Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Ο Walt Whitman και ο Peter Doyle (1865)


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us



In many parts of the world, being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered is not seen as a right, but as a wrong.
Homosexuality is considered a sin, or an illness, an ideological deviation or a betrayal of one's culture. The repression that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (lgbt) people face is often passionately defended by governments or individuals in the name of religion, culture, morality or public health. By dehumanizing gay people and maginalizing them as "other", leaders know that they are fostering a climate in which the public will not be concerned about the human rights of lgbt people.
Human rights are founded on the concept for the inherent dignity and worth of the human person. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) opens with the simple but powerful statement that "all members of the human family" have equal and inalienable rights, an affirmation that should be seen as of the most significant legacies of the 20th century.
As the new millenium commences, a sizeable minority of the world's population continues to be denied full membership of that "human family". Governments around the world deploy an array of repressive laws and practices to deprive their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered citizens of their dignity and to deny them their basic human rights. Lesbian and gay people are imprisoned under laws which police the bedroom and criminalize a kiss; they are tortured to extract confessions of "deviance" and raped to "cure" them of it; they are killed by "death squads" in societies which view them as "disposables"; they are executed by the state which portrays them as a threat to society.
These are violations of some of the fundamental rights which the UDHR seeks to protect and which AI campaigns to defend. AI addresses questions on LGBT issues of: equal right to life; equal freedom from arbitrary arrest; equal freedom from torture and ill-treatment; equal freedom of expression and association; equality before the law; and equality in dignity and rights.
First Steps of AI: Coming out for LGBT rights
As far back as 1979, AI recognized that "the persecution of persons for their homosexuality is a violation of their fundamental rights" (Decision 7 of its 1979 International Council Meeting). However, it was only in the early 1990s that AI began to campaign in earnest against this kind of persecution.
The intervening period was one of intense debate within the international movement how far AI could go in defending the rights of lesbians and gay men, given the culturally diverse nature of the movement and the unclear scope of international human rights standards at that time.
After years of international debate and sustained campaigning by the lesbian and gay rights movement and by many within the AI movement, a highly significant step forward was taken in 1991, when AI adopted a policy affirming that prosecuting people for their homosexuality was a form of prosecution. Although other forms of anti-gay persecution were already covered in AI's mandate - such as the torture or execution of gay people, or the arbitrary imprisonment of gay right activists - AI now committed itself to campaigning for the release of anyone imprisoned solely because of their homosexuality, including those prosecuted for having sex in circumstances which would not be criminal for hetrosexuals. Such people would be considered prisoners of conscience.
It was a powerful assertion of principle: homosexuality, like race or gender, is not acceptable basis on which to imprison people.
A role for AI in the struggle for LGBT human rights
As a grassroots international human rights organization, AI has a particular and useful role to play in locating lgbt rights in the consideration of human rights generally, not as special rights, but as fundamental rights ensured to each and every member of society, AI has also provided valuable support to lesbian and gay human right defenders, who are among those under threat. They frequently operate in environments where the very right of their organizations to exist is denied by the law because what they are advocating - the right to love and live with who you want - is a criminal offence.
AI is uniquely placed to consolidate this international movement by helping to provide safe spaces for discussion and networking, by helping to protect the spece in which LGBT right defenders can work, and by sharing its skills in research, campaigning and advocacy.
AI can offer the LGBT rights movement the support of its international activist membership, with its wide-ranging experience and skills in aeas such as campaigning and lobbying the UN. It can offer the benefits of its near-global presence, its capacity for sustained country monitoring, and its international perspective.
International LGBT Network (ILGBT) of Amnesty International The LGBT Network has a Co-ordinating Team composed of volunteers from national LGBT networks and structures across the world. Current Co-ordinating Team members are from Canada - francophone section, France, Netherlands, Israel, Philippines, UK and the USA. The Steering Team's role is primarily one of co-ordination, and aims to:
- work with the International Secretariat to inform and promote focus on LGBT human rights violations in AI's strategy and policy, campaigns, reports,research, education and actions; - help facilitate national networks to share materials, skills or experiences with each other in order to foster greater AI LGBT presence and visibility;
- provide a focal point for international volunteer activism;
- to facilitate discussion on human rights issues across AI's structures and help achieve a common voice, message and strategy where appropriate
- to help facilitate network growth and education about LGBT human rights issues in all AI regions
By Amnesty International



John Boswell: The Church and the Homosexual: An Historical Perspective (1979)
"Homosexuality," Plato wrote, "is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce." This attitude of Plato's was characteristic of the ancient world, and I want to begin my discussion of the attitudes of the Church and of Western Christianity toward homosexuality by commenting on comparable attitudes among the ancients.
To a very large extent, Western attitudes toward law, religion, literature and government are dependent upon Roman attitudes. This makes it particularly striking that our attitudes toward homosexuality in particular and sexual tolerance in general are so remarkably different from those of the Romans. It is very difficult to convey to modern audiences the indifference of the Romans to questions of gender and gender orientation. The difficulty is due both to the fact that the evidence has been largely consciously obliterated by historians prior to very recent decades, and to the diffusion of the relevant material.
Romans did not consider sexuality or sexual preference a matter of much interest, nor did they treat either in an analytical way. An historian has to gather together thousands of little bits and pieces to demonstrate the general acceptance of homosexuality among the Romans.
One of the few imperial writers who does appear to make some sort of comment on the subject in a general way wrote, "Zeus came as an eagle to god­like Ganymede and as a swan to the fair­haired mother of Helen. One person prefers one gender, another the other, I like both." Plutarch wrote at about the same time, "No sensible person can imagine that the sexes differ in matters of love as they do in matters of clothing. The intelligent lover of beauty will be attracted to beauty in whichever gender he finds it." Roman law and social strictures made absolutely no restrictions on the basis of gender. It has sometimes been claimed that there were laws against homosexual relations in Rome, but it is easy to prove that this was not the case. On the other hand, it is a mistake to imagine that anarchic hedonism ruled at Rome. In fact, Romans did have a complex set of moral strictures designed to protect children from abuse or any citizen from force or duress in sexual relations. Romans were, like other people, sensitive to issues of love and caring, but individual sexual (i.e. gender) choice was completely unlimited. Male prostitution (directed toward other males), for instance, was so common that the taxes on it constituted a major source of revenue for the imperial treasury. It was so profitable that even in later periods when a certain intolerance crept in, the emperors could not bring themselves to end the practice and its attendant revenue.
Gay marriages were also legal and frequent in Rome for both males and females. Even emperors often married other males. There was total acceptance on the part of the populace, as far as it can be determined, of this sort of homosexual attitude and behavior. This total acceptance was not limited to the ruling elite; there is also much popular Roman literature containing gay love stories. The real point I want to make is that there is absolutely no conscious effort on anyone's part in the Roman world, the world in which Christianity was born, to claim that homosexuality was abnormal or undesirable. There is in fact no word for "homosexual" in Latin. "Homosexual" sounds like Latin, but was coined by a German psychologist in the late 1 9th century. No one in the early Roman world seemed to feel that the fact that someone preferred his or her own gender was any more significant than the fact that someone preferred blue eyes or short people. Neither gay nor straight people seemed to associate certain characteristics with sexual preference. Gay men were not thought to be less masculine than straight men and lesbian women were not thought of as less feminine than straight women. Gay people were not thought to be any better or worse than straight people-an attitude which differed both from that of the society that preceded it, since many Greeks thought gay people were inherently better than straight people, and from that of the society which followed it, in which gay people were often thought to be inferior to others.
If this is an accurate picture of the ancient world the social structure from which Western culture is derived-then where did the negative ideas now common regarding homosexuality come from? The most obvious answer to this question, and the one which has most generally been given in the past, is that Christianity is responsible for the change. There is an historical coincidence that seems to lend some credence to this idea- namely that when Christianity appears on the scene that this tolerance spoken of earlier disappears and that general acceptance of homosexuality becomes much less common.
It should be obvious, however, that Christianity alone is not likely to be responsible for this change. (One notes, for instance, that the places in the world today where gay people suffer the most violent oppression happen to be the very places where Christianity is also least welcome.) First of all, I would like to dispose briefly of the notion that the Bible had something to do with Christian attitudes toward gay people. From an historical vantage point, it is easy to do so, but I realize that for people who live by the Bible more must be said about it than what an historian can observe. An historian can simply note that there is no place in the writings of the Early or High Middle Ages where the Bible seems to be the origin of these prejudices against gay people. Where any reason is given for the new hostility. sources other than the Bible are cited. As a matter of fact, from an historical perspective, the Bible would be the last source one would look at after examining growing hostility toward gay people, but so many people have a feeling that the Bible is somehow involved that its teachings on the subject matter must be addressed in detail.
Most serious biblical scholars now recognize that the story of Sodom was probably not intended as any sort of comment on homosexuality. It certainly was not interpreted as a prohibition of homosexuality by most early Christian writers. In the modern world, the idea that the story refers to the sin of inhospitality rather than to sexual failing was first popularized in 1955 in Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition' by D.S. Bailey, and since then has increasingly gained the acceptance of scholars. Modern scholars are a little late: almost all medieval scholars felt the story of Sodom was a story about hospitality. This is indeed, not only the most obvious interpretation of it but also the one given to it in most other biblical passages. It is striking, for example, that although Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned in about two dozen different places in the Bible (other than Genesis 19 where the story is first told), in none of these places is homosexuality associated with the Sodomites.
