge stretch. By this time the Church had consolidated control over marriages, and they weren't ever homosexual. As I mentioned before, homosexuality was widely known to be a sin at that time. Of course that doesn't mean homosexuality didn't happen, but it wasn't sanctioned.

In fact, during this era, if you really wanted someone disinherited or dead, you'd call 'em a gay. Such behavior was not officially accepted in the society. Look what happened to Edward II (and he was a king).
 
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Orion

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I didn't see any mention of actual homosexuality in the OP's post with regard from the evidence from the medieval period. This had nothing to do with homosexuality, especially not in the sense we recognize it. It is well known that during the same period a vassal would kiss his liege on the lips as part of an homage ceremony, that doesn't mean they were gay. It wasn't a sexual exchange, but a show of good faith. The affrèrement mentioned above was not a legal affirmation of a homsexual union, it was just a contract.

To say that this was equivalent to marriage is a huge stretch. By this time the Church had consolidated control over marriages, and they weren't ever homosexual. As I mentioned before, homosexuality was widely known to be a sin at that time. Of course that doesn't mean it didn't happen, but it wasn't sanctioned.
What does same-sex marriage have to do with homosexuality, in the legal sense? It's about two men consenting to be together under legal recongition. That doesn't necessarily mean they are having sex.
 

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I didn't see any mention of actual homosexuality in the OP's post with regard from the evidence from the medieval period. This had nothing to do with homosexuality, especially not in the sense we recognize it. It is well known that during the same period a vassal would kiss his liege on the lips as part of an homage ceremony, that doesn't mean they were gay. It wasn't a sexual exchange, but a show of good faith. The affrèrement mentioned above was not a legal affirmation of a homsexual union, it was just a contract.
It was a contract where the partnership of two individuals in the eyes of the law (a civil union) was recognized and that included gay people.

To say that this was equivalent to marriage is a huge stretch. By this time the Church had consolidated control over marriages, and they weren't ever homosexual. As I mentioned before, homosexuality was widely known to be a sin at that time. Of course that doesn't mean it didn't happen, but it wasn't sanctioned.
You are the only one who has said it was equivalent to marriage.
 

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It was a contract where the partnership of two individuals in the eyes of the law (a civil union) was recognized and that included gay people.
So why don't you point out where the affrèrement mentioned above had anything to do with sex OR marriage.

You are the only one who has said it was equivalent to marriage.
You did. In the previous post you said:

It's a strike against the anti-gay marriage argument that "no society before has accepted gay marriage" when clearly they have
 
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other

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What does same-sex marriage have to do with homosexuality, in the legal sense? It's about two men consenting to be together under legal recongition. That doesn't necessarily mean they are having sex.
Well, that goes back to my original point. Marriage in their society was essentially and ideologically tied to the production of offspring. Our society, depending on an individual's view, can obviously deviate to some degree.
 

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So why don't you point out where the affrèrement mentioned above had anything to do with sex OR marriage.
I never said it did. I said that gay people could and did use it as form of marriage in the eyes of the state.

You did. In the previous post you said:
My fault for not explaining more.

A common argument against gay marriage is to say that no society has ever accepted any sort of gay partnership as valid prior to now. This ignores volumes of information but I never claimed this was a particularly enlightened argument, simply that it exists.

The OP's article indicates that the argument is clearly untrue as there WAS a form of official partnership that was used by gays with the full knowledge of the state and society to act as a basic civil union; marriage in the eyes of the state.
 

Orion

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Well, that goes back to my original point. Marriage in their society was essentially and ideologically tied to the production of offspring. Our society, depending on an individual's view, can obviously deviate to some degree.
I'm not sure what you are trying to get at here. The core of the same-sex marriage movement has been parents of children.
 

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I never said it did. I said that gay people could and did use it as form of marriage in the eyes of the state.
And how was it a form of marriage, exactly? It had nothing to do with marriage.

The OP's article indicates that the argument is clearly untrue as there WAS a form of official partnership that was used by gays with the full knowledge of the state and society to act as a basic civil union; marriage in the eyes of the state.
No it doesn't. Not at all. It gives no information whatsoever to indicate that the parties involved were gay or that the particular contractual form mentioned was for gay people.
 

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I'm not sure what you are trying to get at here. The core of the same-sex marriage movement has been parents of children.
hmm. Well I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to get at either. The historical example you cited has nothing to do at all with "medieval same-sex marriage." Such a thing did not exist as it would not have been sanctioned by the Church or popular sentiments at the time.
 

Orion

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hmm. Well I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to get at either. The historical example you cited has nothing to do at all with "medieval same-sex marriage." Such a thing did not exist as it would not have been sanctioned by the Church or popular sentiments at the time.
The point of my OP was to demonstrate that same-sex cohabitation for the sake of raising families and maintaining a household has received support from government and communities in historic examples. Just because they didn't call it gay or call it marriage isn't that important. It puts a dent in the argument that there is no historical basis for same-sex partnerships in law.
 

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And how was it a form of marriage, exactly? It had nothing to do with marriage.
But it was used as a form of marriage by gay individuals with the full knowledge of the state
 

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The point of my OP was to demonstrate that same-sex cohabitation for the sake of raising families and maintaining a household has received support from government and communities in historic examples. Just because they didn't call it gay or call it marriage isn't that important. It puts a dent in the argument that there is no historical basis for same-sex partnerships in law.
OK, I don't deny this... they're are many obvious historical examples of same sex-cohabitation. Hell, in the medieval period cloisters of monks (all male) sometimes raised children.

I was addressing the notion that such contracts could in any way be equated to a form of marriage.
 
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But it was used as a form of marriage by gay individuals with the full knowledge of the state
So where's your proof that gay marriage was sanctioned by any temporal or ecclisiastical authority in late medieval France? Otherwise you're just making this statement with no historical basis at all. The OP's article had nothing to do with marriage, gay or heterosexual.

Do you think it was gay marriage when a vassal swore allegience to their liege, or when a priest gave sacrements?
 
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Orion

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OK, I don't deny this... they're are many obvious historical examples.

I was addressing the notion that such contracts could in any way be equated to a form of marriage.
I don't think I claimed it was en par to marriage... just en par to same-sex domestic partnerships and the acknowledged benefits.
 

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I don't think I claimed it was en par to marriage... just en par to same-sex domestic partnerships and the acknowledged benefits.
I didn't say you did, I was responding to Hoplite with regard to the marriage issue, who did make such a claim. Sorry if that was unclear.

I think it should be said though, that people in medieval France had very, very different notions about child-raising than we do today--I don't really see the point in drawing comparisons concerning any percieved or 'acknowledged benefit' with reference to modern society.

That would be like asking, "why didn't Henry VIII just hire a better divorce lawyer?"
 
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