By Jeanna Bryner/MSNBC.com
Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP - Getty Images file
Civil unions between male couples existed around 600 years ago in medieval Europe, a historian now says.
Historical evidence, including legal documents and gravesites, can be interpreted as supporting the prevalence of homosexual relationships hundreds of years ago, said Allan Tulchin of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.
"I suspect that some of these relationships were sexual, while others may not have been," Tulchin said. "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.”
If accurate, the results indicate socially sanctioned same-sex unions are nothing new, nor were they taboo in the past.