The only other places that might be adduced from the Old Testament against homosexuality are Deuteronomy 23:17 and Kings 14:24, and­-doubtless the best know n places Leviticus 18:20 and 20: 13, where a man's sleeping the asleep of women" with men is labelled ritual impurity for Jews. None of these was cited by early Christians against homosexual behavior. Early Christians had no desire to impose the levitical law on themselves or anyone else. Most non­Jewish Christians were in fact appalled by most of the strictures of the Jewish law and were not about to put themselves under what they considered the bondage of the old law. St. Paul says again and again that we must not fall back on the bondage of the old law, and in fact goes so far as to claim that if we are circumcised (the cornerstone of the old law), Christ will profit us nothing. The early Christians were not to bind themselves to the strictures of the old law. The Council of Jerusalem, held around 50 A.D. and recorded in Acts 15, in fact took up this issue specifically and decided that Christians would not be bound by any of the strictures of the old law except for which they list - none of which is related to homosexuality.
In the New Testament we find no citations of Old Testament strictures. We do, however, find three places­-I Corinthians 6:9, I Timothy 1:10 and Romans 1:26­27­­which might be relevant. Again, I'll be brief in dealing with these. The Greek word malakos in I Cor. 6:9 and I Tim. 1 :10, which Scholars in the 20th century have deemed to refer to some sort of homosexual behavior, was universally used by Christian writers to refer to masturbation until about the 15th or 16th century. Beginning in the 15th century many people were bothered by the idea that masturbators were excluded from the kingdom of heaven. They did not, however, seem to be too upset by the idea of excluding homosexuals from the kingdom of heaven, so malakos was retranslated to refer to homosexuality instead of masturbation. The texts and words remained the same, but translators just changed their ideas about who should be excluded from the kingdom of heaven.
The remaining passage - Romans 1:26-7 - does not suffer by and large from mistranslation, although you can easily be misled by the phrase "against nature." This phrase was also interpreted differently by the early church. St. John Chrysostom says that St. Paul deprives the people he is discussing of any excuse. observing of their women that "they changed the natural use. No one can claim, Paul points out, that she came to this because she was precluded from lawful intercourse or that because she was unable to satisfy her desire....Only those possessing something can change it. Again he points the same thing out about men but in a different way? saying they 'left the natural use of women.' Likewise, he casts aside with these words every excuse, charging that they not only had legitimate enjoyment and abandoned it, going after another but that spurning the natural, they pursued the unnatural." What Chrysostom is getting at, and he expounds on it at great length, is the idea that St. Paul was not writing about gay people but about heterosexual people, probably married who abandoned the pleasure they were entitled to by virtue of their own natures for one to which they were not entitled. This is reflected in the canons imposing penances for homosexual activity, which through the 16th century were chiefly directed toward married persons. Little is said of single people.
Perhaps the most significant element of the passage is that it introduced into Christian thought the notion that homosexual relations were "against nature." What Paul, however, seems to have meant was unusual not against natural law, as it is so often interpreted The concept of natural law was not fully developed until almost 1,200 years later. All that Paul probably meant to say was that it was unusual that people should have this sort of sexual desire. This is made clear by the fact that in the same epistle in the 11th chapter, God Himself is in fact described as acting "against nature" in saving the Gentiles. It is therefore inconceivable that this phrase connotes moral turpitude.
One may well ask whether the thundering silence on the subject in the New Testament does not indicate something about the attitude of early Christians toward homosexuality? As an historian, I would say no. Most of the literature of this period, especially legal and moral guidance, is silent on the purely affective aspects of human life. In the New Testament Jesus, St. Paul, and the other writers are generally responding to questions regarding social and moral problems posed to them by a predominantly heterosexual society. People asked them questions about divorce, widows, property, etch and they answered these questions. Most of Jesus' moral commentary, especially about sexuality is in response to specific questions put to him. Jesus does not appear to be giving detailed guidelines on all aspects of human life, especially not affective life, but rather to be offering general principles. There is almost no comment anywhere in the Bible about loving your children; there are few comments about friendship; and there is not a single comment about what we know as "romantic love," although this is the basis of modern Christian marriage in our own church as well as the entire Christian community.
There are some reasons for the hostility toward homosexuality which now seem characteristic of the Christian community, and I want to mention them. First of all, I want to dispose of what might seem the most likely primary reason for hostility toward homosexuality-namely, general opposition to non-procreative sexuality. There was indeed on the part of many early Christians a feeling of hostility toward any form of sexuality which was not potentially procreative. This cannot, however, be shown to stem from Christian principles. Among other things, there is not a word within the Old Testament or the New about non-procreative sexuality among married persons, and, indeed, most Jewish commentators have agreed that anything was licit between husband and wife. It is a well-established principle in several social science disciplines that there is, however, a class­related prejudice against non-procreative sexual acts, and one would expect to find this among lower class Christians as among any lower class group of the society. Among theologians, explicit rejection of all non-procreative sexuality, does not relate directly to attitudes toward gay people. The theologians of the early church were attempting to impress on all Christians that they had to see every act of heterosexual intercourse as the potential creation of a child. No effective means of birth control was known in this world (except for abstinence)-not even the rhythm method. The only way to avoid having children was to kill or abandon them. Theologians therefore wished to persuade Christian parents that they had to be responsible for the creation of a child every time they had sexual pleasure. The only other alternatives in their world-the world in which the early theology of the church was formulated-were morally unacceptable. Now the original aim of this approach, it appears, was only to protect children. It was not to attack homosexuality. Indeed, it was a very long time before this notion spilled over into homosexuality, but it eventually did.
As late as the eleventh and twelfth centuries, there appears to be no conflict between a Christian life and homosexuality. Gay life is everywhere in the art, poetry, music, history, etc. of the 11th and 12th centuries. The most popular literature of the day even heterosexual literature, is about same­sex lovers of one sort or another. Clerics were at the forefront of this revival of the gay culture. St. Aelred, for instance, writes of his youth as a time when he thought of nothing but loving and being loved by men. He became a Cistercian abbot, and incorporated his love for men into his Christian life by encouraging monks to love each other, not just generally, but individually and passionately He cited the example of Jesus and St. John as guidance for this. 'Jesus himself," he said, "in everything like us. patient and compassionate with others in every matter, Transfigured this sort of love through the expression of his own love. for he allowed only one - not al l- to recline on his breast as a sign of his special love; and the closer they were, the more copiously did the secrets of their heavenly marriage impart the sweet smell of their spiritual chrism to their love."
After the twelfth century Christian tolerance and acceptance of gay love seems to disappear with remarkable rapidity. The writings of St. Aelred disappeared because they were kept locked up in Cistercian monasteries until about eight years ago, when for the first time Cistercians could again read them. Beginning about 1150, for reasons I cannot adequately explain, there was a great upsurge in popular intolerance of gay people. There were also at this time violent outbursts against Jews, Muslims, and witches. Women were suddenly excluded from power structures to which they had previously had access-no longer able, for example, to attend universities in which they had previously been enrolled. double monasteries for men and women were closed. There was suspicion of everyone. In 1 180 the Jews were expelled from France.
The change was rapid. In England in the 12th century there were no laws against Jews and they occupied prominent positions, but by the end of the 13th century, sleeping with a Jew was equated with sleeping with an animal or with murder, and in France Jews, according to St. Louis, were to be killed on the spot if they questioned the Christian faith. During this time there are many popular diatribes against gay people as well, suggesting that they molest children, violate natural law, are bestial? and bring harm to nations which tolerate them. Within a single century. between the period of 1250 and 1350, almost every European state passed civil laws demanding death for a single homosexual act. This popular reaction affected Christian theology a great deal. Throughout the 12th century homosexual relations, had, at worst, been comparable to heterosexual fornication for married people, and, at best, not sinful at all. During the 13th century, because of this popular reaction, writers like Thomas Aquinas tried to portray homosexuality as one of the very worst sins, second only to murder.
It is very difficult to describe how this came about. St. Thomas tried to show that homosexuality was opposed to nature in some way, the most familiar objection being that nature created sexuality for procreation and using it for any other purpose would violate nature. Aquinas was much too smart for this argument. In the Summa Contra Gentiles he asks, "Is it sinful to walk on your hands when nature intended them for something else?" No, indeed it is not sinful, so he shifted ground. This is obviously not the reason that homosexuality is sinful; he looks for another. First he tried arguing that homosexuality must be sinful because it impedes the reproduction of the human race. But this argument also failed, for, Aquinas noted in the Summa Theologica, "a duty may be of two sorts: it may be enjoined on the individual as a duty which cannot be ignored without sin, or it may be enjoined upon a group. In the latter cases no one individual is obligated to fulfill the duty. The commandment regarding procreation applies to the human race as a whole! which is obligated to increase physically. It is therefore sufficient for the race if some people undertake to reproduce physically." Moreover, Aquinas admitted in the Summa Theologica that homosexuality was absolutely natural to certain individuals and therefore inculpable. In what sense, then, could he argue that it was unnatural? In a third place he concedes that the term "natural" in fact has no moral significance, but it is simply a term applied to things which are strongly disapproved of. "Homosexuality," he says, "is called 'the unnatural vice' by the common people, and hence it may be said to be unnatural." This was not an invention of Aquinas'. It was a response to popular prejudices of the time. It did not derive its authority from the Bible or from any previous tradition of Christian morality, but it eventually became part of Catholic theological thought. These attitudes have remained basically unchanged because there has been no popular support for change in the matter. The public has continued to feel hostility to gay people and the church has been under no pressure to re­examine the origins of its teachings on homosexuality.
It is possible to change ecclesiastical attitudes toward gay people and their sexuality because the objections to homosexuality are not biblical, they are not consistent, they are not part of Jesus' teaching; and they are not even fundamentally Christian. It is possible because Christianity was indifferent, if not accepting, of gay people and their feelings for a longer period of time than it had been hostile to them. It is possible because the founders of the religion specifically considered love to transcend accidents of biology and to be the end, not the means. It may not be possible to eradicate intolerance from secular society, for intolerance is, to some extent ineradicable; but I believe the church's attitude can and must be changed. It has been different in the past and it can be again. Plato observed of secular society nearly 2,400 years ago that "wherever it has been established that it is shameful to be involved in homosexual relationships, this is due to evil on the part of the legislatures, to despotism on the part of the rulers and to cowardism on the part of the governed."
