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gender & sexuality | government | human & civil rights

Twelve Reasons Against a Ban on Homosexual Marriages

There are so many things wrong with the idea of adding an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution of the United States that I can barely list them all.
First, I don't want the government in my bedroom, or in anyone else's bedroom. Wasn't that what the Republicans used to stand for? Getting the government off our backs? Well, get the hell off our backs, George W. Bush. Why is it your job, or the government's job, to tell us who to marry or when or for how long or how high to jump?

Second, you know that old saying about how first they came for this group and I said nothing, and then they came for that group and I said nothing, and at the end, they came for me? Well, right now the Republican right-wing Christian majority is scapegoating homosexuals. Who knows who they'll come after next. Progressives? Jews? Blacks? You?

Third, I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of born-again Christians forcing their religious ideas upon the civil order. America was founded upon the idea of a separation between church and state - it's a fundamental principle. Here we have the freedom to worship - or not to worship - as we choose. America is not a Christian nation, no matter what Bush or John Ashcroft want to think. It is a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-denominational country and thank all the gods for it. Take a good look around the world at those countries ruled by religious fundamentalism. The Taliban comes to mind. So does Saudi Arabia. No thanks.

Fourth, American prosperity is based on the freedom of thoughts and ideas, of inventing, exploring, creating. We're supposed to like new ideas. We used to be the country that worshipped progress. The more religious convention is forced upon us, the less free we become.

Fifth, as a corollary, gay weddings have become big business in Vermont. A ban on gay marriage could hurt our American bottom line.

Sixth, as an American, I don't want anyone telling me what I can or cannot do, think or say. About anything.

Seventh, right now American marriage has a 50 percent survival rate. Instead of banning gay marriage because it changes "the most fundamental institution of civilization," Bush should welcome to the institution the many stable gay couples who are flocking to San Francisco to get married. They give it some class.

Eighth, Bush's marriage to Stepford Wife Laura is not a model many of us would willingly follow - especially since it has produced two willful, spoiled, wild teenage girls who are frequently photographed drunk and crawling all over Ecuadorian boy-toys in nightclubs. So how does Bush get off defining marriage for the rest of us?

Ninth, Bush should start focusing on some of the issues that might actually do the populace some good - universal health care springs to mind, or funding our public schools so underprivileged kids can have a chance. Gay marriage is what they call a "wedge issue," something to rile up the masses so they don't see that they're being lied to, hog-tied and shipped off to market.

Tenth, if Bush really cared about the Bible, he'd study the Ten Commandments a bit more closely. How about the Sixth? Remember Thou Shalt Not Kill? How does he explain the 150-plus capital deaths he's responsible for in Texas, plus the 550-plus Americans who have died in Iraq, plus all the Iraqis. Plus the wounded? And how about the Ninth? Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness and Try to Demonize Decent People Because It's An Election Year, you turkey?

Eleven, how can a man who stole the presidency and then, in the most hypocritical way possible, take a vow to defend the Constitution, be allowed to tamper with it in any way? Make him sit down and read it - that might be a good first step. This way, he might as well just eliminate the First Amendment and make the second one read, "And George Bush, being all things to all people, shall do exactly what he likes to Americans, to American civil liberties, to Afghanis in Guantanamo, and to the rest of the world, if they have gold, oil or anything else that will enrich him and his friends." Which brings us back to the First Commandment, "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me."

Twelve, let's look at the Bible. Many people quote Genesis 2:18-25 when they talk about a ban on gay marriage. It's the truly beautiful part of the creation story where God, knowing that Adam is lonely, takes a rib out of his chest while he is sleeping and creates a woman. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh," the Bible says.

