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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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Old 09-18-2012, 10:37 PM   #511
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Other than the fact that, until this generation, both have been excluded from marriage by all cultures, religions and governments.
So...Jerry Lee Lewis' situation was...what, then?

Please. For the love of all that is good, just STOP already.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:41 PM   #512
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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.
Awesome. I enjoy 'researching' Roman history (and other cultures) on my own, but I'm far from an expert. I really need to start keeping notes. I collect antiquities (nothing crazy. I'm not wealthy) and when I get something new, it usually leads to hours of reading about the era it's from.

I don't quite understand your PhD topic. Can you expand on that a bit? Sounds interesting

(Sorry for the derail folks. I won't ask a bunch of questions)
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:26 PM   #513
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That's cool, JT, I'd like to read more about that, too. Certainly more interesting and less infuriating than what's been discussed recently.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:28 AM   #514
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I know this thread is mainly about marriage equality in the US, but I'd just like to say I am utterly disgusted with the Australian House of Representatives today. 42-98 against marriage equality. The ALP split 38 for, 26 against - most notably current PM Julia Gillard and previous PM Kevin Rudd both voted against. The lone Green obviously voted for, the independents voted 3 for and 2 against, and all 70 Liberal/National MPs voted against. That number includes Malcolm Turnbull, who said he would have voted for if the Liberal Party had allowed a conscience vote ... but the Liberal Party does not expel MPs for crossing the floor, so he could've crossed and voted against the party line.

There is an essentially identical bill before the Senate that is an outside chance of passing, but even if it does pass, it'll die in the House.

Meanwhile, New Zealand yet again shows itself more ahead of Australia. Its gay marriage bill passed its first reading with a majority of every party voting for it except the incoherent populists of New Zealand First (who only hold eight seats). Even the Nationals voted for it 30-29, with that thirty including the current PM. Numbers may be weakened when it comes back out of committee but it should still pass its second and third readings. Few of Labour's 30 for votes are likely to drop and all 14 Greens will vote for, so the bill simply needs to find another ~17 votes amongst the other 77 members to pass. Shouldn't be a problem.

So for the first time in a while on political matters, I'm proud to be a Kiwi and disgusted to be Australian.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:12 AM   #515
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The ACL, meanwhile, seem to believe that all gays and all those who support them in their fight for marriage equality, is over - MR: ACL welcomes end of marriage debate | Australian Christian Lobby

Idiots
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:42 AM   #516
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Haha, morons. By the end of the year, probably at least one state will have passed a marriage equality bill.

Will be interesting - and infuriating - to see any subsequent legal challenge and whether it is upheld as constitutional or not.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:50 AM   #517
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I can't wait for the day about a year on from when it's legalised here, and all the people who are currently rallying so hard against it realise that they haven't been affected in the slightest, and society as we know hasn't crumbled and burned.
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:09 AM   #518
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Yeah, I'm still waiting here in Iowa to see that apocalyptic scenario play out that all the anti-gay marriage folk seem to think will occur. It's been about three years or so and yet...nothing. Sort of like the people who keep insisting every few years or decade or so that the world will come to an end soon.

Good move on New Zealand's part, and bad move on Australia's. Hopefully the pro-gay rights side will soon win out there.

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“I would like to thank the Opposition for keeping its election promise and for all those members of Labor who, as a matter of conscience, voted to ensure that marriage remained between a man and a woman,” Mr Wallace said.
Yeah, actually, denying people equal rights means you don't have a conscience, moron. It also means you don't have a heart.

God, I wish these people would just grow up and get over themselves already.
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:20 AM   #519
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I can't wait for the day about a year on from when it's legalised here, and all the people who are currently rallying so hard against it realise that they haven't been affected in the slightest, and society as we know hasn't crumbled and burned.
I must admit I'm worried that a legal challenge to a state legalising gay marriage will succeed. The commentary that I've read indicates that it would stand a good chance of succeeding. See, for instance Explainer: can Tasmania legalise same-sex marriage?

Short version: if a state marriage law conflicts with federal law, the federal law wins unless the high court is willing to employ a very careful reading of the Marriage Act. Our states are not as powerful as American states in this regard.

Tassie will probably pass a marriage equality bill - an amazing proposition given it didn't even decriminalise homosexuality until 1997 - and then things will get really interesting. Most other states either have or will soon have a marriage equality bill before their parliament, but Tasmania's by far progressed the furthest and will probably be the test case.

(I kind of see this going the same way as the Northern Territory legalising euthanasia in 1997; I recognise that's not a perfect analogy due to the greater control the federal parliament has over territories than over states, but I think it's valid.)
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:32 AM   #520
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Incidentally, in light of Tassie not decriminalising homosexuality until 1997, that makes Bob Brown's career all the more astounding. He's lived in Tassie since 1972 ... and announced he was gay in 1976. He was Tasmania's first openly gay member in 1983, federal parliament's first in 1996, and the first openly gay leader of an Australian political party - and never mind the law of his home state.

Now that's courage and determination.

Australia could do with more politicians like him, less moral cowards like Gillard and Turnbull, and absolutely no moral detritus like Abbott, Boswell, and Bernardi.
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