I don't think we can afford to be cowardly. We have an abundance of ecclesiastical precedent to encourage the church to adopt a more positive attitude. We must use it. As a gay archbishop wrote in the 12th century, "it is not we who teach God how to love, but He who taught us. He made our natures full of love." A contemporary of his wrote, "Love is not a crime. If it were wrong to love, God would not have bound even the divine to love." These statements came from the Christian community, from Christian faith. That community can and must be reminded of its former beliefs, its former acceptance. And we must do the reminding.



There was much homoerotic poetry in both Arabic and Hebrew writing in Muslim Spain The basic texts of the Hebrew poets are discussed in Norman Roth, `"Deal Gently with the young mna": Love of Boys in Medieval Hebrew Poetry of Spain", Speculum 57:1 (1982), 20-51. It is a brilliant article and one from which I can give only a couple of examples.
Yishaq ben Mar-Saul (Lucena, 11th century)
Yishaq ben Mar-Saul was apparently the first Hebrew poet to have written in this genre. It should be noted that in both Hebrew and Arabic poetry of the period, "gazelle" (sevi) is a metaphore for a young male.
Gazelle desired in Spain
wondrously formed,
Given rule and dominion
over every living thing. Lovely of form like the moon
with beautiful stature
Curls of purple
upon shining temple.
Like Joseph in his form
like Adoniah his hair
Lovely of eyes like David,
he has slain me like Uriah
He has enflamed my passions
and consumed my heart with fire.
Because of him I have been left
without understanding and wisdom.
Weep with me every ostrich
and every hawk and falcon!
The beloved of my soul has slain me --
is this a just sentence
Because of him my soul is sick,
perplexed and yearning.
His speech upon my heart
is like dew upon a parches land.
Draw me from the pit of destruction
that I go down to Hell
Roth, p. 31.
Isaac Ibn Abraham (12th century)
Roth's article only goes up the 12th century, although sevi poetry was written by later poets such as Judah al-Hazari and Todros Abulafia. The last example Roth gives is also one of the best.
The secret of love, how can it be contained
The heart and the tear are talebearers.
The heart is restrained from what it seeks,
Shut up and be passion of him besieged,
Unable to obtain its desire.
If it presumes to attain to the stars,
Its pride is brought down, laid low.
Beloved like a hart, with heart of a panther,
If you desire to slay,
My heart is in your hand as clay.
But do not summon wanderings upon it.
For in its midst your name is sheltered.
Beloved, like a scarlet cord his lips,
Burining like fire for they are his censer,
And in them is the work of his signs.
Live by them, for it waits for them --
A heart long suffering because of them.
How my fate has hardened its spirit.
A while and separation will cause it to be odious
To my friends who knew its thoughts.
If wandering has separated us,
It has increased love.
I will watch for the gazelle
To leave in the garden my pleasures,
Although my rebuker stands to accuse me.



The History of Same-Sex Marriage
Βy William N. Eskridge
here is strong evidence demonstrating the existence of same-sex unions, including legally recognized marriages, in Native American, African, and Asian cultures. I shall not attempt to survey all the cultures here and shall instead introduce three recurring patterns: same-sex marriages with gender-bending berdaches; same-sex unions serving social, economic, and companionate needs; and male same-sex marriages for purposes of maintaining a family lineage.
Same-Sex Marriages with Berdaches
Accounts by stunned Spanish explorers, missionaries, and bureaucrats provide early evidence of same-sex relationships and marriages in the Americas. Francisco Lopez de Gomara's History of the Indies (1552), one of many examples, reported that "the men marry other men who are impotent or castrated and go around like women, perform their duties and are used as such and who cannot carry or use the bow." Same-sex unions between women were also reported: Pedro de Magalhaes's The Histories of Brazil (1576) described Native American women in northeastern Brazil who "give up all the duties of women and imitate men, and follow men's pursuits as if they were not women.... [E]ach has a woman to serve her, to whom she says she is married, and they treat each other and speak with each other as man and wife."
What these accounts describe is the berdache tradition, which was institutionalized in the West Indies and throughout what is now the United States, as well as in the Aztec, Mayan, and Incan civilizations. The Native American berdache is a person who deviates from his or her traditional gender role, taking on some of the characteristics and perceived responsibilities of the opposite sex. The berdache does not, however, cross gender lines so much as mix them. Indeed, many Naive American cultures considered berdaches to be a third sex. Most important for the present study, berdaches (like We'wha) married individuals of the same sex, and those marriages were recognized by Native American laws and cultures.
Outsiders' depictions of the Native American berdache have often been colored by their antihomosexual attitudes. The accounts of Spanish authors such as those quoted above usually expressed shock and offered Native American same-sex unions as evidence of these cultures' barbarism, which they sought to correct. Until the twentieth century, accounts by Western anthropologists suppressed the tradition. The first detailed academic study focusing on Native American same-sex unions was George Devereux's article on the Mohave berdaches. Devereux reported that gender-crossing men (alyha) and women (hwame) had long been tolerated by the Mohave and that their samesex marriages were institutionalized and socially accepted. Thus, under tribal custom and law alyha married (and divorced) men and hwame married (and divorced) women.
Ethnographers and anthropologists studying the culture and evolution of various Native American tribes throughout this century discovered similar berdache institutions. In The Spirit and the Flesh Walter Williams draws from earlier accounts as well as his own field work and synthesizes existing scholarship probing the Native American berdache tradition. Williams concludes that berdaches have been an accepted and in fact valued part of culture and law in a large majority of Native American tribes. Most academic attention has been focused on male berdaches, like We'wha, who frequency became revered leaders in their communities. Often, a male child was consciously raised to be a berdache who would assume a special role in the community, mediating between the spiritual and physical worlds. Marriages between men and male berdaches were widespread among Native American cultures. As a general matter, same-sex marriages tended to conform to traditional Native American marriage patterns, in which labor was divided between the wife, who kept house, and the husband, who hunted and directed the household. The men who married male berdaches were usually attracted to women as well as to men and were not themselves considered berdaches. Many such men preferred berdache wives for economic reasons, as berdaches would not only do the housework but also help with hunting and other traditionally male activities. While some men believed that marrying a berdache guaranteed greater marital stability, others pursued male berdaches on the basis of simple sexual attraction.
Although they have received less academic attention, female berdaches represented an important cultural institution in most Native American communities. Like her male counterpart, the female berdache assumed many of the responsibilities traditionally performed by the opposite sex, including hunting and heading a household. And she would commonly marry another woman. Female berdaches and woman-woman marriages were integral to women's ability to achieve a higher status in most Native American cultures. Thus, a female berdache would marry a non-berdache woman and would assume a position as head of the household, accepting responsibility for hunting and other traditionally "male" jobs.
Most American scholarship about berdaches draws from Native American cultures, but the phenomenon is worldwide. According to en authoritative survq of sexual practices around the wodd in 1951:
In 49 (64 percent) of the 76 societies other than our own for which information is available, homosexual activities of one sort or another are considered normal and socially acceptable for certain members of the community....
In many cases this [same-sex] behavior occurs within the framework of courtship and marriage, the man who takes the part of the female being recognized as a berdache and treated as a woman. In other words, a genuine rnateship is involved.
Anthropological fieldwork since 1951 has not only confirmed but deeply elaborated on this observation. Particular attention has been paid to the mugawe of the Kenyan Meru, the Siberian Chuckchee, Tahitian mahus, and the Indian hijras. With the exception of the hijras, the unions of these berdaches to people of the same sex have been treated by their indigenous cultures as culturally and legally recognized marriages.
Functional Same-Sex Unions
Same-sex unions in non-Western cultures have typically served companionate, economic, or cultural functions. This section will sample several prominent examples of same-sex unions that display different kinds of functions. Often arising in homosocial situations, the following examples involve bonding between two people of the same sex. The bonding may be sexual, but its main functions transcend the partners' intimacy. The unions serve important functions for the partners:: economic, professional, or social in nature. The unions may be temporary and are not necessarily legal marriages, though they usually involve marriage-like features and even terminology.
Military "Wives. " The most common functional union in history involves pair bonding in military settings. Many societies have institutionalized same-sex relationships, akin to the Achilles-Patroclus and Gilgamesh-Enkidu relationships of ancient myth, among warriors or soldiers. The samurai warriors of feudal and Tokagawa Japan went to battle accompanied by apprentice warrior-lovers." Literary sources, such as The Great Mirror of Male Love by Ihara Saikaku, depict these relationships as highly choreographed and romantic, with strong loyalty on each side. The beginning of a relationship between an apprentice (wakashu) and a samurai involved a formal exchange of written and spoken vows, giving the relationship a marriage-like status. Each participant promised to love the other in this life and the next-one step beyond our "till death do us part." As in marriage, sex was only one element of the samurai relationship. The samurai was supposed to provide social backing, emotional support, and a model of manliness for the apprentice. In exchange, the latter was expected to be worthy of his lover by being a good student of samurai manhood.
The warrior tradition epitomized by the samurai can be illustrated in African cultures even more vividly. E. E. Evans-Pritchard documented the institution of "boy wives" for military men among the Azande in what is now Sudan. The Azande considered the relationship a marriage both legally and culturally. The warrior paid bride-price (some five spears or more) to the parents of his boy and performed services for them as he would have done had he married their daughter (if he proved to be a good son-in-law they might later replace the son by a daughter). Also, if another man had relations with his boy, he could sue him at court for adultery. The warrior addressed the boy as diare (wife), and the boy addressed the warrior as kumbami (husband). The relationship was both sexual (the warrior would have intercourse with the boy between his thighs) and functional (the boy performed traditional wifely duties such as housekeeping). Anthropologists have reported finding similar institutions in other African societies.