This - one man, one woman, cleaving - was the standard then, when the Book was being written, or pieced together from various holy legends and ancient texts, and it is the standard now. But it is not the only standard. There were homosexuals in ancient Egypt, homosexuals in Greece, and I have met them as members of tribes living deep in the Amazon jungle. They are not the majority, but they have always existed and they will always exist. God made them, just as he made heterosexuals. Because they're not mentioned in Genesis is no reason to assume that God excluded them from his Creation or his Laws. Genesis doesn't mention God creating co-joined twins, either, but we know he did.

God does, however, mention compassion. He asks us to show "mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." If one of those commandments is to marry, then God must love homosexual marriages after all.

Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who lives in southern Vermont and writes about culture, politics, economics and travel.

homepage: homepage: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0226-08.htm

Forgot most important 27.Feb.2004 13:57

Curious George

What are the advantages of marriage over civil union if any? Disadvantages? I know that marriage can be pretty tough to get out of sometimes and the palimony etc.

Marriage? Civil union? 27.Feb.2004 14:20


I agree-- basically there's no real difference. I got married in a (thankfully) secular, very brief ceremony at the Multnomah County Courthouse last week. We said I do and signed our names, and that was that. Kind of surreal really. So how can gays doing the same thing be getting a civil union, while I got a marriage?

The major changes that I see in a married couple as opposed to domestic partners are tax and debt liability, health insurance benefits, custody of children, social security survivor's benefits, and right to visitation and decision-making in medical crises or serious illness.

Very un-romantic, but that's what it boils down to. Basic rights/responsibilities/committments that two people voluntarily enter into with the expectation that they will cohabitate for the rest of their lives.

It is disturbing to see just how much pull the religious right has in this country and just how backward we are in social thinking than other western democracies. Whether its boobs on TV (which are pretty ho-hum in Europe) or butting in on personal relationships, etc, we really do mirror the religion/state ties in Middle Eastern countries more than we do say, Canada.

Reasons 27.Feb.2004 15:05


There are more than 1,000 federal protections and responsibilities denied to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families because they cannot legally marry in this country. Here are just a few:

*ability to make decisions on a partner's behalf in a medical emergency.
*petition for partner to immigrate.
*up to 12 weeks leave from work to care for a seriously ill partner or parent of a partner.
*parenting responsibilities of children brought into a family through birth, adoption, surrogacy or other means.
*ability to purchase continued health coverage for a domestic partner after the loss of a job.
*The right to share equitably all jointly held property and debt in the event of a breakup, since there are no laws that cover the dissolution of domestic partnerships.
*Family-related Social security benefits, income and estate tax benefits, disability benefits, family-related military and veterans benefits and other important benefits.
*The right to inherit property from a partner in the absence of a will.

Such inequities impose added costs on these families, such as increased health insurance premiums, higher tax burdens and the absence of pension benefits or Social Security benefits in the event of a partner's death.

 link to www.hrc.org

What IS gay marriage, anyway? 27.Feb.2004 16:57


Sometimes living in this state drives me crazy. No, living with all the hypcrites that also live in this state drives me crazy. How is it that some people can be so hateful and preach of tolerance in the same breath? For those of you that can't help but see this issue as gay-bashing or a "push from the religious right", please at least TRY to open your eyes. It is neither of those things for the vast majority--note that I don't say everyone because I do understand that there are people out there that are filled with hate towards others for no other reason than just to hate, but they are very few compared to the masses that oppose the concept of gay marraige. For 60-70% of the nation, there is opposition to gay marriage (which by definition doesn't even exist, by the way) not because of hate but as a result of a desire to not lessen the institution of marriage as its been for hundreds and hundreds of years. Marriage has become near meaningless in other countries where same-sax marraige has been allowed and for millions upon millions of people in this country, myself included, there is a strong desire not to follow in their footsteps. Now, this is where many of you will call me prejudiced or hateful or a gay-basher...to those I say wake up and accept the fact that you are so close-minded that you can't see the hate in front of your face. In this day and age, there are more racist/bigoted/hateful people in the liberal Northwest than anywhere else in this entire great country, and they have targeted anyone that treasures family values, fiscal responsibility, tradition, and religion. Having a mayer like Vera Katz in Portland doesn't help. She's a nut and I'm glad she's retiring. To sum up, please try to live up to your own claims of tolerance and goodwill towards others. As it stands, you claim compassion and only display intolerance and hatred towards those that respectfully disagree with you. Can you say, HYPOCRITE?

