"the couple is a natural couple, and the couple are in deep love."
British actor Stephen Frey married Elliot Spencer on January 17, 2015; on the same day, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to rule on whether the country can ban gay marriage. The issue of same-sex marriage made headlines. This patent, which looks like the 21st century, actually has an interesting history with a long history.
the picture shows Sarah Tatina and Jones (from Handsome Frank Illustration Agency)
the combination of Stephen Frey and Elliot Spencer, what do you think? Do you remember Elton John's marriage to David Furness? Mary Cheney's partner, do you remember the name? Where's Judy Foster? These questions seemed ridiculous a few years ago because same-sex marriage seemed to be the child of the 21st century. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito opposed legalizing the phenomenon, saying in 2013: "same-sex marriage is younger than mobile phones and the Internet." Indeed, even in Western countries, many people have not yet witnessed the formal marriage of same-sex couples.
on the one hand, opponents blame the uproar of political correctness for the recent proliferation of same-sex marriage. On the other hand, supporters claim that this is a sign of social progress. Earlier, the American Historical Association recommended to the Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is new, but such social innovation is also popular. The British government also agrees that marriage equality is an unprecedented civilized process, and at the same time, it will also make our society "more equal and inclusive". When the Daily Mail interviewed Spencer's former neighbor, the old man said: "Times have changed. You have to keep up with the times." )
therefore, when same-sex marriage came into public view, the demand for legalization was unheard of. In the 1970s and 1980s, radical homosexuals in the United States sued for marriage rights, and a small number of gay couples even sought to obtain valid certificates and hold weddings. It was not until the 1990s that the modern marriage equality movement around the world made progress. In 2000, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to adopt same-sex marriage nationally.
Stephen Frey and Elliot Spencer (photography: Rex)
the historical trend is rolling forward. In 2013, the Irish government confirmed that it would hold a national referendum on the legalization of same-sex marriage in May of the same year, or even amend the constitution. The US Supreme Court unexpectedly announced last week that it would reconsider the legalization of same-sex marriage. In other words, same-sex marriage is expected to become a basic constitutional right in June this year. Even so, same-sex unions are still illegal so far, including Northern Ireland, some states in the United States, and most countries in the world. For hundreds of years, same-sex relations have been criticized, and same-sex couples have been punished to fight for same-sex marriage rights with a long way to go.
of course, same-sex marriage still came to the fore before the 21st century. Marriage is not a product of law. Secular rulers and priests take great pains to control social marriage life and regulate marriage customs, which is vulnerable to the "naked marriage" of affectionate men and women. At the beginning of the 12th century, Christianity established the doctrine that the only condition for an unbreakable marriage is an oath of love between a man and a woman. Priests, witnesses, and ceremonies are all illusory, and it is husband and wife who get married.
in England in the 17th century, beggars were kept out of marriage by law; before the Civil War, American slaves could not be legally United; by the late 20th century, interracial marriage was not permitted in many states (granted by the Supreme Court in 1967). But these people still live together like husband and wife.
it is easy to recall discriminatory laws in some countries and institutional groups that have hindered countless heterosexual marriages, such as Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa, the Church of England, and the royal family. In the 1880s, the Prince of Wales fell in love with Maria Fitzherbert. In December 1782, the Prince of Wales married Maria Fitzherbert. The witness was nothing but a priest and several relatives and friends. Even though their union lasted until the Prince of Wales became regent in 1811 (more than a decade after the arranged marriage between the Prince of Wales and Caroline of Brunswick in 1795), the marriage to Fitzherbert was strictly illegal-the Prince of Wales was heir to the throne and Maria Fitzherbert was Catholic.
the picture shows Marguerite Radcliffe Hall (left) and her partner, Yu Na Tu Bugiri, whose "Lonely Abyss" was initially banned out of sympathy for homosexuality (photo: Topical Press Agency, Getty Images)
1753 after Hardwick's Marriage Act was published, "marry yourself" is still very popular in the UK. After the secular marriage was legalized in 1836, minorities and anti-religious elements still practiced the idea. In 1792, the angry composer Samuel Wesley wrote to his nagging mother. In the letter, he explained his undignified relationship with Charlotte Martin: "by God's law and the laws of nature, she became my true wife instead of repeating rituals thousands of times." The later George IV (the Prince of Wales) held the same view: he bequeathed all his possessions to Maria Fitzherbert, ignoring his lawful wife. He called Fitzherbert his wife of the soul, the Eye of Heaven, who was, is, and will be his wife.