Companionate Unions. Marriage-like same-sex unions have been documented in China during the Yuan and Ming dynasties (12641644).5΅ Useful evidence comes from the widely read seventeenth-century stories of Li Yu. Many of his stories speak openly and approvingly of companionate love affairs between men, a practice particularly associated with Fujian and other provinces in southern China. In at least one story Li Yu relates the tragic romance of two men (Jifang and Ruiji) who become "husband and wife." In describing the couple's wedding, Li Yu goes out of his way to emphasize that the couple adhered to the formal requisites of marriage (bride-price, the various wedding rituals), giving some indication that similar same-sex marriages were common in southern China and perhaps elsewhere in the region. It has been inferred from Li Yu's work and other evidence that there were "institutionalized relationships betvveen males in some areas, and that these relationships were often expressed in terms of marriage and carried out in [the same] social forms connected with 'regular' marriage." Same-sex relationships elsewhere were celebrated as "brotherly" unions, "sworn friendships ' and even adoptions, that is, as close but platonic relationships reminiscent of those solemnized in the early Christian Church's enfraternization ceremonies. Although the Manchus of the Qing dynasty sought to discourage same-sex relationships, outlawing same-sex eroticism in 1740, these alliances continued for generations after peaking in the seventeenth century.
Less is known of female same-sex unions in China. While some historians credit accounts of woman-woman unions during the Qing dynasty as evidence of marriage-like institutions, the first well-documented unions were those associated with the "marriage resistance movement" in southern China in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The development of China's international silk industry during this period helped many women attain their economic independence from men. After acquiring this newfound freedom, thousands of women renounced marriage and became sou hei (literally, "self-combers"). Upon deciding to become sou hei, a woman took a formal ceremonial vow to remain unwed at least for a time, moved out of her parents' house, and built "spinster houses" with other sou hei. These women formed sisterhoods in which small groups of women (typically five to seven) would bond together for mutual support and affection. Andrea Sankar reports that physical as well as emotional bonds often developed between two or three of the sisters.52 Other scholars believe that sisterhood relationships shared many attributes of marriage, including a ceremony with witnesses and a division of labor within the family unit.
Initiatory Unions. Same-sex relationships have also frequently served as social or even sexual initiations prefatory to marriage. An interesting example is the "mummy-baby" games among Basotho girls in Lesotho.s4 In contrast to women in many other African societies, those in Lesotho are particularly vulnerable, both economically and socially, because they are dependent on males who tend to be employed as migrant workers. For these women, relationships outside of marriage serve as important support networks, and young girls are initiated into such relationships beginning with mummy-baby games played in their grade school years. In a mummy-baby relationship, an older girl, acting as "mummy ' develops an intimate, maternal association with a younger one, the baby. Typically, the mummy presents gifts to the baby, who reciprocates by obeying and respecting the mummy. The two share emotional and informational exchanges and are physically, and sometimes sexually, intimate. Rather than displacing marriage, these relationships help to prepare younger girls for marriage, including its rockier moments. Scholars have documented similar female-female friendships in other African societies.
The most interesting example of same-sex initiation relationship is the "ritualized homosexuality" developed by aboriginal populations of Australia and the islands of Melanesia. This is the term anthropologist Gilbert Herdt uses to describe the events whereby a boy entering manhood would engage in a short-term sexual relationship with an older man.s6 By implanting his semen within the boy, the older man is thought to empower his younger partner, helping him to complete the journey to virility and manhood. According to Herdt, about fifty Melanesian Societies practice some form of ritualized homosexuality. In some communities the ritualized man-boy relationship serves as a prelude to a traditional different-sex marriage. "A most striking aspect of social organization in societies with ritualized male homosexuality concerns the overlap between marriage and homosexual relationships." That is, by inseminating a boy the older male is believed not only to 6cilitate the boy's passage into manhood but also to prepare him for his marriage to a woman. Many of the Melanesian societies institutionalizing this ritual treat marriage not as an exchange relationship involving the payment of bride-price but as a complex method of bonding two families. In keeping with this notion, some of these cultures require a boy seeking to enter into marriage with a woman to submit sexually to the woman's brother. "Thus, life force (as semen) flows between same-sex and different partners, linking individuals and groups in complex chains of mutual dependentcy and obligation."57
Woman Marriage and Female Husbands
A form of same-sex union that may be unique to African cultures is the institution of "woman marriage." Noted as a curiosity by earlier researchers, the institution was not given serious attention until anthropologists Eileen Jensen Krige and MelviDe Herskovits publicized it in the 1930s.55 The following is an early description of woman marriage among the Nuer of Sudan:
What seems to us, but not at all to the Nuer, a somewhat strange union is that in which a woman marries another woman and counts as the peter [father] of the children born of the wife. Such marriages are by no means uncommon in Nuerland, and they must be regarded as a form of simple legal marriage, for the woman-husband marries her wife in exactly the same way as a man marries a woman.... We may perhaps refer to this kind of union as woman-marriage.
A woman who marries in this way is generally barren, and for this reason counts in some respects as a man.... [I]f she is rich she may marry several wives. She is dheir legal husband and can demand damages if they have relations with men without her consent. She is the peter [father] of their children, and on the marriages of their daughters she receives the cattle which go to the father's side in the distribution of bridewealth. Her children are called after her, as though she were a man, and I was told that they address her as "father."
Krige describes woman marriage as "the institution by which it is possible for a woman to give bridewealth for, and marry, a woman, over whom and whose offspring she has full control, delegating to a male genitor the duties of procreation." She suggests that woman marriage is "closely bound up with rights and duties arising from the social structure" of the culture, a "flexible institution that can be utilized in a number of different ways to meet a number of different situations."60 For example, in African cultures where women occupy a high position and can acquire property or other forms of wealth, woman marriage is one way that a woman may strengthen her economic position and establish her household. Ifeyinwa Olinke, whose tale was recounted in the beginning of this chapter, was a powerful and prosperous woman in the Igbo society who advanced her position by taking many wives.
Woman marriages were common in Africa. "The term female husband . . . refers to a woman who takes on the legal and social roles of husband and father by marrying another woman according to the approved rules and ceremonies of her society . . . [and] she may belong to any one of over 30 African populations ' writes Denise O'Brien. She reports that the institution is most popular in three parts of Africa: (1) West Africa, especially Nigeria and Dahomey; (2) South Africa, including the Southern Bantu, on whom O'Brien reported; and (3) East Africa and the Sudan (the Nuer).62 In contrast to Krige's view that woman marriage empowers women, O'Brien's belief is that the institution helps keep women in their subordinate place. Woman marriage, she argues, is usually a social adaptation by which a male-dominated society allows powerful wealthy women to take a leadership role only if they assume the social role of a man, acting as husband and father. This debate resonates with similar discussions in the feminist, lesbian, and gay communities today. Is same-sex marriage liberating? Or does it ape attitudes that suppress women?
Contrast African woman marriage with the Native American berdache marriage, the Azande boy wife, and the Chinese sisterhood described earlier. The aforementioned same-sex unions involved companionate emotional bonds between the partners as well as traditional divisions of labor within the household. Although a woman marriage might occur for those reasons, it more typically occurs so that a woman can have children (heirs) through a surrogate.



The History of Same-Sex Marriage
By William Eskridge
The early Egyptian and Mesopotamian societies that are considered important antecedents for Western culture apparently tolerated same sex relationships in their culture, literature, and mythology. Evidence that these societies recognized same-sex marriage is speculative. Later, however, one finds more tangible evidence of same-sex marriage in classical Greece, imperial Rome, and medieval Europe. Same-sex relations were met in the later cultures with a mix of tolerance and anxiety.
Ancient Civilizations (Egypt and Mesopotamia)
Because there are so few surviving records pertaining to family and sexual matters, we know little of the specific practices of the most ancient cultures, namely, those of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and their environs. At the very least, one can say that the leading ancient cultures sometimes treated same-sex relationships similarly to marriages involving different-sex partners.
Information about Egyptian unions, whether partners were different or same sex, is indirect but suggestive. Some artifacts have depicted same-sex couples in intimate poses, suggesting that Egyptian society at some points in its history was accepting of same-sex relationships. For example, a tomb for two male courtiers of the Fifth Dynasty (about 2600 B.C.) includes bas-reliefs of the two men holding hands and embracing, with noses touching, poses that are strikingly more erotic than those seen in the depictions in Egyptian tombs of different-sex couples. Social historian David Greenberg argues that the men were lovers whose same-sex relationship was apparently accepted by the state, since the pharaoh provided their tomb. Indeed, the tomb of at least one pharaoh, the renowned Akhenaton (Ikhnaton), contains figures of the pharaoh and his male consort posed even more intimately
The most interesting evidence of same-sex unions in ancient Egypt is fascinatingly indirect. After living for several generations in Egypt, the Israelites (according to biblical tradition) fled that land, ultimately settling in Canaan near the end of the second millennium B.C. Their religion rejected many Egyptian mores. Chapter 18, verse 3 of the Old Testament Book of Leviticus admonished the Israelites to avoid the "doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt . . . neither shall ye walk in their ordinances." Verses 24 and 27 referred to those "doings" as "abominations" that defiled "the nations ' apparently Egypt and perhaps also Canaan. Verse 22 is more specific: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind. as with womankind: it is abomination."