I'm sure R hates interracial marraiges as well... 27.Feb.2004 17:09


Afterall, the same arguments were used during the civil rights movement that allowing blacks and whites to marry would destroy the institution of the family. No matter how you slice it, denying people the right to get married violates their civil rights. You simply cannot get around that fact. And the people of this country will not stand behind denying people's rights in such a manner (just look at the mass of republicans declaring that they will not vote for Bush because of this). It is right to be intolerant of intolerance because tolerance of intolerance perpetuates intolerance. Call people names all you want but you're the one who wants to deny people their rights. And nothing makes more of a mockery of marriage than that it should be reserved only for the privileged of a society.

hetero-sexual marriages are failing 27.Feb.2004 17:18

the solution

Since hetero-sexual marriages can't seem to stay together why not allow homo-sexuals to commit to one another. Seems like to keep marriage "sacred" you should honor it's ideals of committment not exclusionary, oppressive rhetoric.

"At a time when marriage is rapidly losing its allure for so many heterosexuals, one of the most promising developments is the deep desire of so many gays to commit themselves to marriage, with all its rewards and sacrifices."


or try this one 27.Feb.2004 17:20

the solution

"If the president is truly concerned about preserving the sanctity of marriage, as one of my readers suggested, why not make divorce illegal and stone adulterers?"

"The pols keep arguing that institutions can't be changed when, in fact, they change all the time. Haven't they ever heard of the institution of slavery?"


Meaningless?? 27.Feb.2004 17:35


R said: "Marriage has become near meaningless in other countries where same-sax [sic] marraige has been allowed"

Puhleeeze. Like marriage in this country hasn't become near meaningless? Just a few fine examples of late: Britney Spears, The Bachelor (and all its spinoffs), Who Wants to marry a millionaire.... and on and on. The divorce rate in this country is around 60%. Hmmm, just about the same as those who are supposedly against gay marriage. Is there a connection?

TO: evolution 27.Feb.2004 18:27


Thank you for illustrating my point so clearly, evolution. Here are a couple things to chew on: 1) Homosexuals have every right that hetrosexuals have. They can get married like anyone else. The fact is (and maybe this is where your problems lies) that marriage is defined as a legal union between a man and a woman. If a man wants to be a lesbian, are you going to deny him that right or will you inform him that only women can be lesbians? Not out of hate, but because to be a lesbian, YOU MUST BE FEMALE. If a homosexual wants to get married, they can, but only to someone of the opposite gender because that is what a marriage is. What we're talking about is not a ban on gay marriage...it's a desire to not change the definition or lessen the requirements of marriage. That said, I do agree that something needs to be created (legal same sex unions, possibly) so that gay partners are afforded the same legal benefits/rights as married couples, such as those listed by pp above. 2) It's so typical that you'd bring race in to this, but not surprising to say the least. I'd actually be shocked if you didn't. It's simple, so try to stay with me--people are born Hispanic or Asian or African American or Middle Eastern or Caucasian and it'll never change (except maybe for Michael Jackson, but that's another story). Homosexuality is described as a sexual preference. This constitutes a behavior, which is illustrated by so many who are straight at one point in their lives, then gay, or vice versa. There is no scientific proof that gay people are born genetically different than straight people. If there were, then there would have to be yet another genitic diffence for bisexuals, transsexuals, or pedaphiles for that matter. I'm not saying that being gay is no different than being a pedaphile (thought I'm sure you'll somehow find a way to think so). They are all sexual preferences and can change and have changed for many individuals. I have no problems with those who choose a lifestyle other than hetrosexuality--I respect their right to choose that lifestyle. I have many gay and bisexual friends and have yet to see them, treat them, or think of them any differently than any of my striaght friends. The fact is that I don't think we should change the definition/requirements of marriage for those that choose a different lifestyle. 3) The intolerance thing was quite clever (for whoever said it first) and I could not agree with you more. That is why I think you'll find that more and more people are refusing to bow down to "political correctness". All that really is is an excuse to not stand up for what you believe in. 4) The privileged of society? You're kidding, right? How exactly do you define the "privileged"? Those that make a certain amount of money? I call that hard working, or in some cases lucky. Those that have power or influence? I call that leadership, be it moral or otherwise. Those that are good looking or talented? I call that blessed. What exactly do you mean by "privileged"? If to you, being privileged means being straight, then you need help. I'm sure there are many straight people out there who feel anything but privileged. Sure sounded good, though.