by comparison, informal marriages are more common and generally acceptable in American society. From the 19th century to the 20th century, many state governments tried their best to protect citizens' freedom of marriage and privacy. If a man and a woman live as husband and wife, this is enough. Subconsciously, everyone acquiesced that they were already married.
what about same-sex marriage? When did same-sex couples get the idea of getting married? What do the people around you think? This period of history is much earlier than we thought.
of course, it depends on your definition of marriage. History records examples of same-sex and transgender unions among Native Americans, Asia, and Africa. But when it comes to the solemn ritual of religious marriage between two men in love, such an example exists only in Europe, from the classical period to the end of the Middle Ages.
from top to bottom, including kings, aristocrats, and soldiers, men of all social classes become brotherly relatives through oaths and rituals. In the 14th century, the English poet Chaucer painted a splash of ink to depict homosexuality among businessmen, monks, clerks, and even farmers.
the purpose of holding a marriage ceremony is to swear to each other and make an agreement for life, which is the highest form of individual expression of love. In this way, the classical scholar James Davidson made it clear: "same-sex marriage is closer to modern partner marriage than earlier generations, family alliances, and arranged marriages." In the patriarchal culture, it is natural to think that the love between men is the noblest and most moving, such as David and Jonathan, Achilles and Patroclus, and so on.
for hundreds of years, same-sex love has publicly celebrated the promise that love is stronger than gold, and apart from these, no one can explain the exact meaning of such a union and its social impact. It is believed that this kinship is formed voluntarily, is a strong expression of ritualized male friendship, and is by no means a simple sexual partner. Like heterosexual marriage, cohabitation or sex is not the only pursuit. Edward II and Pierce Gaston may be an exception.
James I and his favorite courtier, the Duke of Buckingham, George Villiers, have the same sweet words. The monarch and minister are called "loving father" and "loving son" to each other. Throughout James I's life, he only showed his desire to enter the marriage siege to his desired partner. In 1623, in a letter to Villiers, he said, "my dear, my child, I would rather wander around the world with you all my life than live alone all my life." He longed to "tie the knot with Wellesley at Christmas and fly together from then on." God will bless you, my lovely child, my lovely wife, and having you in the name of Jehovah will be the greatest comfort to your father and husband. "
Photo: Eleanor Charlotte Butler and Sarah Ponsonby (anonymous 1810-1823)
Photo: the National Portrait Gallery of London
despite James's affection for Wellesley, his wording reveals the nature of his reinstatement rule. Like emperors at all times and all over the world, James claimed to be a kind husband who raised tens of millions of people, galloped thousands of miles, and controlled the upper and lower councils. On the other hand, Sir Buckingham's letters always begin with "my dear father, my lover" and end with "his Majesty's most humble servant". Wellesley indeed loves James very much, but it is not like the love between a man and a woman. He can't imagine marrying a woman.
during the Renaissance, the whole Italian society was more tolerant of homosexuality but was excluded by law (sodomy). In 1497, 22-year-old pharmacist Cardi Belado de Antonio was both fired and expelled from Florence for living with a dying worker, Michelle Di Bruno da Prulli. For many years, Antonio regarded Pruli as his wife, ignoring his heterosexual wife. He also asked Prully to put his hands on the Bible, took an oath in church, and promised that he would "risk sodomy and be loyal to Michelle all his life." In essence, this is no different from a heterosexual wedding. A hundred years later, in Rome in 1571, several Portuguese men were burned alive at the stake on charges of public gathering to be husband and wife in church.
in English-speaking countries, more gay men do not intend to go into marriage cages. As a result, it has given rise to a variety of passionate friendships and love. From James I to Oscar Wilde, homosexuals are more likely to marry the opposite sex and have children. If marriage is a long-term cohabitation or sexual partnership between two people, few gay men are qualified in Western Christian culture, at least until the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, for the past 400 years, attempts at same-sex marriage have been for the protection of women.
first of all, it involves privacy and punishment. Since the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, European countries have simply not allowed two independent women to live together: the heads of households are all men. But we also know that in the 16th century, many women disguised as men and lived with same-sex couples. Dutch scholars Rudolph Dirk and Roth van der Bohr found that after 1600, there were more and more similar "female husbands", especially in Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands.
in 1641, the middle-aged widow Ducher Barents of Amsterdam fell in love with 27-year-old Hendrik Lamport. As the relationship between the two warmed up, Hendrick began to dress as a man. Barents later admitted that the move had improved their sex lives. Since then, "the young Hendrick may have had sex with Barents two or three times a night-just like her recently deceased husband-and may have worked harder." After the two settle down, they hope that they will be allowed to marry by law. Other Dutch "women" have followed suit. In the 1780s, Cornelia Judith van Brugger disguised herself as a man to marry her longtime lover Elizabeth Boleyn in an Amsterdam church. Years later, Cornelia got tired of wearing men's clothes before it was discovered.
