Sunday, May 3, 2009

Same sex marriage in Canaan

I've posted several times about recent developments in the U.S. on the legalization of gay marriage, most recently here: Same sex marriage in Iowa, and New England . These developments involve the legality of a contract between two willing adults that third parties may find repugnant. This repugnance is of ancient origin, as I was reminded by the Torah portion read yesterday, which includes Chapter 18 verse 22 of Leviticus, which forbids (a male) lying with a male. This comes immediately after the prohibition against handing over your children "to Moloch" (which is often read as a ban on human sacrifice), and after the prohibitions against any kind of incest.

At the blog there's a discussion of some of the rabbinic discussion about this verse, and one of the comments points to a midrash claiming that the ancient Canaanites, who preceded Israel in the land, used to practice same sex marriage:
"The reference is to the Sifra 8:8, on Leviticus 18:2ומה היו עושים? האיש נושא לאיש והאשה לאשה, האיש נושא אשה ובתה, והאשה ניסת לשנים. לכך אמר ובחוקותיהם לא תלכוThe Hebrew can be translated as, "And what did they used to do? A man married a man and a woman a woman, a man married a woman and her daughter, and a woman married two men. Therefore it says, By their rules you shall not walk." "

So, some transactions have a very long history indeed of being regarded as repugnant. And still, views can change.

1 comment:

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