heard it all before 27.Feb.2004 18:52


You're points are so easy to defeat I almost feel sorry for you.

"Homosexuals have every right that hetrosexuals have"

Wrong, heterosexuals can get married to those they choose; homosexuals cannot.

"it's a desire to not change the definition"

No, it's a desire to clarify and improve the definition. It is not written in stone (and even stone can be changed) that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman. Not in the bible, not in the constitution, and not in federal law. And even if it were laws can be changed, and certainly interpretations of the bible are merely selective.

"so typical that you'd bring race in to this"

Of course, because the arguments you are using are the same ones used to fight interracial marriages. So any analogy to that is quite apt and appropriate.

"and have yet to see them, treat them, or think of them any differently than any of my striaght friends"

Of course you are, you're saying that your straight friends can get married but your gay friends cannot. Sounds like a difference to me.

"All that really is is an excuse to not stand up for what you believe in."

You know what I believe is that you're frightened. I cannot understand why, but you clearly are. What is it about gay people getting married that frightens you so much?

"How exactly do you define the "privileged"?"

Heterosexuals are privileged in many ways over homosexuals.

How do your all your gay friends feel about you're wanting to deny them the right to marry. I know I would end my friendship with someone who told me I couldn't marry someone I loved because they felt threatened by it. If you want to keep those friends maybe you should consider that. Also, what do all your gay friends say about your theories that homosexuality is a choice? If it was a choice, why would anyone choose it given the rampant discrimination, violence, and hatred exhibited in this country toward gays.

And I think the above points are correct; gay marriage is probably the best thing to come along for preserving the sanctity of marriage in decades. Either people will say that marriage is about love and commitment or they will say it's about gender roles. The former will improve the perception and role of marriage in society; the latter will relegate it to an obsolete tradition. It's your choice, make it an intelligent one.

response to R 27.Feb.2004 19:24


I think I'll reply to your comment one point at a time.

1. What's wrong with changing the definition of marriage? It's happened in the past. Used to be that a man could have more than one wife (still can in some countries). But most Americans wouldn't really consider that marriage now. The definition changed. We can change it again. The nuclear family as it exists in the United States isn't the situation for the majority of Americans (I think something around 25% actually live in a nuclear family), and the idea is a pretty new invention anyway--in the past, and in a lot of other countries, people lived with their extended families, and never lived alone. I don't see why the whole "one man, one woman, and their children" thing is held up as the norm--it isn't.

2. I don't think people choose their sexual orientation. I don't necessarily think it's entirely genetic, either. But it can't be socialization alone, as the percentage of people who self-identify as homosexual is relatively constant across cultures, even in ones where it's disapproved of (the statistic I've read a few times, is it's between 3% and 5%).

Let's put it another way: Homosexuality is frowned on by many cultures across the globe. They are persecuted and harrased. Why would sane people chose that? If people appear to go back and forth, it may be because of social pressure ("Being gay is wrong, so I should marry someone of the opposite sex"), or because they're bisexual ("I like both, but I better marry the 'right' way"). That doesn't change their innate orientation. They may later realize they can't live that way, and start acting on their natural impulses.