such examples are more common in England in the eighteenth century. Around the early 1930s, teenage Mary Esther and her girlfriend moved to London to start a new husband and wife life. Mary started dressing up for men and changed her name to "James Howe (James How)". Later, both men became outstanding tax collectors and pillars of the East end of London. Everyone thought they were already married. James has made great strides in his political career: she (he) has been a companion one after another. Chairman of the jury, night watchman, church deacon (of the workhouse). For more than 30 years, the two were tight-lipped and the "husband and wife" lived a happy life.
the picture shows Vera Kaiser (courtesy of Bateman and Corbis)
it is impossible to say that so many "female husbands" and wives are not discovered. Soon, after the Marriage Act of 1753, it was difficult to establish secret marriages in London: although the law forbids asking questions in pubs, brothels, prisons, and churches. On October 15, 1734, a couple in Soho who claimed to be John Montford and Mary Cooper decided to marry, and the first priest refused the request. "I suspect they are a pair of women," he wrote in his diary. " It is not difficult to find a priest. A few years later, according to the London priest who married Elizabeth Hassan and John Smith, "the man was no more than five feet tall, short, thin and fair-skinned." later, he added: "My staff found out that they were both women." But he still thinks it's a legal couple. "only after I got married did I know that they were all women and that the bridegroom was just dressed as a man." The record of a priest is more concise. It is the beginning of happiness and the end of sorrow. (same-sex marriage has long existed in the Church of England, according to priests and legislators. )
in the past, "female husbands" are probably contemporary so-called bisexual or transgender people. As early as the beginning of the modern transgender movement, individuals or groups made a clear distinction between physiological gender and social gender. Thomas Hall, a Virginia settler (always known as Thomassen), was charged with adultery with a maid, and the Jameston court ruled in 1629 that he had the right to choose what he liked, regardless of gender, he was both male and female. Maria Van Antwerp (1719-1781), who spent most of her life dressed as a man and married several women, declared: "the appearance of women, the essence of men." From a physical point of view, she is a pure woman.
Modern people no longer talk about "same-sex" relationships, while female husbands spread to the 19th century and even the 20th century, impacting the traditional society's perception of wives, families, friends, and communities, adding to the complexity of these issues. Emma Donohue is the most sensitive and has the most say on the issue. As a scholar and novelist, the fragmented and vague evidence gradually came to light in her writings. Her debut novel, feelings between Women, touches almost every aspect of lesbians, except for the inescapable fact that three or four hundred years ago, it was not appalling for two women to marry and live together.
at the end of the eighteenth century, history took a big step forward. Since then, it has become possible for women to live together openly in Western societies. The development of cities, the expansion of domestic service, the progress of textile trade and the popularization of female education all create opportunities for unmarried women to go out of their homes, stand on their own feet and meet people they like.
the thought of human sexual desire developed by leaps and bounds in the 18th century, which led to a new trend of female friendship worship. Hymns originating from real life and focusing on pure love between women are everywhere, unprecedented, sweeping many literary fields of poetry and novels, coruscating a passion of lasting vitality, and an upward attitude to provide important support for same-sex courtship and marriage. For upper-middle-class women, cultivating close same-sex relationships is as important as playing the role of daughter, wife, and mother.
in 1777, Charante Bryant came into the world and became the youngest child of a father who was a doctor. She was well-educated and energetic, but she constantly quarreled with her surly father and domineering stepmother. She was kicked out at the age of 20 and worked as a temporary teacher in a school. At the age of 23, he decided never to get married. In a letter to her sister-in-law, she said: "it is never possible for me to get married. Even if everyone in the world calls me a fool, I don't think their views can increase my inner happiness-much less will I agree with the world." just to have a little fun. "
on the contrary, she put all her emotional energy into other women. Over the years, she and Macy Ford from a nearby village kept secret communications and enjoyed their time together as much as possible. Messi poured out in the letter: "because of you, I feel lonely." Dear, I miss you so much, this kind of feeling is indescribable. If I'm free tonight, I'll come to you. " They should "enjoy the moment and be grateful". In 1805, both parents were on the alert and immediately curbed it.
