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Are civil unions a 600-year-old tradition?
Date:8/23/2007

he effects of entering into an affr rement were profound. As Tulchin explains: All of their goods usually became the joint property of both parties, and each commonly became the others legal heir. They also frequently testified that they entered into the contract because of their affection for one another. As with all contracts, affrrements had to be sworn before a notary and required witnesses, commonly the friends of the affr rs.

Tulchin argues that in cases where the affr rs were single unrelated men, these contracts provide considerable evidence that the affr rs were using affr rements to formalize same-sex loving relationships. . . . I suspect that some of these relationships were sexual, while others may not have been. It is impossible to prove either way and probably also somewhat irrelevant to understanding their way of thinking. They loved each other, and the community accepted that. What followed did not produce any documents.

He concludes: The very existence of affrrements shows that there was a radical shift in attitudes between the sixteenth century and the rise of modern antihomosexual legislation in the twentieth.


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Contact: Suzanne Wu
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