As far as pedophiles go: I think it's likely that pedophiles can't change their urges. However, they can change their behavior, or we will lock them up so they can't harm others. It's an issue of consent. Healthy gays and lesbians indulge in consensual behavior. Pedophiles desire people who can't consent.

3. How is telling people their attitudes are intolerant, not standing up for what they believe in? I find this part a little confusing.

4. You're priveleged if you are society's "norm." White straight rich men are the norm in television shows, commercials, business, government...you name it. Anything else is seen as an exception to that rule. Not all rich people got there through hard work--they might have inherited it, or stolen it (whether directly or through immoral business practices). Power and influence are often bought by the wealthy, who again may not truly "earned" that money. Good looks can be bought, and poor people who can't afford dental work or health care or decent food probably won't be as pretty. It's hard to be talented when the schools in your neighborhood are bad, and you're not exposed to things you may be talented at, like music or art. It's hard to find something you might be talented at when you're too busy working a shitty job to pay your rent.

Straight people can marry the person they love, and be seen with approval by society. They get all the rights, priveleges, and responsibilities that go with it. Gay people just want that.

Agree to disagree 27.Feb.2004 20:32


to pp and the solution:

I agree with you about the state of marriage in this country. I agree that all the reality TV shows that play with marriage or the Hollywood crowd that use marriage for publicity (can you say Bennifer?) among other things illustrate that marriage is in trouble. Divorce and adultry (I use the term "adultry" with regard to those that cheat on their spouse and not premarital sex) has become an easy way out for many who are just too selfish. If those people understood that marriage is a committment and requires one to make a decision every single day to put their spouse above themselves, then this country wouldn't be in such bad shape morally. You can't tell me that these things don't negatively affect our kids, sometimes so dramitically that we have tragedies like Columbine and record levels of teenage (unwanted) pregnacies. There may be no clear answer as to how to rectify this, but my personal opinion is that lessening one of the only defining requirements of marriage won't make things better.

to evolution:

I keep reading each of your arguements and I keep coming back to the same thing--you believe homosexuality is genetic like race or hair color and I do not. We can go back and forth and it won't change that. I've had this talk with a couple of my gay friends and a couple of them had to admit that at one point in their lives, they were straight and that at some point they changed. I even read about a guy who was in a car accident, claimed the impact made him gay, then sued the other driver because he now had to leave his wife and family, and won. I certainly am not claiming that this is normal, and I have no doubts that there are plenty of homosexuals that will say that they've known they were gay their whole lives, but the inconsistancies and lack of any genetic/scientific evidence to prove otherwise all point to a behavior or choice. "Why would anyone choose it given the rampant discrimination, violence, and hatred exhibited in this country toward gays?" I don't claim to have the answer to this, but I also don't know why someone would choose to be a serial killer, or a rapist, or even a religious bigot (yes, I actually do believe it goes both ways), but it's still there. No, homosexuals are not the same as killers or rapists...I'm not saying that...but those choices definitely carry a life of negative consequences, and I can't explain why they'd choose to live that way.

You say that I am freightened. Maybe you're right, but not in the way that you probably intended. If anything, I'm freightened because I see a world where morals and decency are constantly being traded for the sake of tolerance and equality, and it's not the kind of world that I want my son to grow up in. It freightens me to think that we live in times where teachers are teaching kids about sex in kindergarten and suggesting that there be rooms in high schools where students can have sex whenever they want because they don't have the self control to refrain during school hours. It freightens me that we live in times where government officials not only encourage breaking the law but facilitate it as well. It freightens me to think where all this will lead someday. I am not freightened or threatened by homosexuality, rather I am offended that educational ciriculum is trying to encourage it in the classrooms with our children when its none of their business in the first place.