before that, Charante met another temporary teacher, Lydia Richards, and tried to live with her occasionally elsewhere. In 1802, Lydia confided to Charante, "it is a blessing in life for two people to be happy with each other. Love is bound to be sweeter, and we should hold on to it." Your head belongs to my bosom, so when night falls, it is also time to return. "
bust of Charante Bryant and Sylvia Drake with curly hair (photo: Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlesbrough, Vermont)
1807, the night before his thirtieth birthday, Charante decided to start all over again. He moved to a border town in Westbridge, western Vermont, and became a tailor. There, she met Sylvia Drake, the sister of a friend, seven years younger. Within a month, she rented a house on her own, hired Sylvia as an apprentice, and urged her to move in with her as soon as possible. "I not only want you to help me but also hope to look at you like this every day, enjoy your company and chat together." Sylvia, she stressed, "agreed to help me and accompany me, but not to work (the word game I recalled years later)."
over the years, the couple built a one-bedroom house and a tailor's shop, and Charante ordered a ring for Sylvia. At first, when they returned to Massachusetts for a trip, Charant introduced his relatives and friends to his new partner. Later, her sister Anna wrote: "Dear Miss Drake is faithful and has her company."You, I will no longer be nervous about your happiness. " Lydia Richards also blessed Sylvia: "as your soul's best friend and Charante's friend, I sincerely wish you a lover a long life together." Sylvia wrote to her mother: "she is my most cherished gift." In the 44 years until Charante died in 1851, the two had never been separated for a night. In 1843, his nephew wrote to the New York Evening News: "my husband and wife are in deep love." In 1868, Sylvia died and was buried with Charante, and shared a tombstone.
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History is not a little girl to be dressed up! The lessons learned from it are often exemplified by some kind of preconceived view. After careful consideration, many same-sex couples seem to have been carved out of the same mold. In the village of northrepps on the coast of Norfolk, there are academic celebrities, politicians, educators and philanthropists from all walks of life to witness the traces of Anna Guni and Sarah Buxton together for life. The "country couple" helped each other from 1823 until Sarah died in 1839. He called each other "my loyal and beloved partner". After his death, he was buried together in the family graveyard and was permanently known as "the sister and partner chosen by God" in the parish church.
there are also prominent figures, such as Sarah Robinson and Barbara Montague, Frances Bauer Corby and Mary Lloyd, Vera Kaiser and Edith, who were mainstays of the intellectual community in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, or worked and made friends with leaders.
in the 1980s, Lillian Feldman, a historian, and lesbian led the ideological trend: the intimate relationship between women should be called "romantic friendship". She believes that before the 20th century, the sexual relationship between women was almost unthinkable, even if there was no shortage of people sharing the same bed. Female couples "probably don't care about genitals". "Ladies of Langgren"-Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby eloped in 1778 and lived together for more than 50 years, nicknamed "my sweetheart" and "my other half".
however, more and more scholars hold the opposite view. When men and women cuddle and sleep, people are heterosexual, while same-sex behavior always needs a clear explanation. Through the ages, people have been secretive about sex intentionally or unintentionally: this does not mean they lack relevant research. The Diary of Anne Lyster by Helena Whitbread and Jill Liddington is a pioneering work. The protagonist is a Yorkshire lady, an affectionate lesbian. With this book, we can at least find that there are a large number of homosexuals in Britain, France, and Italy at the same time as Bryant and Drake, which constitute subcultural groups that love each other and have sex at the same time. Compared with the gay culture of the Georgian and Victorian dynasties, it makes up for the lesbian culture.
now, there are more versions of the story of Bryant and Drake. In the new book Charante and Sylvia published by the University of Oxford, Rachel Hopcliffes tries to recreate the living images of the protagonist by using family documents, diaries, memoirs, and related poems in the great history of the story setting the borders of the early United States. after painstaking research and exploration, the moving love story is finally widely known.
the picture shows Anne Lister (from Calderdale MBC Museums)
) there is no direct evidence of their physiological relationship, but Clive has never found an innuendo he can't take advantage of. When a poetess describes a valley in a rural landscape, she must mention the pussy of a woman. When Charmant left something personal on Macy's doorstep, her biographer's first thought was an artificial penis ("Charmant could have made it out of his skilled sewing skills"). When devout Christians confess their dirty lips, the topic inevitably comes to oral sex.
the speculation of heterosexuality is undoubtedly refreshing. But the question remains unanswered: in our view, romantic cohabitation relationships should be asexual and unconscious. Men or women with noble qualities tend to prefer to turn physiological impulses into ostentatious qualities and enjoy themselves. Mary Gru, an American abolitionist and feminist pioneer, believes that her life with Margaret Burley is more intimate than most marriages, and it is pure love: "Love comes from spirit, and passion leads to sexual intercourse." After meeting Lady Langgren in 1822, Lester mused: "I can't help thinking that this must not be platonic love." even the protagonist has doubts about this elegant love.
