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Old 09-18-2012, 09:18 PM   #496
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As for incest, it is well known that the Egyptian pharoahs practiced it to maintain their bloodline, with dire consequences of course. King Tut's parents were brother and sister and he was physically stricken as a result. He was also married to his half-sister and they struggled to have children.
European royals suffered greatly because of the practice too
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:24 PM   #497
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As others have mentioned, there is evidence that SSM took place in ancient Rome.
I keep seeing this raised, and I feel the need to say that SSM was not a part of ancient Roman culture. The one instance to which people usually point is Nero marrying his male slave, but the context there is important. What he did was not only a breach of the law but was also seen as an egregious break from normalcy. He also had the slave castrated so as to "make" him into a woman. The Romans had a very tolerant attitude toward homosexual relations and believed that genuine love could and did happen between two members of the same sex, as did the Greeks, but I have never seen any evidence that either culture actually allowed marriage between two men or two women.

Having said all that, I think that the history is completely irrelevant in this case and certainly should not be used as an argument against SSM. The Greeks and Romans predominantly saw marriage as a vehicle for legitimate childbirth so that property could be inherited with as little fuss as possible. Obviously the concept of marriage has become exceedingly more complex since then and should be treated within the context of the present day.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:24 PM   #498
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European royals suffered greatly because of the practice too
True, but they married first-cousins rather than siblings, which is more dangerous genetically.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:36 PM   #499
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Other than the fact that, until this generation, both have been excluded from marriage by all cultures, religions and governments.
But of course you just contradicted yourself below:

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The Bible reference? Yes you can find instances of incest and polygamy in the Bible. Always involving a man and woman however.
I think you're equating orientation with attraction/desire, and I think sexual orientation is a little more complex than a mere desire you can choose to act on or not act on. There's something deeply wrong with demanding absolute celibacy from a segment of the population (particularly if you're not Catholic). "Would you deny for others what you demand for yourself?"


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My point has never been that marriage laws and customs don't change. Only that the process matters. In a republic the morals and values of the citizens should be reflected in the laws. And in a democracy laws should be enacted with the consent of the governed, i.e. not by judges overturning the will of the people.
Would you be okay if a judge overturned a voter approved allowance of same-sex marriage?

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oooooooh! It's in the bible?!?! Why didn't you say so earlier? You've successfully converted me.
(Hilarious that you're supporting incest in the bible because it involved a man and a women. Again, statements like this completely reveal your bigotry and blind acceptance of the crap in the bible)
Not all of us view what's in the Bible as crap. I believe INDY was responding to my assertions--we're discussing this from the viewpoint of two people who happen to find the Bible meaningful--not trying to convert you. If you feel the Bible is crap, I respect your right to your opinion, but if you can't relate to that aspect of our conversation, the polite thing would be to leave it be.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:38 PM   #500
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I keep seeing this raised, and I feel the need to say that SSM was not a part of ancient Roman culture. The one instance to which people usually point is Nero marrying his male slave, but the context there is important. What he did was not only a breach of the law but was also seen as an egregious break from normalcy. He also had the slave castrated so as to "make" him into a woman. The Romans had a very tolerant attitude toward homosexual relations and believed that genuine love could and did happen between two members of the same sex, as did the Greeks, but I have never seen any evidence that either culture actually allowed marriage between two men or two women.

Having said all that, I think that the history is completely irrelevant in this case and certainly should not be used as an argument against SSM. The Greeks and Romans predominantly saw marriage as a vehicle for legitimate childbirth so that property could be inherited with as little fuss as possible. Obviously the concept of marriage has become exceedingly more complex since then and should be treated within the context of the present day.
I agree. I was thinking the same thing.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:38 PM   #501
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Originally Posted by iron yuppie View Post
I keep seeing this raised, and I feel the need to say that SSM was not a part of ancient Roman culture. The one instance to which people usually point is Nero marrying his male slave, but the context there is important. What he did was not only a breach of the law but was also seen as an egregious break from normalcy. He also had the slave castrated so as to "make" him into a woman. The Romans had a very tolerant attitude toward homosexual relations and believed that genuine love could and did happen between two members of the same sex, as did the Greeks, but I have never seen any evidence that either culture actually allowed marriage between two men or two women.

Having said all that, I think that the history is completely irrelevant in this case and certainly should not be used as an argument against SSM. The Greeks and Romans predominantly saw marriage as a vehicle for legitimate childbirth so that property could be inherited with as little fuss as possible. Obviously the concept of marriage has become exceedingly more complex since then and should be treated within the context of the present day.