I respect your opinion, evolution, as you are one of the first that I've talked to about this that actually had an intelligent arguement, but we'll have to agree to disagree. Its just unfortunate because most with your opinion never formulate any original thoughts of there own, rather spout out statements of ignorance and hatred towards anyone with views and opinions other than their own.

True Homosexualty Is Not "Elective" 27.Feb.2004 22:19

What Harm

There will always be people who flirt with gender bending, but true homosexuals do not "choose" their sexual orientation although nearly all gay, lesbian, and transsexual people go through a period of confusion, self-examination, and eventual discovery and some may (unhappily) try for years to live the sort of mainstream hetereosexual life that others expect of them before accepting that they are what they are and that there are others who are of the same orientation. Accepting what they are is not a "choice" in the sense that they had any control over their orientation and while there is always relief, there is not always happiness in the realization; they just had to become strong enough to understand and accept it. Funny, R, that you should bring up the notion of a man considering himself a lesbian. I know two men (technically considered "pre-op trans" - one who has no desire for surgery, but who was born mentally and emotionally female) who consider themselves lesbian-oriented. It sounds as though you have limited experience with the LGBT community and no personal experience and so I don't expect you to believe it but gender and sexuality (two DIFFERENT things) are far more complex than most people imagine. A cat brought up by dogs may walk around wagging its tail and trying to bark for awhile, but eventually it figures out that it is a cat - and not a ill-suited dog - and its life changes when it discovers that there are other cats out there and it's OK to be different from the dogs.

You imply that allowing gay and lesbian marriages is "immoral and indecent". I take exception to that point of view on behalf of the many faithful, caring, long-term gay couples I know -- some raising children together -- who contribute to the community and harm nobody.

I am frightened by the realization that somebody could be not only so misinformed, but then accuse others of "spout[ing] out statements of ignorance and hatred towards anyone with views and opinions other than their own."

By the way, there's another benefit married couples share that those in civil unions don't: Couples can give unlimited monetary gifts to each other. Individuals and partners are limited in what they can gift in any given year, tax free.

Same 'ol Stuff 28.Feb.2004 00:24


First of all, if its the taxes that you're worried about, we can agree (as I've written above). I think civil unions that, among other things, bridge the legal gap with regard to taxes, hospital visitation, property inheritance, etc. are a very good idea and I would support that fully. One of my frustrations is that I keep hearing this argument and as soon as I or anyone mentions the civil union suggestion, all of the sudden all those other things aren't really what it's about anymore. What harm--please stick to the argument. If taxes and death benefits are your concern, then we have nothing more to disagree on.

My guess is that its not the real issue after all. Your title is interesting to me..."True Homosexuality is not elective". If by limited experience, you mean I've never been gay, transexual or bi, then you're right. My "limited" experience is restricted to gay and bisexual friends. So maybe you can help me understand something--are you telling me that there are two different types of homosexual? A true homosexual and a fake one? Other than asking the individual (and assuming that they told the truth), how do you distinguish between the two? Are there some in the homosexual community that are faking it and others that were born with it? Or are there different classes of homosexuality? This concept is rather new to me.

If you know 2 men that are lesbian, then I stand corrected in using that analogy. Although, even though they are considered "pre-op trans", they are still physically male, correct? I feel bad for these individuals as I'm sure it has been very confusing for them figuring this all out. It seems as though there are some very fine lines that they've had to live with, which is sad. I didn't use the example as a way to poke fun at anyone, rather to illustrate that we, in general, fall in to 2 catagories with regard to gender--male or female. One might change (with surgery) from one to the other, and there are exceptions as with just about everything, but for the most part we're all one or the other. This said, and assuming that pre-op trans isn't a 3rd new gender, I think my analogy still is appropriate.

