Astonishingly, Roman Emperor Nero’s same-sex marriage (SSM) was raised in the First Reading of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment bill – on 29 August 2012 – by both the bill’s sponsor, Labour MP, Ms Louisa Wall, and National MP for Wairarapa, John Hayes, who opposes it.
Hayes, who voted against the bill at first and second reading, stated:
“Some [of my] constituents point out that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and predates even the Bible as a foundation for our society. To them I would note that Roman Emperor Nero entered into a marriage with a male slave.”
First century Rome might have permitted SSM between men, but most people know that it also permitted incestuous marriage – a criminal offence under our law. SSM has deep links historically with the practice of incest.
Nero reportedly at age 16, married his half-sister. He also reportedly married two men, taking the role of bride to a former slave, Pythagoras, and the role of groom to a man named Sporus.
Nero might be a “poster boy” for those advocating early SSMs for men, but he was renowned for his vile acts of brutality and depravity. These reportedly included ordering the execution of his mother, kicking to death his pregnant second wife and executing countless people. Nero had a deep hatred of first-century Christians, many of whom he had thrown to dogs, others crucified, and others burned alive as flaming torches to serve as nightly illumination for has gardens.
Louisa Wall stated in her First Reading speech:
“Marriage as an institution pre-dates government and Christianity. It has been part of civilisations and cultures and has, over that time, changed dramatically. Same-sex marriage between men was not uncommon in the days of the Roman emperor Nero.”
Both Wall and Hayes appear to hold the view that Nero’s SSM has some sort of relevance to the issue of what constitutes marriage. It does not. The morally debauched ‘lifestyle’ of a serial sexual pervert and criminal (murderer) should not be taken into account when considering the meaning of marriage.
The simple truth is that Wall is at odds with the majority of mainstream New Zealanders, in her attempts to force SSM onto New Zealand society.
Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill
Hansard Record: Vol. 683, page 4913.