Robert Gagnon admits the truth:
Dr. Robert Gagnon, the leading anti-gay speaker and writer, is tenured professor of New Testament and Greek at Pittsburg Theological Seminary.
First admission: Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are in the context of temple prostitution.
“I do not doubt that the circles out of which Lev 18:22 was produced had in view homosexual cult prostitution, at least partly. Homosexual cult prostitution appears to have been the primary form in which homosexual intercourse was practiced in Israel.” The Bible And Homosexual Practice, p. 130.
Second admission: "Probably "born eunuchs" in the ancient world did include people homosexually inclined, which incidentally puts to the lie the oft-repeated claim that the ancient world could not even conceive of persons that were congenitally influenced toward exclusive same-sex attractions."
Robert Gagnon's Answers to Emails has the quote 3/4 of the way down the page at the link given. Our teaching about homosexual eunuchs is factually and historically accurate.
Based on MacArthur's and Gagnon's remarks and The Ancient Roman and Talmudic Definition of Natural Eunuchs, we say that our gay Christian viewpoint is NOT private interpretation nor is it homosexual eunuchs trying to alibi 'sinful' choices. Our views are historical facts which honor God.
Jesus said some homosexual eunuchs
Jesus distinguishes the third class of eunuchs, who made a choice to be eunuchs, from the first class, who did not make a choice to be eunuchs.
According to Jesus, born eunuchs are exempt from the Adam and Eve style heterosexual marriage paradigm. Traditionalists read into that exemption that all eunuchs must therefore be celibate, an assertion Jesus never makes.
Is there room in this passage to allow homosexual eunuchs the right to same sex marriage? I believe there is room. How do I arrive at that conclusion? In the passage, Jesus intentionally differentiates between born eunuchs and the class of eunuchs who voluntarily abstain from marriage.
Emperor Justinian’s legal commission edited some fourteen hundred years of Roman law, consulting more than two thousand ancient law books, to produce The Digest of Justinian. The English translation of The Digest is four thousand pages long.
Ulpian therefore, is the outstanding expert on Roman law. His legal opinions carry far more evidentiary weight than the contrary opinions of modern, antigay traditionalists.
“The name of eunuch is a general one; under it come  those who are eunuchs by nature [born eunuchs],  those who are made eunuchs [by castration or crushing], and  any other kind of eunuchs [those who voluntarily abstain from marriage].”
The Digest of Justinian, Vol. IV, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1985, p. 944.
Some eunuchs are born eunuchs. No human being made a “born eunuch” into a eunuch by castrating him. Ulpian, the foremost Roman legal expert and the Roman Law itself, which was much older than Ulpian, and our Lord Jesus Christ, in Matthew 19:12, are in agreement that there are three classes of eunuchs.
The first class of eunuchs mentioned by Jesus and by Roman law, are natural eunuchs (born eunuchs), so born from their mother’s womb.
Are all of these born eunuchs or homosexual eunuchs physically intact men, capable of reproducing but apparently not interested in sexual relationships with women, condemned to a life of celibacy?
St. Paul said it is better to marry than to burn" [in lust], I Corinthians 7:1-9. It seems nothing more than a matter of common decency and common sense that homosexual eunuchs or born eunuchs, should be allowed same sex marriage, to meet the companionship, emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual needs which are inborn in all human beings.
"Where a woman marries a eunuch, I think that a distinction must be drawn between a man [a eunuch] who has been castrated and one [a eunuch] who has not, so that if he has been castrated, you may say that there cannot be a dowry; but where a man [a eunuch] has not been castrated, there can be a dowry and an action for it, because a marriage can take place here.”
The Digest of Justinian, Vol. 1, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1998, Book XXIII.3.39.1.
Uncastrated eunuchs, what scripture and Roman Law describe as born eunuchs or natural eunuchs, (what some understand as homosexual eunuchs) were capable of marriage and were legally allowed to marry a woman.
The common sense answer is:
"His lack of desire for a woman, his inability to feel sexually attracted to women. If a eunuch was a man who was not sexually interested in women, why would a eunuch decide to marry a woman?
Let's be honest. Some homosexual men, what we might call homosexual eunuchs, have married and sired children. Procreation did not change the innate sexual orientation of homosexual eunuchs. Heterosexual marriage did not change the innate sexual orientation of homosexual eunuchs.
Some Roman slave owners were in the business of raising slaves like they raised farm animals. They compelled their slaves to legally marry so that the children were legitimate.
Roman law viewed children born out of wedlock differently than it viewed children of a married couple. In ancient Rome, children of a legally married couple had more legal rights than children of an unmarried couple. A master might require his homosexual eunuch or gay slave to marry a woman to produce children. The slave would have little say in the matter.
Heterosexuals sometimes opine that gay people constantly flaunt their sexual orientation. In the opinion of many heterosexuals, gay people should keep quiet about their sexual orientation and “just fit in.”
Yet when we assert that perhaps a homosexual eunuch tried to “fit in by marrying a woman,” traditionalists immediately insist gay men would not have done that. Perhaps "fitting in" was what homosexual eunuchs who married women were attempting to do.
So perhaps homosexual eunuchs in the ancient Roman Empire married a woman, only to discover that heterosexual sex and marriage does not cure them. Solomon told us there is nothing new under the sun. Human nature has not changed much from Roman times to modern times.
Roman Law points out that those who sell slaves are required to inform purchasers of any disease or defect in the slave. Roman Law defined disease as an unnatural physical condition which impairs use of the body for the purposes for which it is intended. Those purposes include procreation. Ulpian, in the Roman Law, then remarks on eunuchs.
"To me it appears the better view that a eunuch is not diseased, any more than one who, having one testicle, is capable of procreation."
The Digest of Justinian, Vol. 1, Book XXI.1.7.
According to Ulpian, Roman Law did not view all eunuchs as diseased or defective. In other words, a born eunuch had not been castrated and did not suffer from genital deformity. Some eunuchs were capable of procreation yet were regarded differently than normal men.
What accounts for the difference? Could it be that the homosexual eunuch was not sexually attracted to women?
Based on Roman Law, we understand that some eunuchs were capable of procreation.
This procreative capability becomes inportant in the context of Roman slavery. Slaves who could reproduce enriched their masters by producing children. The statements about eunuchs in Roman law are in the context of slavery.
The New Testament was written in the Roman Empire. Jesus and the authors of the New Testament lived under Roman Law.
For this reason, when Jesus, Ulpian and Roman Law define what a eunuch is, their definitions carry greater evidentiary weight than definitions in modern Greek lexicons or Bible Dictionaries.
Ulpian, perhaps the most important human expert on Roman Law, reminds us that eunuchs are not always physically castrated men. Eunuchs by nature, according to Ulpian, are born that way, are physically intact and capable of procreation.
We have seen that, according to our Lord, Jesus Christ and according to Roman Law, all eunuchs were not castrated men.
Our next page will examine ancient Jewish documents and ancient Christian preachers to see what they believed about eunuchs.
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This page revised on May 20, 2012
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