I did not imply that gay marriage is immoral and indecent. I stated that our society seems to allow what's been considered moral and decent for so many years to get looser and looser for the sake of "equality". I don't believe this is right. When I wrote it, I was actually thinking more along the lines of what's being taught in schools. I have personal experience with gay couples with kids that do contribute to the community and would never harm anybody, so I'm not trying to insult or degrade anyone here. It is simply my opinion that changing one of only two requirements for getting married will open the door for all sorts of interpretations in the future that we won't be able deny. I don't feel like this will bring about a positive change from where marriage is currently at.

As far as your being frieghtened, I think you should be. I'm not misinformed, but there are many out there (unfortunately, on both sides of the debate) that are so ignorant that they just get angry and yell things that have absolutely zero intelligence behind them. There's a lot of it out there...just read 90% of the posts on this website.

Civil Union vs. Marriage 28.Feb.2004 01:08


Isn't the difference between a 'civil union' and 'marriage', just that one means your gay and the other means your not?

Could hetrosexuals have a 'civil union', rather than be married?

R 28.Feb.2004 03:00


I don't hate you. You're just nuts. You are stuck on semantics as if it means something.

I don't hate your opinion. I just think it's silly.

A marriage between two gay people WOULD BE DIFFERENT than a marriage between a man and a woman, because it is BETWEEN TWO GAY PEOPLE, and not between a man and a woman. You're safe, don't worry.

There is no way that a marriage between two gay people can impose itself upon you. You probably won't be invited to the wedding. But if you are, all you have to do is politely decline the invitation. Because although you're nuts, I'm sure you're polite.

Look at it this way R 28.Feb.2004 04:09


The "sanctity" of marriage occurs in the church and the heart. The legality of marriage occurs in the courthouse. Gays are being married in the courthouse, able to infuse the ceremony with their own sanctity if they choose without imposing upon your own.

Allowing gays to be married in the courthouse does not allow them to be married in the church, which you may more understandably see as imposing upon your sanctity. The churches can decide whether or not they will allow gay marriages to occur. No government can't force them to do this. This is where your real battle is.

I just thought this was fitting 28.Feb.2004 16:02


I just thought this was significant in relation to the whole "bed-rock of civilzation" thing. Its also kinda funny. Oh well.

Statement on Marriage and the Family from the American Anthropological Association

Arlington, Virginia; The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association, the world's largest organization of anthropologists, the people who study culture, releases the following statement in response to President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as a threat to civilization.

"The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples."

Media may contact either of the names below:

To discuss the AAA Statement please contact: Elizabeth M. Brumfiel, AAA President (847) 491-4564, office.

To discuss anthropological research on marriage and family please contact: Roger Lancaster, Anthropologist, author, The Trouble with Nature: Sex in Science and Popular Culture , 2003 (202) 285-4241 cellular


- - - -

Friday, February 27, 2004 (SF Chronicle)
Scientists counter Bush view/Families varied, say anthropologists
Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer

The primary organization representing American anthropologists criticized President Bush's proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage Thursday and gave a failing grade to the president's understanding of human cultures.
"The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution," said the executive board of the 11,000-member American Anthropological Association.
Bush has cast the union between male and female as the only proper form of marriage, or what he called in his State of the Union address "one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization."
American anthropologists say he's wrong.
"Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies," the association's statement said, adding that the executive board "strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples."
The statement was proposed by Dan Segal, a professor of anthropology and history from Pitzer College in Claremont (Los Angeles County), who called Bush's conception of the history of marriage "patently false."
"If he were to take even the first semester of anthropology, he would know that's not true," said Segal, a member of the anthropological association's Executive Committee.
Segal pointed to "sanctified same-sex unions in the fourth century in Christianity" and to the Greeks and Romans applying the concept of marriage to same-sex couples, not to mention the Native American berdache [sic] tradition in which males married males.
UC Berkeley anthropologist Laura Nader, an expert in anthropology and the law who played no role in drawing up the association's statement, called it a "correct assessment."
Nader, who is an association member, said Bush's proposal "serves the views of the religious right, and that has to do with getting votes."
E-mail Charles Burress at  cburress@sfchronicle.com.

