“In the year 1 million BC, it is thought that the first homosapian marriage occurred. It was soon followed, by the first homosexual marriage.” What is ironic about Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part 1, in this case, is that Brooks may have been correct. Same-sex marriage is far from the new fangled form of marriage portrayed by the anti-gay social conservatives. Rather, it may be as old as human beings.
Same-sex marriage existed for many millennia before the spread of the Greek influenced Christian Church. Even in the early days of Christianity, same-sex marriage was allowed because, up until that point, same-sex marriage was common in many cultures.
Among the Greeks and Romans, marriage was between one man and one woman. It was not so among the Jews of Israel where polygamy was common, as noted in the Bible. It was not the same among the Celts. Marriage was, indeed, allowable among more than one person, with agreement among all the spouses, but the Greeks also reported something very interesting. According to several Greek sources, there were households made up of more than one member of the same sex. In one case, they recorded a household of three men who slept together as husbands. This was noted by Celtic historian Gerard Hern.
Among the best known figures to enter into a same-sex marriage among the Celts was Saint Brigit of Kildare. According to Peter Berrisford Ellis, St. Brigit entered into a same-sex marriage with a woman named Darlughdacha. The two were together for the entire length of St. Brigit’s life. In fact, it is said that, in order to prevent men from courting her and harassing her, St. Brigit plucked out her own right eye to disfigure herself.
This version of St. Brigit’s life was covered up by the Roman Church, but it is there in the older records.
The “social experiment” known as same-sex marriage also existed among a huge number of people. In fact, same-sex marriages were performed throughout the Americas. We note that the terminology is same-sex marriage and not same-gender marriage here. Nearly all Native American tribes had some form of third and/or fourth gender. We, today, would call these individuals transsexuals.
Each tribe treated these individuals in their own special manners, but they all treated them with a certain amount of respect. In some, these individuals were considered shaman.
Will Roscoe wrote a book entitled “Changing Ones” which delved into how these individuals were treated. This included the many known cases of same-sex marriages among these tribes. Thus, when it is heard that Native American tribes like the Odawa in Michigan have legalized same-sex marriage, it is not something new, but rather a return to something old- something that the Odawa or Ottawa practiced for time out of mind.
Same-sex marriage has been in existence for so long that there are people for whom it was common practice not only at the turn of the 19th Century, but at the turn of the first millennium, and even before that.
Mel Brooks may have been right. Same-sex marriage is not something new. But rather, it is something old. Something very, very old.
It is only a ‘social experiment’ in the minds of the hateful.