The bonds that tie
Published 16/02/2012 | 05:00
I would like to respond to Paul Kokoski's letter (February 14) regarding his notion of a 'traditional definition of marriage'. Marriage is not, and never has been, a solely Christian practice. It has existed in many cultures spanning the globe long before the formation of the Christian church. Christianity borrowed previously established pagan ceremonies and feast days throughout the course of its history -- eg St Brigid, Christmas Day, the Christmas tree -- and marriage is one such example. Same-sex marriages were extant during the pre-Christian era, and ceremonies ranged from the informal to the lavish.
Examples can be found in Asia and all over the Greco-Roman world, including two Roman emperors. It was not until 342AD when Christian emperors enacted laws making same-sex marriage punishable by death. So the notion of a 'traditional definition of marriage' between a man and a woman only exists due to the Christian persecution of homosexuals for almost 17 centuries, a situation which still exists today.
I would also like to point out that expanding the rights of marriage to same-sex couples is by no means 'religious persecution', no more than universal suffrage was male persecution, or the abolishment of slavery was persecution of whites.