So this is an egofest, rather than a discussion 28.Feb.2004 17:38

ha ha

ha ha

To R 28.Feb.2004 18:53

Please consider

In this forum you have the freedom to speak your mind and act on your feelings. Homosexuals do not have that freedom to act on their feelings when it comes to getting married.

If you were an adult homosexual and wanted to marry another homosexual, what if you were a gay man and the person you wanted to marry was a lesiban and the lesiban agreed to it? Unless the church knew of the real orientations of the individuals, the marriage would be of one man and one women and it would be blessed by God because God knows all, man does not. It all about semantics.

The focus here is that love has advanced and hate and fear by their very nature contract and shut off.

One cannot love (unconditional commitment to emotional and physical welfare) and hate (extreme prejudice) at the same time.

Which side are you on?

Kerry 29.Feb.2004 00:59

Curious George

Maybe to appease the Christians we should go Kerry's soulution. Give civil unions all the benefits of marriage and leave it at that. Calling it marriage is obviously trying to overload most Americans /Christians tolerance and will result in backlash. Marriage between a HUSBAND and WIFE is different than a non-gender based union so it should probably not be called marriage anyway. Marriage strongly implies between husband and wife and the gays would be wise to steer clear of those labels completely.

What if...? 29.Feb.2004 01:53


What if there were such a thing as a "civil union" that carried all the rights, responsibilities and benefits of the current legal definition of "marriage," and it was available to all - gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, and heterosexual. In this definition, all marriages would be civil unions in the eyes of the law, but not all civil unions would be marriages. Heterosexual couples who do not have religious affiliations could be united in civil unions, as many are today. We just wouldn't call them marriages any more. Marriages would be civil unions performed by clergy - in other words, a religious thing.

In the United States of America, we have long held to the belief of separation of church and state. One of the clearest expressions of this, in my opinion, is the fact that couples can get legally "married" outside of religious institutions at city or town halls or by justices of the peace. So why don't we just give the religious folks the word "marriage" and call non-religious civil unions that those religious types don't care for something else like "partnerships"? Heck, even people who form civil unions by using clergy could call their unions partnerships if they wanted to.

George Bush opposes gay marriage because he wants to impose a religious definition of the term. In so doing, he reveals himself as a religious bigot appealing to other religious bigots. So let's reassert the separation of church and state (and frustrate the hell out of Bush and his fellow-travelling bigots) and create civil unions that are legally equal to the current definition of marriage, but not limited to a union between a man and a woman. Partners in civil unions would be able to visit sick partners in intensive care unis in hospitals because, in the eyes of the law, they would be family. Partners would be able to take the same deductions on tax forms as currently married people.

If any religious organization wants to say a "marriage" is strictly a union between a man and a woman, that's fine, Let them have the word. In the end, it's a small compromise. Let them revel in their intolerance as they have for centuries. But because we in the United States of America believe in the separation of church and state (an idea that goes beyond religious bigotry), we should deny them the ability to say people who don't believe as they do can't form committed unions. They can. They do. Such unions deserve legal recognition.

If any religious organization wants to recognize unions that are not between a man and a woman, well, that's up to them. As long as those unions have the same legal rights as anyone else, it's really no concern of the state. I don't care what Southern Baptists, Pentacostals, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. decree for their people. As long as such decrees don't apply to people of other faiths or no faith, it's their concern. If their decrees cross the line to municipal, state, or federal law, then it is my concern, and I'm opposed to it.

People on the religious right talk of "preserving the sanctity of marriage." Well, "sanctity" implies religion, and in so doing, these people are demanding that the state commit a religious act. No. It doesn't work. Not in this country, where separation of church and state means something to a whole lot of us. Laws that violate the separation of church and state need to be struck down.

what judicial activism has brought us 01.Mar.2004 17:29


What are the results of the courts acting in an unpopular manner as "seperate but equal" arguments rear their head once again in this country?