another fruitful conclusion is that love is higher than sex, and sex is beyond the purpose of reproduction. We can't ignore the passionate sexual behaviors in homosexual relationships, or legalized physical contact behaviors (including non-romantic relationships): kissing, caressing, hugging, snuggling up to each other's chest, falling asleep in each other's arms. For the marriages of Butler and Ponsonby, Bryant and Drake, and other women, care in illness is a typical way to express love and die for love. The traditional dichotomy (friends and lovers, ordinary people and lesbians, behavior and identity, etc.) is out of date, the history of sex has ushered in a new world, and scholars are studying the role and emotional role of sexual love in various intimate physical contact relationships.
how should future generations describe the relationship between Bryant and Drake? Cliffs stand firm. The genealogy has accepted Charante and Sylvia, and their relationship is no different from that of any couple. A single letter "m (gender)" cannot deny reality.
Modern marriage rituals for women can be found everywhere. Both of Lister's long-time partners had fantasized about pretending to be a man to marry her. The third Mariana Berkombe and Liszt exchanged wedding rings and vows of love at the solemn wedding ceremony. They saw it as a real marriage: "my wife, my pride, my beloved," and in 1825 they reiterated their vows to cut off their pubic hair, kiss it and seal it. In the fall, "in this way, we can stay with us forever and miss each other." Later, Berkombe married an elderly widow in 1816 for her money. In the early 1930s, Liszt also proposed to her neighbor, farmer Anna Walker. To commemorate the occasion, the two exchanged wedding rings and shared communion on Easter. After confirming the wishes of both parties, merge the property and build the new house together. The move caused public panic, but Anna's relatives and friends saw Lester as a member of the family.
the case of Bryant and Drake is conclusive. "in my opinion, you two women have become one," said Sister Charante in her letter of 1843. Living like a secular couple is seen as a whole-for or against it (Sylvia's relative's object). Isn't that enough? After all, marriage is a hybrid product of many factors, such as social factors, sexual behavior, and law.
the tombstones of Sarah Maria Baxington and Anna Gunny at St. Martin's Church in Overstrand Village, Norfolk (photo: Graham Turner/Guardian)
in the past, the biggest obstacle for same-sex couples to enter the marriage hall was their exclusion. The stars have changed from what they used to be: women have become sisters, Christians, bosom friends, friends, and girlfriends. This is not to succumb to reality or marriage euphemism, but to give birth to overlap in the great changes.
"Husband" and "wife" are still the idioms of women in the 19th century. In addition, mother-daughter metaphors are more popular, with numerous and complicated names, explaining family relations, religious ideas, scientific inquiry, and literary images.
same-sex marriage is created by an individual and has not been officially recognized. Compared with heterosexual marriage, it is fragile but flexible, and being praised is more amazing than golden, infinite, and perfect love. Looking back, we can't turn a blind eye to the fact that same-sex marriage is not a variant of heterosexual marriage.
as a result, both same-sex marriage and heterosexual marriage have changed places. "Thank God!" Chief Justice Sir Dudley Rhett sighed. As early as 1753, he opposed the idea of marriage as a thousand-year-old and immutable dogma laid down by God. "in our time, we should abandon similar superstitions." By the same token, opposing same-sex marriage is stereotyped and stubborn.
the constant discussion about the definition of marriage never stops. 200 years ago, marriage reform was a central political and social issue, and it received far more attention than it is today. Difficulties and obstacles make you successful. History opens a new chapter: divorce law goes down in history; marriage property issues and women's cohabitation rights have made great progress; activists are completely opposed to passive, paternalistic marriage: this is also a fine tradition of same-sex equality.
the last important question is whether polygamy is allowed. Polygamy has been seriously discussed and practiced on both sides of the Atlantic, such as Mormonism. So in the 1850s, John Stuart Mill, the leader of the English-speaking world human rights philosopher, presented the ultimate case of declaration in his book on Freedom.
it is obvious that Mill believes that Mormonism, like all religions, is "deceiving the world and stealing names", that marriage is unfair to women, and that he hates polygamy. But it doesn't matter. On the contrary, polygamy should be allowed. After all: "since it is of great benefit to say that when human beings are not yet beautiful in the evening, it can be said to live that there should be many different experiments in life and that all kinds of characters should have room for development as long as they do not harm others; people can explore the value of different ways of life from practice, as long as they can try."
Human happiness and social progress depend on the above-mentioned freedom. The discussion of same-sex marriage in modern society is not an untouchable demon. Let's see how long it will take for polygamy to get back on the agenda.