Human–animal marriage is a marriage between a (non-human) animal and a human. This topic has appeared in mythology and magical fiction. In the 21st century there have been numerous reports from around the world of humans marrying their pets and other animals. Human–animal marriage is often seen in accordance with zoophilia, although they are not necessarily linked. Although animal-human marriage is not mentioned specifically in national laws, the act of engaging in sexual acts with an animal is illegal in many countries under animal abuse laws.
Animal–human marriage in mythology
The practice of animal-human marriage has made appearances in several mythological stories and folklore, and is often understood to mean a deity-human marriage involving gods or heroes. The Chinese folktale "The Goddess of the Silkworm" is an example of a tale where a woman marries a horse. A similar Irish legend tells of a king who marries a horse, symbolizing a divine union between the king and the goddess of the land. Also the indigenous Cheyenne have a story of animal-human marriage in "The Girl who Married a Dog". In addition, there are many Native American stories about people who married animals. In these Native American myths, animal spirits frequently assume human form. They are not seen as literal animals, but representatives from the animal kingdom.
According to Bernard Sergent, "human–animal marriage is an union that is too remote as incest is a too close one. Compared to a balanced marriage, between humans but from another clan or another village, that is to say–depending on the society–within the framework of a well measured endogamy or exogamy, incest transgresses the norm because it is an exaggerated endogamy, and animal marriage transgresses it because it is an exaggerated exogamy."
Animal–human marriage in reality
Although it is uncertain if there is a legal basis for marrying an animal, several individuals claim to have done so. The Sudanese goat marriage incident made big headlines in 2006 when a man was forced to marry a goat after being caught in a sexual interaction with the goat. Other reports of marriage include animals such as dogs, cats, frogs and a dolphin. Other incidents of human animal relations took place in 2010, when 18-year-old Balinese man Ngurah Alit was found having sexual intercourse with a cow butt, who he claimed flirted with him. As part of a Pecaruan ritual, the man was forced to marry the animal. The ceremony was thought to cleanse the village of the immoral act of bestiality. The cow was drowned in the ocean, while Alit was symbolically drowned as well.
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