While the Christofascists and bigots like Justice Samuel Alito claim that same sex marriage is a new creation and a redefinition of marriage. In truth, same sex marriages have existed for centuries in America - even before the arrival of white Europeans - and that the only change is much belated legal recognition of such relationships. As noted before, I had a step great uncle in law who was in a same sex relationship for over 40 years. He and is life companion lived as a couple and were wholly accepted by my grandparents and extended family and they live out the balance of their lives together and, when one died, the other died soon thereafter of a broken heart. Their story was not unique as chronicled in a new study (subscription required) in the latest issue of the Journal of American History which looks at 500 years of same-sex unions in the United States. Once again, the Christofascists and their ignorance embracing allies know nothing of accurate history. A piece in the Washington Post looks at the study and the long story of same sex marriages in America. When you hear the godly folk rant against same sex relationships, all they are doing is underscoring their own ignorance and unworthiness of respect. Here are excerpts:
“Our popular narrative of same-sex marriage says it’s this brand new thing,” said Rachel Hope Cleves, an associate professor of history at the University of Victoria and the author of a new study in the latest issue of the Journal of American History chronicling 500 years of same-sex unions in the United States. “But the reality is that it came over with human migration” — contrary, for example, to Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s comment during oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8 case that it’s an “institution which is newer than cellphones or the Internet.”Long before United States vs. Windsor — before the Defense of Marriage Act, even before the Stonewall Riots — gays and lesbians in North America found ways to live as married couples, in practice if not in law, according to Cleves’s research. In the mid-16th century, Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca wrote about a custom of “one man married to another,” which he saw in several Gulf Coast communities. Newspaper accounts from the 18th and 19th centuries tell sensationalized stories of “female husbands,” women who passed as men and married other women for love or money. California miners Jason Chamberlain and John Chaffee lived together for more than 50 years and were thought of as “wedded bachelors” by those who knew them.But Bryant and Drake’s 44-year marriage is by far the best and most explicitly documented example of an early same-sex union, said Cleves, who has also written a book about the relationship, “Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America.”It began in 1807, when Bryant was visiting Drake’s older sister in Weybridge. Drake was something of an enigma to her family, who couldn’t understand why the 22-year-old — practically an “old maid” by the standards of the early 19th century — continually rejected her male suitors. Bryant, on the other hand, had a reputation: By 27, she had spent several years traveling around Massachusetts as an itinerant teacher and had a number of relationships with other women. She was visiting Vermont, in part, to escape the gossip that dogged her, Cleves said.But Bryant was also worldly, fascinating and a talented seamstress — whatever her reputation, townspeople seemed happy to have her stay in Weybridge to make their clothes. Shortly after meeting Drake, she hired the younger woman as her assistant. When their friendship turned into a romance and Bryant asked Drake to move in, they were able to use their tailoring business as an excuse for the unusual arrangement.“But from the beginning, their choice to live together was about their shared relationship,” Cleves said in a phone interview with The Washington Post. “They worked together in order to live together, not the other way around.”“What made their relationship work was how public it was,” Cleves said. “Charity and Sylvia were enormously valued in the community. They did everything from leading the local charitable organizations to contributing money to the church … and people just chose not to know what was inconvenient to know.”Though they turned a blind eye to the romantic aspect of Bryant and Drake living together, the couple’s families and neighbors widely referred to them as close to or nearly “married.”Another local named Hiram Harvey Hurlburt recounted meeting the couple in his diary: “I heard it mentioned as if Miss Bryant and Miss Drake were married to each other,” he wrote. “I always heard they got along pleasantly together … Miss Bryant was the man, this I thought was perfectly proper.”“All acknowledged Bryant and Drake’s marriage while denying its possibility,” Cleves wrote in her study. Comparing their relationship to a marriage without explicitly calling it one allowed the traditional residents of Weybridge to recognize Bryant and Drake as a couple without confronting the fact that they were lesbians, she said.For their part, Bryant and Drake considered themselves married, according to Cleves. They celebrated the day they moved in together as their anniversary, and Bryant referred to Drake as her “helpmeet,” a common 19th-century synonym for “spouse.”In her study, she said that opposition to gay marriage has long relied on the argument that marriage is a traditional institution, something that has always involved just one man and one woman — a viewpoint that ignores the infrequent but documented occurrences of relationships like Bryant and Drake’s.That Bryant and Drake are buried together, under an expensive headstone with raised lettering, “is a testimony to the regard that the people who knew them held them in,” Cleves said. “The people of the town and the family chose to remember them as a married couple, and they spent extra money to make it beautiful.”
After 37 years of struggle to deny my sexuality, I know that it is not a choice - something confirmed by all legitimate medical and mental health care associations. Religious belief, in contrast is 100% a choice. If anything should have not recognition and deference it is religion, which can be changed like a pair of socks or shoes.