Marrying a horse or another man

Ngole asked:

How can human beings marries animals or marry fellow man?

Answer by Geoffrey Klempner

An intriguing question. First, we have to ask, What is marriage for?

Two individuals take a solemn vow to one another to be partners throughout their lives — ‘until death do us part’.

Marriage is typically consummated by sexual relations, but it need not be. According to, ‘You can annul a marriage if… it wasn’t consummated — you haven’t had sex with the person you married since the wedding (doesn’t apply for same sex couples).’

The parenthetical qualification seems to introduce two concepts of ‘marriage’, which may be acceptable in law in terms of the legal consequences of marriage for inheritance or tax purposes, but seems wrong in principle. The idea that consummation is essential to ‘real’ marriage (i.e. between a man and a woman) is archaic and has no place in a modern legal system.

The exception also gives the lie to the claim that gay couples in the UK can now call themselves ‘married’. They can use the word. The legal benefits are sorted out. Yet the law still states, archaically, that there are two kinds of ‘marriage’, not one, those that can and those that can’t be annulled on the grounds of non-consummation.

Marriage may be for the sake of having children, or at least conducted with the prospect of children, but again this is not necessary, for various reasons which we need not go into. In the UK, you can’t annul a marriage on grounds of infertility, whether or not this was known in advance.

So why is it necessary that one marries another human being? Let’s say that I am a hunter, and I am in love with my seven year old mare whom I have owned since she was a yearling. We’ve been together through thick and thin. I want to get married and I think she would be happy with the idea — if only she could talk and understood my marriage proposal.

But there’s the rub. Marriage is a vow undertaken by two individuals to one another. You can’t make a vow if you lack the mental capacity to grasp what that means. My mare will never comprehend my feelings for her, even though I know in some way she appreciates the loving way in which I groom and feed her.

Of course this is ridiculous. But I sense, from the tone of your question, that you think that a man marrying another man is in the same category as a man marrying a horse.

If that is the case, poor you.


One thought on “Marrying a horse or another man

  1. Thanks. I have assimilated the idea. can we have any moral justification to say that marrying a robot is right? new technology has created robots with consciousness and ability to recognize and have sense perception. How can we accept this automated marriage as true and genuine legal practice

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