I admit that I had to google the names of any other emperors apart from Nero and came across Elagabalus, who may have also been transgendered. But simply by virtue of having created a law banning same sex marriages, and making that law retroactive, it would imply that same sex marriages existed and were accepted beforehand. It's much more difficult to find specific information on the personal lives of the general Roman populace. That said, homosexual relationships were commonplace and readily accepted before the law in the Theodosian code
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:51 PM   #502
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I admit that I had to google the names of any other emperors apart from Nero and came across Elagabalus, who may have also been transgendered. But simply by virtue of having created a law banning same sex marriages, and making that law retroactive, it would imply that same sex marriages existed and were accepted beforehand. It's much more difficult to find specific information on the personal lives of the general Roman populace. That said, homosexual relationships were commonplace and readily accepted before the law in the Theodosian code
Well, as a historian I would say that the argument from silence is always a dangerous one. I can't say definitively that SSM did not happen in Rome, but I can say that there is no law on record that mentions it in the pre-Christian era and that the cases of both Nero and Elagabalus were anomalies facilitated by their extreme power. That said, you are absolutely right that homosexual behavior was commonplace, accepted, and even fashionable in classical antiquity - among men and in a certain hierarchy, at least.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:59 PM   #503
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Not all of us view what's in the Bible as crap. I believe INDY was responding to my assertions--we're discussing this from the viewpoint of two people who happen to find the Bible meaningful--not trying to convert you. If you feel the Bible is crap, I respect your right to your opinion, but if you can't relate to that aspect of our conversation, the polite thing would be to leave it be.
If indy is going to throw out ridiculous factoids from the bible as if they somehow prove a point (all the incest and polygamy in the bible is of a heterosexual nature, therefor.... what exactly?), then he deserves to be called on it. Especially when his 'point' only shows what allowances the bible makes for heinous activities while vilifying homosexuality. Religious belief shouldn't be afforded any more respect than any other kind of belief, so when that point is clearly crap, I'm going to reference it as such.
I can respect that you don't think it's filled with crap, but I also wouldn't expect you to make such ridiculous declarations as the one above
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:02 PM   #504
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Well, as a historian I would say that the argument from silence is always a dangerous one.
That's fair. But why make a retroactive law against something that doesn't already exist?

That said, seeing that you're a historian, I might have some cool stuff you'd like to look at
What kind of history is your specialty?
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:12 PM   #505
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If indy is going to throw out ridiculous factoids from the bible as if they somehow prove a point (all the incest and polygamy in the bible is of a heterosexual nature, therefor.... what exactly?), then he deserves to be called on it.
Agreed. I just don't think believing the Bible is crap is a prerequisite for making that call. His point is equally ridiculous and contradictory even if you happen to believe that the Bible is the sacred Word of God.

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Especially when his 'point' only shows what allowances the bible makes for heinous activities while vilifying homosexuality.
I would question whether the rise of secular society is the direct cause of our rejection of incest and polygamy. After all Christianity now rejects those same practices as well. Those practices were part of our common cultural history not something unique to fervent believers. The Bible is simply reflecting the society and culture it was written in, not describing the weird practices of a few fringe religious nuts.

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Religious belief shouldn't be afforded any more respect than any other kind of belief,
Nor should it be afforded any less, I would argue.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:13 PM   #506
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That's fair. But why make a retroactive law against something that doesn't already exist?
Was there an actual law against SSM or was it just banning of homosexuality in general?
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:15 PM   #507
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Agreed. I just don't think believing the Bible is crap is a prerequisite for making that call.
That's fair too. I let a bit of my personal bias slip in there

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Nor should it be afforded any less, I would argue.
shit, I had written 'more or less', then when I reworded the sentence, forgot to include that (Freudian typing?) . My bad.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:16 PM   #508
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Was there an actual law against SSM or was it just banning of homosexuality in general?
I'll have to go back, but I think it was specifically SSM
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:18 PM   #509
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Other than the fact that, until this generation, both have been excluded from marriage by all cultures, religions and governments.


Right. Unlike polygamy and statuatory rape.

What other cultural cues should we be taking from people who lived 2000 years ago when life was short, brutish, and harsh?
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:34 PM   #510
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That's fair. But why make a retroactive law against something that doesn't already exist?
I would have to look carefully at the language of the law. My understanding is that it was an injunction against homosexual behavior in general, which many bishops were pushing for at the time. But I could be wrong about that.

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What kind of history is your specialty?
Roman social and cultural history. I actually did my MA on sexual ethics in the Roman Empire and early Christian movements. PhD topic is perceptions of suffering and pain in the Roman world.
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