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You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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The History of Marriage
by Darren Marples | @Mattersofpride
Marriage Predates Christianity
There is strong evidence that marriage is roughly 4,350 years old. Before that, families were much different than today, living in large packs of roughly 30 people. Multiple women shared men to produce bloodlines.
As times changed so did society, and there was greater need for more stable arrangements. In 2350 BC Mesopotamia, there is evidence of the first recorded marriages, uniting one man and one woman. Over the next 1000 years, marriage slowly evolved and was embraced by other nations and cultures, including ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans.
Marriage Without Love or Religion
Many millennia ago, marriage existed to produce bloodlines. Through marriage a woman became the husband’s property. In Greece the father of the bride would pledge to the groom that his daughter would produce a legitimate lineage. Hebrews would have several wives, while the Roman men were free to look outside their marriage for sexual relief with prostitutes, concubines, and even teenage male lovers. The wife would be at home tending to the household. If she didn’t produce an heir, the husband could return her to her father and re-marry.
The Business of Marriage
Same sex marriages were recorded during both Roman and Greek times, although some historians will disagree with this, arguing technicalities.
Those who disagree with same sex marriage will sometimes point out the story of Nero, taking the ‘boy’ Sporus to be his wife, castrating him and decking him out in fine garments, making him more of an image of his deceased wife of whom the boy reminded Nero.
Of great concern was that Nero could have no descendents produced by Sporus. At the time, Eunuchs were common. For an Emperor to order a boy castrated may have been unusual, but it wasn’t particularly barbaric during the Roman Empire. However, maintaining a bloodline was was imperative, especially for a man of power.
Homosexuality & Acceptance
Even after the death of Christ, homosexuality was clearly accepted during the Roman Empire. It is well documented that rulers would often have male lovers in addition to wives who ensured their bloodline.
Roman emperor Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus, more famous for his wall and peace treaties, was very open about his love for Antinous, his Greek gay consort. (Hadrian’s Wall marked the north-west edge of the Roman Empire and is now a World Heritage Site in North England.) Hadrianus named games in Athens and the city of Antinopolis in honor of his male lover after his early death.
One theory even suggests that Antinous’ devotion led him to sacrifice himself to ensure Hadrian’s good health in 130 AD. Whether the story is true or not, the two men showed their love, loyalty, and commitment to each other.
The Church & Marriage
It wasn’t until the eighth century that religion became involved with marriage. As the Roman Catholic Church became more powerful, a priest would bless the marriage and making it ‘legally’ recognized. At the Council of Trent in 1563, the sacramental nature of marriage was written into canon law.
Marriage was adapted by Christianity in the Middle Ages. Before that time, neither the crown nor the church was concerned with matrimony. When the Church became more involved, it is thought this brought the wife more rights, making her less part of a business transaction. The church-sanctioned marriage placed the wife in a more important role. However, by today’s standards it is far from the truth.
The church was extremely powerful in sixteenth century Europe. King Henry VIII, desperate for a male heir, had fought for divorce from the dedicated Catholic Catherine of Aragon.
Before the king ordered the dissolution of the Catholic monasteries in 1536, the church owned a third of English lands.
The Catholic Church had been as powerful as the king, and continued to influence many of its remaining flock over the following centuries.
Marriage’s origins weren’t connected to religion. The church adopted it over time. In today’s world, beliefs and religious devotion vary greatly and all views must be respected. Some authorities will marry a man and wife who don’t believe in God, yet refuse to marry a loving same sex couple. Based on the long history of marriage, the unwillingness to marry a same sex couple is clearly based on homophobia.
Marriage has evolved and changed throughout its history. If you understand the history of marriage and you believe in equality, same sex marriage shouldn’t be a significant issue. Marriage was originally based on preserving bloodlines, which is no longer the case. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that religion became involved in marriage. And for much of its history, marriage wasn’t based on love, it ensured men clear lineage and heirs. It also wasn’t uncommon for men to have sex outside of marriage with other women and men. Some historians even identify same sex unions in our past.
The reality is that all beliefs and views must be respected. Although not everyone will embrace the history of marriage, my hope is that people who understand the past will be willing to appreciate the need for marriage equality.