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Letters: Europe's gay history

July 29, 2012

Re "The next worst thing," Opinion, July 26

Michael Kinsley stated that gay marriage "seemed at first to be a bizarre idea" but "has become utterly conventional." Christian gay marriage was "utterly conventional" in pre-modern Europe.

The Times' 1994 review of the late Yale history professor John Boswell's book, "Same-sex Unions in Pre-modern Europe," called it "striking … profound and exciting."

On the book's back cover, just under a quote from that review, it states, "One of our most respected authorities on the Middle Ages produces extensive evidence that at one time the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches not only sanctioned unions between partners of the same sex but sanctified them — in ceremonies that bear striking resemblance to heterosexual marriage ceremonies."

Boswell shows that for the first 1,200 years of their religion, few Christians thought gay marriage to be a "bizarre idea." Did the Christian God become homophobic around the year 1250?

Robert W. Holdenvenzon

San Diego

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