Gay marriage was 'legal' and faced by the first Christians in Ancient Rome.

As the saying goes, what goes around comes around, it seems that we’re back to square one.

Given that the gay marriage agenda will be increasingly pressed upon Catholics by the state, we should be much more aware of what history has to teach us about gay marriage—given that we don’t want to be among those who, ignorant of history, blithely condemned themselves to repeat it.

Contrary to the popular view—both among proponents and opponents—gay marriage is not a new issue. It cannot be couched (by proponents) as a seamless advance on the civil rights movement, nor should it be understood (by opponents) as something that’s evil merely because it appears to them to be morally unprecedented.

Gay marriage was—surprise!—alive and well in Rome, celebrated even and especially by select emperors, a spin-off of the general cultural affirmation of Roman homosexuality. Gay marriage was, along with homosexuality, something the first Christians faced as part of the pagan moral darkness of their time.

What Christians are fighting against today, then, is not yet another sexual innovation peculiar to our “enlightened age,” but the return to pre-Christian, pagan sexual morality.

So, what was happening in ancient Rome? Homosexuality was just as widespread among the Romans as it was among the Greeks (a sign of which is that it was condoned even by the stolid Stoics). The Romans had adopted the pederasty of the Greeks (aimed, generally, at boys between the ages of 12 to 18). There was nothing shameful about such sexual relations among Romans, if the boy was not freeborn. Slaves, both male and female, were considered property, and that included sexual property.

But the Romans also extended homosexuality to adult men, even adult free men. And it is likely that this crossing of the line from child to adult, unfree to free—not homosexuality as such—was what affronted the more austere of the Roman moralists.

And so we hear from Tacitus (56-117 AD), the great Roman historian, of the shameful sexual exploits of a string of Roman emperors from Tiberius to Nero. Nero was the first imperial persecutor of the Christians. His tutor and then advisor was the great Stoic moralist Seneca himself. Unfortunately, Seneca’s lessons must have bounced right off the future emperor. When he took the imperial seat, complete with its aura of self-proclaimed divinity, no trace of Stoic austerity remained.

In Nero, Tacitus tells the reader, tyrannical passion, the hubris of proclaimed divinity, the corruption of power, and “every filthy depraved act, licit or illicit” seemed to reach an imperial peak. He not only had a passion for “free-born boys” but also for quite literally marrying other men and even a boy, sometimes playing the part of the woman in the union and sometimes the man.

As Tacitus relates one incident (Grant’s translation): “Nero was already corrupted by every lust, natural and unnatural. But he now refuted any surmises that no further degradation was possible for him. For…he went through a formal wedding ceremony with one of the perverted gang called Pythagoras. The emperor, in the presence of witnesses, put on the bridal veil. Dowry, marriage bed, wedding torches, all were there. Indeed everything was public which even in a natural union is veiled by night.” *

Roman law did not recognize marriage between men though. I have not heard anything about two women marrying in ancient Rome.

Gay Marriage: A No Show in History

Some scholars claim that marriage between homosexuals has been commonly practiced and accepted by various peoples throughout history. One prominent advocate of this view, William Eskridge, contends that same-sex unions and even “marriages” have been common in other times and cultures.

Responding to Eskridge, professors Peter Lubin and Dwight Duncan point out that the so-called “evidence” for homosexual marriage comes primarily from small, isolated pre-literate tribes. Lubin and Duncan point out that "a great many of the primitive societies deemed by Eskridge to be tolerant of [same-sex marriage] … have also been known to engage in other practices, such as cannibalism, female genital mutilation, massacre or enslavement of enemies taken in war, and other practices which was once held to be the duty of the civilized to extirpate."31

Furthermore, what Eskridge takes for homosexual marriage are actually male bonding rituals that he mistakenly eroticized. Alleged examples from ancient Rome, such as Nero and Elagabalus, only reveal the degree to which homosexuality was held in contempt by Roman society. In referring to Nero’s homosexuality, Tacitus wrote that the emperor “polluted himself by every lawful or lawless indulgence, [and] had not omitted a single abomination which could heighten his depravity.” This hardly constitutes an endorsement of homosexuality in ancient Rome.

Lubin and Duncan summarize: "There is no ‘rich history of same-sex marriage’ that [Eskridge] has ‘uncovered,’ that was ‘suppressed in recent Western history, and is only now coming to light.’ The ‘resistance’ to same-sex marriage is not limited to ‘Western culture’ with its age-old ‘anti-homosexual hysteria and bigotry,’ but extends to almost every culture throughout the world."32

On the face of it, theories about the supposed widespread practice of homosexual marriage throughout history lack merit, given the biological imperative of families consisting of husbands and wives producing children, which is a basic requirement for the preservation of any culture or society.

Marriage: a historical perspective

I must admit I was trying to shorten the title to one line, hence I used the word ‘legal’ - however gay marriage was condoned and carried out by the emperors and those in ‘charge’ - i.e. Nero, Elagabalus and no doubt others.

I believe the evil in the world of the 21st century greatly surpasses pagan Rome - particularly due to the fact that governments of various countries are trying to legalise SS marriage.

If Roman law did not recognize gay ‘marriage’ then how can it have been legal?

It is possible gay ‘marriage’ ceremonies were performed but they did not have legal status.

Well, from the article they carried out ‘marriages’ i.e. the emperors, who I thought would have had a role in deciding what ‘laws’ they decided were right, i.e. if the wished to marry another man then they did so - I’m not a historian though. Either way when the authorative figures in Rome were getting married to men, it condoned the practice of homosexuality, if nothing else.

I have not read any source that says such ‘marriages’ had any legal status in Rome.

I know and I explained it further up te thread, why I (incorrectly) used the word ‘legal’ to shorten the title of the thread.

I had skim read the article, initially.

Either way it indicates that the 21st century is much further from God than they were in pagan Rome - even though ‘gay marriages’ occurred with the ‘leaders’, they were not legal.

The link provided by the OP in post # 1 isn’t working for me - takes me to a practically blank screen with the words , “The page you are looking for cannot be found” . . . followed by a link saying , “click here to return to home page”

Anyone else have the same problem ?


Except in today’s legal system here in the US (if homosexual marriage is legalized), I can see how anyone in the business world who shows negative feelings about homosexual marriage can be dragged into court under a claim of discrimination. The defendant might win, but the predictable legal costs will be so high that, for all practical purposes, anyone who disagrees with homosexual marriage will be forced to have no open opinion on the subject. “Freedom of expression” will still exist, technically speaking, but at such a high legal cost that it will be impractical to do so. These “incorrect” beliefs against homosexual marriage will be forced “into the closet.” Then, society will have come full circle, just as planned by the social engineers…

For those who would vote in favor of homosexual marriage because they feel sorry for homosexuals: Do you realize that many homosexuals would be happy with your vote, but offended by your negative opinion? They don’t want to be judged negatively.

Opinion not a news article

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