The implication that same-sex intimacy was common in Egypt and Canaan is elaborated by the Sifra, a midrashic exegesis of Leviticus. The Sifra says of chapter 18:5
A. If "You shall not copy the practices of the land of Egypt . . . or of the land of Canaan:'
B. might one think that they are not to build their buildings or plant vineyards as they did?
C. Scripture says, "nor shall you follow their laws":
D. ''I have referred only to the rules that were made for them and for their father and their fathers' fathers."
E. And what would they do?
F. A man would marry a man, and a woman would marry a woman, a man would marry a woman and her daughter, a woman would be married to two men.
G. That is why it is said, "nor shall you follow their laws."
Given the parallel references to marriage by a man to a woman and her daughter and by a woman with two men, the author of this mid rash was using the term marry in its juridical sense. This evidence would suggest that same-sex unions at least functionally similar to marriages were accepted in Egypt and Canaan but not by the Israelites. Sifra is not, however, conclusive evidence of same-sex marriage in Egypt, because it was a biased account of Egyptian culture and was written long after the practices it describes. (Some scholars even doubt the accuracy of the Bible's account of the escape to Egypt.)
Mesopotamian mores pertaining to same-sex relationships are illustrated in the most celebrated of the Near Eastern myths, the Epic of Gilgamesh. Written through a collective process over several generations, the epic describes the relationship between Gilgamesh, the great powerful ruler of Uruk, and Enkidu, a male created by the gods to divert Gilgamesh from wreaking havoc in the world. Gilgamesh and Enkidu become comrades, friends, and lovers before Enkidu dim at the hands of the fates. Enkidu is often called Gilgamesh's "brother" (ahu), a term connoting family-like intimacy. Significantly, Gilgamesh's feeling for Enkidu is modeled on sexual attraction. In the two dreams chat presage the arrival of Enkidu, Gilgamesh takes pleasure in his vision of Enkidu as in a woman. The Assyrian version of the myth refers to Enkidu, "[I loved it, and like] a wife I caressed it."' When Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh mourns for him as a widow (literally, "a wailing woman") would have mourned and veils his corpse as if it were a bride. Because the Epic of Gilgamesh was a collective project and achieved great popularity in ancient times, one might infer that same-sex relationships had some resonance in the cultures of ancient Babylonia and Assyria. This inference is supported by evidence that several Mesopotamian monarchs (notably Hammurabi, the great Babylonian lawgiver) openly enjoyed male lovers. Moreover, the Almanac of Incantations contained prayers favoring, on an equal basis, the love of a man for a woman, a woman for a man, and a man for a man.
Consider also Mesopotamian statutes, which, unlike Egyptian laws, have been preserved. None of Mesopotamia's early legal codes-the Laws of Urukagina (2375 B.C.), the Laws of Ur-Nammu (2100 B.C.), the Laws of Eshnunna (1750 B.C.), the Laws of Hammurabi (1726 B.C.) and the Hittite Laws (around 800 B.C.)-prohibited or disapproved of same-sex relationships, even though sex and marriage were otherwise heavily regulated. On the other hand, the legal codes contained no provision sanctioning same-sex marriages, with one possible exception. Table I of the Hittite Laws regulated marriage, specifically the husband's payment of a bride-price to the wife. While it was assumed that this regulation applied to the advantage of free Hittite citizens, special provisions in Table I afforded explicit legal authority for slaves to obtain brides in this way; otherwise, slaves apparently could not marry. For example, section 34 stated: "If a slave gives the bride-price to a woman and takes her as his wife, no-one shall [make him] surrender her." According to one translation, section 36 then stated: "If a slave gives the bride-price to a free youth and takes him to dwell in his household as spouse, no-one shall [make him] surrender him." There has for generations been legitimate controversy over the correct reading of section 36. If the quoted reading were correct, a male slave with money (the brideprice) to pay for a male spouse could acquire one and could expect that the transaction would be enforceable at law. If a slave were allowed to do this, it went without saying that a free Hittite citizen could do the same.
Classical Greece and Pre-Christian Rome
Classical Greek culture was keenly interested in and developed rich cultural norms for same-sex relationships, some of which were close to marriages. Plato's Symposium is the first recorded essay in "the praise of Love" (line 1 77E), with love and relationships between men being its primary focus. One of the speakers, Pausanias, delivers an impassioned defense of companionate same-sex relationships:
Those who are inspired by . . . Love are attracted to the male: they find pleasure in what is by nature stronger and more intelligent. But, even within the group that is attracted to handsome boys, some are not moved purely by this heavenly Love; those who do not fall in love with little boys; they prefer older ones whose cheeks are showing the first traces of a beard-a sign that they have begun to form minds of their own. I am convinced that a man who falls in love with a young man of this age is generally prepared to share everything with the one he loves- he is eager, in fact, to spend the rest of his own life with him. (Lines 181C-D)
Likewise, Phaedrus praises unselfish love (agape), citing as examples Alcestis' willingness to die for her husband Admetus (lines 179BC) and Achilles' willingness to die for his lover Patroclus (lines 181C-D). This analogy suggests both the companionate feature of same-sex relationships and the formal distinction drawn by the author between same-sex relationships and different-sex marriage.
Historians of classical Greece and its romantic institutions consider the Symposium a reflection of the attitudes toward samesex relationships prevailing in at least some of the Greek city-states. In Athens and, it appears, other major city states, no law prohibited same-sex relationships. They were, in fact, institutionalized for free male citizens, who were expected to court and have a relationship with a boy in their early adulthood. While historians have not ventured to consider these relationships to be marriages, they have demonstrated that they often followed the same courtship rituals as marriages. A closer link between same-sex relationships and marriage was a ritualized same-sex courtship in Crete. The ancient geographer Strabo described the "peculiar laws regarding love" followed on that island, whereby two men would become "partners" (or "companions") after the abduction of one by the other, followed by a feast where the partners announced their mutual intentions before witnesses. Several historians have characterized these Cretan abduction ceremonies as same-sex "marriages." Another Greek island, Lesbos, gave the Western world the concept of female same-sex relationships, which probably had broader currency. Eva Cantarella believes that some of the lesbian relationships arising out of female collectives (thiasoi) were "initiation marriages" similar to the male same-sex unions common in the city states.
The consensus among historians is that republican Rome, like classical Greece, was tolerant of same-sex relationships. imperial Rome considered some of them marriages. The best documented are the same-sex marriages of Rome's emperors. Roman historian Suetonius reported, disapprovingly, that the first-century emperor Nero "went through a wedding ceremony with [Sporus]-dowry, bridal veil and all-which the whole Court attended; then brought him home and treated him as a wife. He dressed Sporus in fine clothes normally worn by an Empress and took him in his own litter not only to every Greek assize and fair, but actually through the Street of Images at Rome, kissing him amorously now and then." Later, a freedman, Pythagorus, "married [Nero]-just as he himself had married Sporus-and on his wedding night he imitated the screams and moans of a girl being deflowered." Dio Cassius, a historian and contemporary of Suetonius, confirmed Nero's marriages to these men and also provided a reliable account of the same-sex and opposite-sex marriages of third-century emperor Elagabalus. Indeed, it was said that men seeking advancement in Elagabalus's imperial court rushed to marry other men to curry favor with the emperor. Second-century emperor Hadrian was renowned throughout the ancient world for his wise and moderate reign and for his love of the tragic youth Antinous. Though not Hadrian's spouse, Antinous attained the status of legend and was commemorated for generations through sculpture, architecture, painting, and literature.
Other evidence indicates that same-sex marriages were not limited to Rome's emperors. The satirists Martial and Juvenal sarcastically noted the casual way in which men married other men by the end of the first century. "I have a ceremony to attend tomorrow morning in the Quirinial valley," says the interlocutor in Juvenal's Satires. "What sort of ceremony?" he is asked. The reply: "Nothing special: a friend is marrying another man and a small group is attending." Martial described the marriage of "bearded Callistratus" to the "brawny Afer ' complete with torches, wedding veil, songs, and dower. The novel Babylonica, an early exemplar of the pulp romance, has a subplot involving the passion of Egypt's Queen Berenice for the beautiful Mesopotamia, who was snatched from her. After one of the queen's servants rescued Mesopotamia from her abductors, "Berenice married Mesopotamia, and there was war between [the abductor] and Berenice on account of Mesopotamia." These and other references do not exclude the possibility that same-sex marriages were culturally or legally distinct from different-sex marriages, but they confirm the acceptance of same-sex unions in imperial Rome. The marriages of emperors such as Nero stand as examples of publicly celebrated same-sex marriages in the same period.
Christian Rome and the Middle Ages
The late Roman Empire grew less tolerant of same-sex unions than either the republic or the earlier empire had been. In 342 A.D., Rome adopted a statute that seemingly-but perhaps facetiously- prohibited same-sex marriages:
When a man "marries" in the manner of a woman, a "woman" about to renounce men, what does he wish, when sex has lost its significance; when the crime is one which it is not profitable to know; when Venus is changed into another form; when love is sought and not found? We order the statutes to arise, the bows to be armed with an avenging sword, that those infamous persons who are now, or who hereafter may be, guilty may be subjected to exquisite punishment.
While the statute reinforces the impression that same-sex marriages were not uncommon in the Roman Empire, it also evidences an anxiety about same-sex unions that antedated the fourth century. For example, Plutarch's Moralia, written in the second century, includes a heated dialogue filled with comments both for and against same-sex relationships, which suggests that their propriety was a matter of controversy. A subsequent anonymous dialogue enticed Affairs of the Heart was sympathetic to same-sex relationships but sharply distinguished them from marriage.
