What were the first countries to include gay rights?
— Reggie Reyes
Homosexuality was accepted in ancient Assyria (c. 2500 B.C. to 605 B.C.), and two of the first 14 Roman emperors married male lovers. Ancient Greece generally doesn’t seem to have had a problem with homosexuality, and the 300-man Sacred Band of Thebes was formed on the principle that nobody fighting alongside a lover would want to let his partner down. The most famous proof came at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C., when the unit was isolated and hit hard by the Macedonian Companion cavalry led by Prince Alexander, but fought on until only six men remained to be taken prisoner (a monument to the Sacred Band, erected by the victorious King Philip II, can still be found there today). That principle was virtually extended throughout the entire Spartan army until its soldiers were 28 years old — at which point the same trainers who had forced homosexuality on all in the name of unit cohesion imposed heterosexuality on them so they could breed the next generation of warriors!
All that went by the board as early Christianity spread throughout Europe and to the New World, but in June 1979, the Netherlands adopted a “Unregistered Cohabitation” scheme in the national rental laws, becoming the first country to provide limited legal protections for homosexual cohabitation. The first acceptance of same-sex unions came on Oct. 1, 1989, when Denmark’s parliament, by a vote of 71-47, passed a law recognizing “registered partnerships.
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