free speech, same sex marriage, tolerance of intolerance and the trade practices act

On free speech, the very long history of same sex marriage, the need for tolerance of intolerance and other things besides. Long but worth the read. Helen is spot on.

An extract:-

Muehlenberg’s article is (not to put too fine a point on it) crap. In a nutshell, he thinks that the only form of marriage that has ever existed is ‘Christian marriage’, and that it has always and everywhere existed in the same form. And, oh noes! TEH GAY want to turn it into polyamory, or something…

I can quote you chapter and verse indicating the extent to which he’s got marriage wrong when it comes to pagan Roman law. I can even quote you the relevant Constantinian (ie, after 312 AD) legislation banning gay male marriage, as well as whinges and bitches from Jews in the first century AD about the Romans (and other people in the Empire) permitting Lesbian marriage. I can also quote a charming letter from an early 2nd century AD Roman centurion to two (married) women in Roman Egypt. Ten years earlier, he’d helped the ladies in question become mums, and now he’s got some leave, he’d like to visit ‘his’ daughter. He even asks how she’s going at school, and reveals that the men in his contubernium (a Roman ‘squad’ or ‘section’) are still as jealous as all get out about the fortnight in the sack he spent with two good-looking women.

Then there was the general ‘pagan double standard’. The Romans didn’t care about a woman being virgin or not before she married, but they did care about (female) monogamy in marriage (this is, in case you hadn’t noticed, deeply Darwinian). As long as he didn’t ‘screw around under his own roof’, then a Roman citizen male could bang who he liked. His wife could not. This was particularly the case if she ‘didn’t put out’. Roman law was very hard on rape in marriage, making it a crime, not a delict (tort). Christianity told men to be monogamous, but let them rape their wives. Christians can bury their heads in the sand until the cows come home, but deciding which legal regime is better for women is a no-brainer. As my Roman law tutor here in Edinburgh says, ‘the man who openly leches after you may not be your enemy; the man who wants to give you sexual dignity may not be your friend’.

There were other elements, too. Sometimes screwing around (for both sexes) was part of religious observance. In which case all the rules described above went out the window.

One thought on “free speech, same sex marriage, tolerance of intolerance and the trade practices act

  1. Didn’t the romans also tend to practice female infanticide? Wasn’t this one of the reasons that Christianity spread- because Roman women preferred Christianity to pagan ethics?
    At least, that is what I was taught.

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