Imperial Rome's anxiety about same-sex relations was related to the institutionalization of companionate marriage, in which husband and wife were friends and marital partners in the creation of the family unit. The rise of companionate marriage also involved the linkage of procreation with sexual partnership. There might also be a connection between the aforementioned statute of 342 A.D. and the increasing influence of Christianity during the late Roman Empire. Inspired in part by its Judaic heritage (recall Leviticus, quoted earlier), the early Christian tradition advocated companionate different-sex marriage that served procreative purposes, and was correspondingly ambivalent about same-sex relationships. The major philosophical traditions of the Late Empire-Stoicism, Neo-Platonism, and Manichaeanism, all of which influenced Christianity-were intolerant of most forms of sexual pleasure and equivocal about the merits of same-sex relationships. Some of the Manichaeans, for example, thought homosexual pleasures worse than heterosexual ones since they did not reproduce the race, though others viewed same-sex relations more leniency.
The collapsing Roman Empire grew increasingly inhospitable to same-sex unions, and after Rome's fall in 476 A.D. state attitudes toward such unions became more hostile. In the surviving Eastern Empire, the Justinian Code of 533 A.D. flatly outlawed same-sex intimacy, placing it in the same category as adultery, both of which violated the then entrenched ideal of companionate different-sex marriage. In the remains of the Western Empire, the Visigoth state in Spain criminalized same-sex intimacy around 650 A.D. though most of the other Germanic states showed lithe interest in either advocating or decrying same-sex relationships. At first glance, it appears that the same-sex unions of the earlier Roman Empire had all but died out during the early Middle Ages. A closer look reveals the story to be more complicated.
The complication owes much to the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches' ambivalent responses to same-sex unions. During the early and high Middle Ages, the Church was doctrinally critical of same-sex erotic intimacy because it could not result in procreation and constituted sex outside of marriage. On the other hand, the Church favored same-sex companionate intimacy; agape between brothers, such as the love of Sergius and Bacchus, was the Christian ideal. Church practice thrust the faithful into "homosexual" environments (schools, monasteries, nunneries) that were sure to engender what we would today deem sexual responses. Erotic feelings repeatedly arose between teachers and students, clerics and their fellows and acolytes, yearnings chat are documented in a proliferation of love letters, poems, and stories written in the Middle Ages.
In the early Middle Ages the Church developed institutions, memorialized in liturgies included in its formal collections, that combined the Church's spiritual commitment to companionate relationships with its members' desire to bond with people of the same sex. The existence of Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox rituals of "brother-making" or "enfraternization" has been known in the academic literature for decades and was brought to my attention by the Reverend Alexei Michalenko.' Ceremonies creating these brotherhoods were performed for same-sex couples (often male missionary pairs) from the fifth century onward. According to Church archives, these early liturgies were typically structured as follows:
¥ The couple stand in front of the lectern, on which are placed the Gospel and a cross. The older of the brothers stands to the right.
¥ The ceremony starts off with prayers and litanies celebrating earlier examples of same-sex couples or friends in the early Church. Sergius and Bacchus were the most frequency invoked precedent.
¥ The couple is girded with a single belt, signifying their union as one, and they place their hands on the Gospel and receive lit candles.
¥ The priest reads from one of Paul's episodes (1 Cor 12:27 £) and the Gospel (John 17:1016), which are followed by more prayers.
¥ The assembled are led in the Lord's Prayer, followed by Holy Communion, the Eucharist, for the couple. The priest leads the couple, who are holding hands, around the lectern while the assembled sing a hymn.
¥ The couple exchange a kiss, and the service concludes with the singing of Psalm 132:1 ("Behold how good and sweet it is for brothers to live as one").
Significantly, this early brotherhood liturgy was acted out in formal terms very similar to the liturgy later developed by the Church for the purpose of performing different-sex marriages.
The main difference between the brotherhood liturgy and the one originally used to wed different-sex couples is that the former emphasizes the companionate (see Psalm 132) rather than the procreative (see Psalm 127) nature of the relationship. Hence, rather than orating on procreation, one version of the enfraternization liturgy read as follows:
O Almighty Lord, you have given to man to be made from the first in Your Image and Likeness by the gift of immortal life. You have willed to bind as brothers not only by nature but by bonds of the spirit Your most celebrated Apostles Peter, the Chief of them all, and Andrew; James and John the Sons of Zebedee; Philip and Batholomew. You made as very brothers Your Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, Cosmas and Damien, Cyrus and John. Bless Your Servants united also that, not bound by nature, [they be] joined with bonds of love. Grant them a love mutual and without offense and a brotherhood upset by naught of hatred all the days of their lives, through the might of Your All-Holy Spirit and through the intercession of our All-Holy spotless ever-Virgin Lady....
The precise significance of these enfraternization liturgies remains mysterious. They may have simply been friendship ceremonies or send-offs for missionaries. Medieval historian John Boswell argues for a broader reading, however.
Expanding on earlier academic examinations of enfraternization liturgies and suggestions from Reverend Michalenko, Boswell uncovered a large variety of manuscript versions of Christian same-sex union liturgies in libraries and ecclesiastical collections throughout Europe. Although his earlier claim that these liturgies are identical to same-sex marriages was overstated, he has argued that there are tangible connections between the liturgies of same-sex unions and different-sex marriages. The same-sex union ceremonies are usually located right after different-sex marriage ceremonies in the liturgical collections Boswell consulted. As previous scholarship had established, the same-sex ceremonies are structurally and thematically similar to the different-sex ones, but Boswell insists on a more ambitious connection. "[I]n the case of the same-sex ceremony, standing together at the altar with their right hands joined (the traditional symbol of marriage), being blessed by the priest, sharing Communion, and holding a banquet for family and friends afterward all parts of same-sex union in the Middle Ages-most likely signified a marriage in the eyes of ordinary Christians." Critics contest this claim and find much of Boswell's argumentation "tendentious." Notwithstanding these criticisms, which strike me as fair but not conclusive, it seems likely that the Church did sanction these brotherhood ceremonies and that there is some likelihood that the brothers so joined enjoyed relationships of affinity and erotic possibilities.



Parentalidad y homosexualidad.
por J.L. Pedreira Massa , Rodríguez Piedra, R. , Seoane Lago, A.

La parentalidad en o durante la homosexualidad de las figuras parentales es un tema de gran interés en el momento actual y necesitamos serenidad y rigor científico para poder acceder a un análisis con un mínimo de variables extrañas que sesgarían los resultados y dificultaría sobremanera obtener criterios razonablemente fundamentados.
Un dato incontrovertible, hoy por hoy, es la indudable mayor facilidad para acceder a la parentalidad en la homosexualidad femenina, dado que con las técnicas FIV con semen heterólogo de bancos de semen resulta abordable y totalmente legal, pues no se indaga acerca de la sexualidad de base de las mujeres que optan a este tipo de maternidad.
Frente a esta situación de facto, existe una dificultad de evaluación objetiva del conjunto de la situación, pues existen muchos elementos exteriores al proceso de investigación que actúan como variables extrañas. Estas variables extrañas tienen una gran potencia e influencia pudiendo llegar a ejercer verdaderos sesgos, tales como la ideología dominante, la ideología de determinados sectores de investigadores y de profesionales que se ven influidos por las presiones de esta pertenencia ideológica, más allá del análisis frío, científico y profesional. Ocurren, por lo tanto, interferencias entre ambos niveles de gran impacto y sesgan, sino los resultados, sí las interpretaciones de esos mismos resultados. Lo que nos hace coincidir con Victoria Camps (2001): “Las religiones siempre tienen respuestas. Desde la ética láica, tenemos que ir contruyéndolas”.
El “reconocimiento” del matrimonio homosexual supondrá, de hecho está influyendo el mero anuncio de su inclusión legal, un punto de inflexión para poder abordar esta nueva situación social y jurídica. Esta nueva realidad, hoy sólo posible en Los Países Bajos y Bélgica y pronto en España, hace que pase a un segundo plano la cierta marginalidad de la práctica homosexual y, por lo tanto, se pueda normalizar la forma de acceder a analizarlo abordando sus múltiples matices, incluido el ejercicio de la parentalidad.Más complicado resulta el lugar de la transexualidad. Un ejemplo lo puede ejemplarizar: un hombre transexual decide cambio de sexo, lo lleva a cabo legalmente por intervenciones quirúrgicas y endocrionológicas, y se une/casa con otro hombre.
En este caso ¿qué diferencia hay con la parentalidad homosexual a la hora de una investigación en profundidad? Bien es sabido que existe, en lo externo un cambio de sexo y, por lo tanto, la relación hombre-hombre o mujer-mujer pudiera enmascarse, al menos en cierta medida siempre y cuando se lleven a efecto las recomendaciones de alejamiento geográfico o cambio de su vivienda habitual.En lo tocante a los niñ@s hay que recordar que la Convención de los Derechos de la Infancia, aprobada por la Asamblea General de la ONU el 20 de noviembre de 1989, ratificada por España en 1990 y desarrollada por el Parlamento Español en la Ley 1/96, se reconoce el derecho de la infancia a tener una familia, un nombre y un hogar. Por lo tanto este derecho es superior al de permanecer en una institución. Pero, además, hay toda una serie de estudios a nivel nacional e internacional que destacan los efectos poco satisfactorios de la institucionalización precoz de los niñ@s para el desarrollo psicológico y psicosocial, emocional y afectivo, a nivel tanto personal como relacional. Aquí reside la acción benéfica de los procedimientos de adopción por parte de parejas estables que les aporten familia, hogar, afecto y educación.
