Ancient Greek marriage laws and same-sex marriage

During the Supreme Court argument session on Obergefell v. Hodges, according to the transcription, Justice Alito had the following exchange with Mary Bonauto, Esq., representing the petitioners:

JUSTICE ALITO: But there have been cultures that did not frown on homosexuality. That is not a universal opinion throughout history and across all cultures. Ancient Greece is an example. It was ­­– it was well accepted within certain bounds. But did they have same-­sex marriage in ancient Greece?
MS. BONAUTO: Yeah. They don’t ­­– I don’t believe they had anything comparable to what we have, Your Honor. You know, and we’re talking about —
JUSTICE ALITO: Well, they had marriage, didn’t they?
MS. BONAUTO: Yeah, they had ­­– yes. They had some sort of marriage.

[p. 14 of the official transcript]

I have some interest in ancient Greek thought, and so I’d like to stop right there for a moment. What sort of concept of marriage did the ancient Greeks have, and is it something we would look to as analogous to our present-day concept of marriage? Continue reading “Ancient Greek marriage laws and same-sex marriage”

Marriage as a religious act

I received an interesting and thoughtful comment via email on a sermon titled “Marriage as a Religious Act” which I recently posted on my main Web site. I realized that this sermon relates to some issues you, dear readers, and I have addressed on this blog — most importantly, the sexual revolution within Unitarian Universalism, and the theological basis (if any) for marriage in our tradition. Since this is something we have talked about here, and since I greatly value the comments I get from you, I decided to post this sermon and see what you might have to say about it. The sermon beging below the fold.

Continue reading “Marriage as a religious act”

Supreme Court will hear Prop 8 appeal

The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the appeal regarding the lower court decision to strike down Proposition 8, which repealed same-sex marriage in California.

So there will be no free weddings at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto — at least not until June, 2013, assuming the Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s ruling.

Free weddings in Palo Alto, if Prop 8 goes down!

If the Supreme Court declines to hear the appeal on the lower court’s ruling overturning Proposition 8, same-sex marriage will be legal again in California. And if that happens, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto ( will offer free weddings for one day about a week after the Supreme Court announcement — we’re saying about a week afterwards, because it’s unclear how long it will take Santa Clara County clerks to issue marriage licenses. The deal goes for opposite-sex couples, too.

We can’t set a firm date yet, for obvious reasons. In the mean time, please help spread the word — if Prop 8 goes down, we’ll do free weddings for a day!