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Historian claims Church once allowed same-sex unions

An Irish historian clalimed at a gay studies conference on Saturday that the Catholic Church once performed homosexual marriages.

But Catholic World News reports that Catholic groups have rejected the claim as old news that has been discredited.

Alan Bray has told the Irish Independent newspaper that homosexuals "wedded" as brothers for life between the 11th and 16th century.

"I'm sure this will create quite a stir both in the Catholic Church and among gay people, but what I'm presenting is a way for both sides to come together," Bray told the Independent.

The Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights told the Conservative News Service that historian John Boswell had already made similar claims which were refuted. Instead, the rites bonded a platonic brotherhood, not a sexual relationship, said spokesman Patrick Scully.

Bray has claimed that "sexual potential wasn't a bar to the blessing," but Scully dismisses any sexual allegations. "It had nothing to do with physical, intimate, or sexual type of implications," Scully said. "What we're seeing here is the radical gay agenda trying to legitimise same-sex marriage, and among the ways they're trying to do it is revisionist history."