Resumen de estudios existentes
La influyente Asociación Americana de Psiquiatría ha refrendado con una declaración institucional diversos estudios sobre la homoparentalidad realizados en años precedentes por diversos equipos de investigadores, como Charlotte Patterson en la Universidad de Virginia y los ya clásicos de Fiona Tasker en el Reino Unido . Las investigaciones de Judith Stacey y Timothy Biblarz de la Universidad del Sur de California aportan actualizados datos científicos desde la perspectiva de los roles sociales y sexuales en el desempeño de la parentalidad fundamentando las declaraciones que previamente había emitido la Asociación Americana de Psicología (1976 y 1998) . También grupos de defensa de los derechos de la infancia como Child Welfare League of America y North American Council on Adoptable Children había elaborado un documento sobre el particular en el año 1998; en este grupo hay que resaltar la excelente recopilación de estudios realizada por la organización confesional Religious Tolerance . Las últimas declaraciones institucionales en emitir sus cualificadas opiniones oficiales habían sido la Asociación Americana de Pediatría (febrero de 2002) y la Asociación Americana de Psicoanálisis (junio de 2002).
En Francia existe un relevante debate parlamentario en torno al tema en la actualidad. A nivel académico se ha realizado una Tesis doctoral en el año 2000, presentada en la Universidad de Burdeos dirigida por el Prof. Bouvard y realizada por el Paidopsiquiatra Stéphane Nadaud , que incluye el seguimiento de 58 niñ@s de una cuarentena de parejas homoparentales que ejercían la guarda legal y se actualiza en la publicación posterior de un libro sobre el tema donde arriesga desde la formulación del título: La homoparentalidad: ¿Una nueva oportunidad para la familia?.
En España el Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid y el Departamento de Psicología Evolutiva de la Universidad de Sevilla han realizado un estudio financiado por la Oficina del Defensor del Menor de la Comunidad de Madrid, siendo su Presidente el Sr. Ruiz Gallardón, cuyos resultados se han venido presentando en diversos foros científicos y profesionales españoles durante los dos últimos años . Una completa revisión sobre la bibliografía del tema ha sido realizada por Portugal y Aráuxo y por Frías, Pascual y Monteverde con anterioridad . Basados en estos tres últimos trabajos y en nuestra propia búsqueda bibliográfica, hemos sistematizado las características investigadas en los diferentes trabajos científicos en los que no había diferencias significativas entre los hij@s de familias homoparentales en relación a los hij@s de familias convencionales heteroparentales, algunos datos en que aventajan los hij@s de familias homoparentales, así como algunos otros datos de interés, como los estudios relativos a la capacidad de ejercer la parentalidad de las parejas homosexuales en relación a las heteresexuales.
En resumen, las conclusiones básicas y coincidentes de todos estos estudios y declaraciones institucionales basadas en ellos son las siguientes: El desarrollo psico-social de los niñ@s adoptados y criados en familias homoparentales adquieren niveles cognitivos, de habilidades y competencias sociales, de relación con otros chic@s y personas adultas y de identidad sexual que son totalmente equiparables con los niñ@s que se educan y desarrollan en familias de corte heterosexual convencional. El trabajo desarrollado bajo los auspicios de la Comunidad de Madrid aporta dos conclusiones en las que había una pequeña diferencia, sin llegar a ser significativa estadísticamente : Los hij@s de parejas homoparentales mostraban una mayor tolerancia a la hora de aceptar vivencias sexuales diferenciadas (en concreto hacia la homosexualidad) y mostraban una mayor flexibilidad en la relación entre tareas del hogar y roles sexuales, ambos de un gran interés y proyección educativa a la hora del respeto y trasmisión de valores de convivencia y sociales.
Solamente tenemos constancia de un metanálisis realizado sobre este tema por el equipo formado por M. Allen y N.Burell del Departamento de Comunicación de la Universidad de Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1996). El contexto de dicho estudio se realiza para averiguar el impacto en los hijos, según la orientación sexual de los padres, en los procedimientos de protección y custodia, para lo que establecen la evaluación de las siguientes variables del estudio: Recogida de información en adultos (padres y profesores) y en niños sobren: Estilos de parentalidad, ajuste-desajuste emocional (psicopatología) y orientación sexual de los niños. Estos autores establecen que no existen diferencias en ninguna de las variables estudiadas entre los padres homosexuales y heterosexuales, teniendo para dicha afirmación un intérvalo de confianza del 99% para la media de las correlaciones, lo que indica que la posibilidad de diferencias mayores en base a muestras mayores entre ambas muestras son pequeñas. También afirman que el impacto de las figuras parentales en el desarrollo del niño es importante en muchos aspectos del desarrollo infantil, pero ese impacto no es significativo a la hora de determinar la futura orientación sexual del niño.
Un dato, más allá de la anécdota: la mayoría de los trabajos referidos con anterioridad han sido financiados por instituciones que buscaban, al amparo de la ciencia, resultados que justificaran sus creencias. Como los resultados obtenidos no fueron de su agrado, buscaron otros grupos de investigadores y volvieron a financiar nuevas investigaciones con el objetivo de desacreditar los primeros resultados, las muestras eran mayores, el diseño más complejo y... los nuevos estudios, financiados también por estos sectores, que eran definitivos según sus financiadores concluyeron reafirmando los primeros. Sin embargo, con obstinación, estos grupos limitan el alcance de las investigaciones o, en determinados casos, los descalifican o, lo que es peor, lo explican con razonamientos metodológicos sobre las muestras pequeñas o el poco tiempo de la investigación longitudinal, pero son excusas que no se sustentan dado que los trabajos referenciados han pretendido descalificarlos con razonamientos tan profundos como: “son otra cosa” sin especificar ni poder argumentar consistentemente sus posiciones, pues financiaron una investigación para conseguir razones, al no obtenerlas quedan al descubierto sus prejuicios y esas “sus” razones, las de los propios grupos de presión, quedan acientíficas y endebles por mucho que utilicen un lenguaje (pseudo)científico en su argumentación.
Existen trabajos con posiciones claramente en contra de la adopción homoparental, pero se constatan algunos errores de ética científica, como trasformar sus propias opiniones e interpretaciones, respetables por demás , en declaraciones de instituciones que no han expresado, al menos de forma oficial y pública, su postura como se constata en la citación que se hace a la AEP y que no se corresponde con las actas de sus dos últimas asambleas de los congresos 52º y 53º a solicitud de la Sección de Psiquiatría Infantil (32y 33). Este mismo trabajo linda con la malapraxis científica, al utilizar autores y trabajos citados por todas las revisiones y que aportan datos y conclusiones contrarias a las expresadas por esta autora, como fácilmente se observa al comparar la bibliografía de este trabajo con la de esta cita. Prueba de lo dicho es que el único artículo sobre el tema publicado en una publicación oficial de la AEP o de alguna Sociedad incluida en ella ha sido el editorial realizado por Gómez Arias (34) para la Publicación Oficial de la Asociación Española de Pediatría de Atención Primaria y los planteamientos expuestos en ese editorial son absolutamente divergentes con los expresados por la autora referida . Existe una carta al Director en esta última publicación como contestación y controversia a esta última cita bibliográfica , tiene el formato de artículo de opinión y controversia, donde se identifica con claridad un hilo argumental preconcebido, lo que hace que emerjan sesgos relevantes: Argumentación prolija, con ejemplos fuera de contexto de tipo general, lo que hace que aparezcan inferencias con contradicciones evidentes (critica muestras pequeñas, luego expone que hay pocas uniones homosexuales) y la aportación de datos sobre parejas homosexuales sin estabilidad de forma exclusiva sin la comparación posible con las parejas estables, con lo que aparece una generalización sin ningún criterio científico que la soporte.
El trabajo más citado por estos grupos contrarios a la adopción homoparental es el realizado por Cameron y que se ha publicado en varias etapas. Aquí citamos dos de ellos, uno acerca de la opinión que a este investigador le merece la homosexualidad y los homosexuales, totalmente sin base científica alguna y, el segundo, contrario a la homoparentalidad. Hay que aclarar que estos trabajo sólo se citan por grupos partidarios de negar toda viabilidad a la adopción homoparental. La comunidad científica cita estos trabajos de Cameron como ejemplo de metodología plagada de errores y sesgos malintencionados. Hasta tal punto es así que la American Psychological Association le ha expulsado por violación de los principios éticos de la psicología y ha publicado un comunicado oficial en el que se desmarca de “las interpretaciones de la literatura científica ofrecidas por el Dr. Paul Cameron”, expresándose de similar forma la American Sociological Association acerca de las falsificaciones y malinterpretaciones de los datos sociológicos sobre sexualidad, homosexualidad y lesbianismo
Desde 21-27 de enero de 2003 el Grupo Gallup Europa realizó 15.074 entrevistas entre ciudadan@s de treinta países europeos y cada muestreo fue representativo de cada país según la población mayor de 15 años. El objetivo era evaluar la opinión de los ciudadan@s en torno a dos temas: el grado de aceptación del matrimonio homosexual y la aceptación de la adopción homoparental. El resumen de los datos se pueden ver en las Fig. 1 y 2. Los datos más representativos son los siguientes: La Unión Europea (UE) de los 15 era más tolerante con estos dos temas que la UE de los 25 países. En estas dos cuestiones planteadas España se encuentra bastante por encima de la media del conjunto de la UE, tanto en la de los 15 países como en la actual de 25, constituyendo se en el grupo de países más tolerantes junto con Bélgica, Países Bajos, Alemania y Dinamarca. En cuanto a otras características demográficas sobresale que tanto para la aceptación tanto del matrimonio homosexual como para la adopción por parte de parejas homoparentales existe un perfil muy definido sociológicamente: Las mujeres son más tolerantes para ambas situaciones que los hombres; el rango de edad más tolerante es el comprendido entre los 15-24 años; cuanto mayor es el nivel socio-cultural es mayor el grado de tolerancia y aceptación de estas situaciones; en cuanto a la religión los no creyentes son los más tolerantes, por el contrario los menos tolerantes son los musulmanes y los cristianos permanecen en una situación intermedia de tolerancia y aceptación; por fin es nítidamente claro que los ciudadan@s de la UE que se declaran votantes de partidos de izquierda son más tolerantes a estas opciones que aquéll@s otros que se declaran votantes de opciones de centro y derecha, sino los de esta última opción los que se muestran con un mayor nivel de intolerancia. Hay que señalar que la dispersión de las opiniones en el conjunto de los países es muy relevante, hasta tal punto que el máximo de partidarios de ambas opciones en los diez paises que se anexionaron recientemente, está por debajo del mínimo de los quince paises miembros, con lo que la media se resiente de forma muy evidente.



Από : www.ilga-europe.org
Legal recognition of same-sex relationships can be categorised in three main groups:
where the rights, responsibilities and legal recognition given to same-sex couples who marry is the same as those for married heterosexual couples.
registered partnership & registered cohabitation
where specific and enumerated rights, responsibilities and legal recognition are given to same-sex couples who register their partnership. The rights, responsibilities and legal recognition can be identical to or fairly close to those for married heterosexual couples (allowing for the limited competence of state or province in a federal system), or clearly inferior to those for married heterosexual couples. The registration system is often available to unmarried heterosexual couples.
unregistered cohabitation
where rights and responsibilities are automatically accrued after a specified period of cohabitation, almost always available to unmarried heterosexual couples.
Please find below a list of all European countries with information on the legal recognition of same-sex partners:
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Registered cohabitation, 2005. Legislation provides a registration for 'stable couples' regardless partners' sexes. They have to register in a registry of Stable Unions and have to prove a stable relationship. Registered couples will enjoy most of marriage rights.
News item in Spanish on new Andorra legislation:www.gaynews.it/view.php?ID=31406
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Unregistered Cohabitation : following the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in case of Karner v Austria [2003], cohabiting same-sex partners are entitled to the same rights as unmarried cohabiting opposite-sex partners.
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Marriage , 2003 Same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex married partners.Exception: Belgian law does not provide for presumed paternity for the female spouse of a married woman who gives birth during their marriage; no provision for joint parental responsibility, nor for adoption by a same-sex partner or a same-sex couple.
Registered Cohabitation , 2000
Loi du 23 novembre 1998 instaurant la cohabitation légale
Statutory Cohabitation Contract, 4 January 2000 Same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex married partners.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Unregistered Cohabitation , 2003
Law on same sex civil union, no. 01-081-03-2597/2, 14 July 2003The law on same-sex civil unions grants same-sex partners of at least of 3 years the same rights as enjoyed by unmarried cohabiting opposite sex partners (inheritance, financial support).
English translation of the law: http://www.iglhrc.org/site/iglhrc/content.php?type=1&id=73
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Czech Republic
Registered Partnership Bill approved in the first reading at the parliament.
Unregistered Cohabitation "persons living in the common household”, inheritance and succession rights in housing
Registered Partnership, Act no.372 of 7June 1989Registered partnership open to same-sex partners only. Grants full range of protections, responsibilities and benefits as marriage. States that all legislation referring to "marriage" or "spouse" be read to include registered same-sex partners. Registered partner can adopt the other partner's child, but a registered couple cannot adopt other children.
English translation of the law: http://www.france.qrd.org/texts/partnership/dk/denmark-act.html
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Registered Partnership , (Act 950/2001)
Grants similar rights and responsibilities as married partners. Registration and dissolution undertaken in a similar manner to marriage. Joint custody is allowed. Grants immigration rights to foreign partner. Registration available only to same-sex couples.
English translation: http://www.finlex.fi/pdf/saadkaan/E0010950.PDF
Unregistered Cohabitation (Concubinage)Very limited rights in such areas as tenancy, immigration, health insurance for same-sex cohabiting partners.
Registered Partnership
Civil Solidarity Pact Act ( PACS), 15.11.99, Law No.99-944Partners commit to mutual and material help, and are jointly responsible for household debts by signing a Pact of Civil Solidarity at the district court (Tribunal d’instance). Dissolution of partnership is by death or marriage or, after three months' delay, at the request of either partner. Available to any two domestic partners of same or opposite sex. Joint taxation and welfare benefits are available after three years of partnership. Available to non-French nationals. No joint custody; cannot adopt partner’s children or jointly adopt unrelated children.
French text: http://www.france.qrd.org/texts/partnership/fr/pacs.html
Information in English: http://www.france.qrd.org/texts/partnership/fr/explanation.html
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Life Partnerships Act 2000.
Registered partners are able to change their last names and qualify for same inheritance tax exemptions as married couples. Allows joint custody over child for whom one partner already has custody and allows adopt each other’s children. Grants recognition of next-of-kin rights; joint eligibility for some social security benefits; survivor’s pension right; similar rights in the field of tenancy; immigration concessions for foreign partner. When ending partnership by a court declaration, provides for continuing maintenance payment obligations. Registration available only to same-sex couples.
German text: http://www.france.qrd.org/texts/partnership/de/bmj.html
No legal recognition for same-sex partners
Unregistered cohabitation, amendment to Civil Code (1996)
Applies to couples living together in an economic and sexual relationship (common-law marriage) including same-sex couples. No official registration required. The law gives some specified rights and benefits to two persons living together. These rights and benefits are not automatically given - they must be applied for to the social department of the local government in each case.
Government proposed partnership law.
Registered Partnership , 1996Grants full range of protections, responsibilities and benefits as marriage. Joint custody of children is permitted, where one partner already has custody of the child. Only available to same-sex couples. Registered partner can adopt the other partner’s child, unless the child is adopted from a foreign country. No joint adoption for registered same-sex partners.
English translation of the law: http://www.france.qrd.org/texts/partnership/is/iceland-bill.html
Civil Partnership Bill initiated at parliament (2005).
Text of the Bill and explanatory comments: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2004/5404/b5404s.pdf
No legal recognition for same-sex partners
No legal recognition for same-sex partners
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Proposed Registered Partnership bill was rejected by the parliament.
No legal recognition for same-sex partners
Registered partnership (4946-12 May 2004)
Applies to same sex and opposite sex couple.
Official declaration before the register of civil status ( officier d’ état civil )
Same rights as married couples in relation to access to welfare benefits ( couverture sociale ).
Same fiscal status as married couple
Text in French: http://www.gouvernement.lu/dossiers/justice/partenariat/loi_partenariat.pdf
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Unregistered Cohabitation, 1979Since 1979 same-sex cohabiting partners were increasingly granted legal rights in such areas as rent law, social security, income tax, immigration rules, state pension, death duties etc.
Registered Partnership, 1998Registered partnerships for same-sex and opposite sex partners. All the same rights and responsibilities as married partners.Exception: registered (female or male) partner of a woman who gives birth is not deemed to be the second parent of the child.
Marriage, 2001Same rights and responsibilities as opposite -sex married partners. Exception: cannot adopt a child from abroad.
Useful recourse on the Dutch legislation for same-sex partners: http://athena.leidenuniv.nl/rechten/meijers/index.php3?m=10&c=69
Registered Partnership , 1993Lov om registrert partnerskap , 1993-04-30 no.40
Grants full range of protections, responsibilities and benefits as marriage, including arrangements for the breakdown of the relationship. Only available to same-sex couples.
English translation of the law:http://www.ilga-europe.org/www.dep.no/bfd/engelsk/publ/handbooks/004071-120027/index-dok000-b-n-a.html
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Registered Partnership Bill was approved by upper house of palriament in December 2004.
Unregistered Cohabitation, 15 March 2001
Leis de Uniões de Facto e de Economia Comum .Legislation extends to same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples living in a de facto union for more than two years ("common economy"); housing arrangements, same property regime as married partners, civil servants and work benefits, fiscal status, welfare benefits. Very limited rights, do not cover most of the rights and benefits associated with marriage.
Portuguese version of the law: http://www.ilga-europe.org/www.portugalgay.pt , then click on Espaco Aberto , then Politica e Direitos .
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
San Marino
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Serbia & Montenegro
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Law on Registered Same-Sex Partnership , 22 June 2005
The law is covering only the property relations, the right/obligation to support socially weaker partner and only partly the inheritance rights. It does not bring any rights in the area of social security (social and health insurance, pension rights), and it does not give the status of a next-keen to the partners.
Marriage act 30 June 2005
Same-sex married partners will now enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, including entitlement for joint adoption.
Unregistered Cohabitation, 1988Homosexual Cohabitants Act. Limited tenancy and property rights. 2003 a gender neutral act on cohabitation giving same-sex cohabiting partners all the same rights and responsibilities as to opposite sex cohabiting partners.
Registered Partnership, (Act 1994: 117, Decree 1994: 1431)Grants full range of protections, responsibilities and benefits as marriage, including arrangements for the breakdown of the relationship. Only available to same-sex couples. Same-sex registered partners can adopt jointly.
English translation of the law: http://www.france.qrd.org/texts/partnership/se/sweden-act.html
Marriage : discussion on opening marriage to same-sex partners started by government/parliament
Registered Partnership , 2004 Legislation adopted on 10 June 2004. Same-sex couples can register their partnerships. They get the same rights as heterosexual couples in terms of pension, insurance and taxation. The law does not confer rights to marry, take the same name, adopt or undergo fertility treatments.
Text of the law in French and German .
FYR Macedonia
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
No legal recognition for same-sex partners.
Registerer Partnership
Civil Partnership Act (2004)
Registrations start in December 2005, open to same-sex partners only, all the same rights and responsibilities as marriage.
Text of the Act: http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2004/20040033.htm
Unregistered Cohabitation
Cohabiting same-sex partners are recognised and enjoy variety of rights in such areas as accidents and compensations, tenancy, immigration, mental health.