Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Glenn T. Stanton Responds to Professor Patrick Chapman

Glenn T. Stanton

March 26th, 2008

Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we published Dr. Patrick Chapman’s critique of Glenn T. Stanton’s white paper, “Differing definitions of marriage and family” (PDF: 80KB/10 pages) Today, we are proud to present a guest post by Glenn Stanton in response to Dr. Chapman’s critique. Glenn T. Stanton is the director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus On the Family. He is also the co-author (with Dr. Bill Maier) of Marriage On Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting (InterVarsity Press: 2004).

In considering this exchange with Professor Chapman, I think of that popular VISA commercial, but with a different spin:

  • Trading snippy jabs with an opponent on the marriage question: 96 cents,
  • Engaging in spirited, thoughtful discussion on a deeply important and controversial issue with a serious opponent: priceless.

That is how I feel about this exchange and I am thankful for Box Turtle’s invitation to engage Professor Chapman on my paper comparing definitions of marriage and family used by anthropologists with those used by same-sex marriage advocates. I also greatly appreciate Dr. Chapman’s thoughtfulness and civility of response. As he said, we have exchanged notes in the past and I have enjoyed and benefited from those interactions.

Allow me to begin by explaining my intentions in writing my original report and the methodology I employed in that work.

My Methodology
My work at Focus on the Family affords me the privilege of being able to study, speak and write on why the family matters to human thriving. I have been doing this full-time for the last 15 years. I approach this question sociologically, theologically and anthropologically. One of my tasks is to help ensure Focus on the Family “gets it right” on what we say about why the family is important. Now, we will never “get it right” from everyone’s perspective, but we do want to make sure we don’t say incorrect or irresponsible things. To that end, we try to read widely, studying the leading thinkers in a particular field. We seek to learn from them and see how they inform, challenge or oppose our unapologetically evangelical Christian perspective. We often make adjustments based on reading and interactions with these scholars, strengthening, changing or dropping certain arguments. In this, I rarely make use of anything but academic books and professional journal articles, and when possible, develop relationships with these scholars. I also try to draw from thinkers respected on both sides of an issue. If I find widely respected sources that challenge my thesis, I try to make the reader aware of that. This, I hope, is reflected in my present paper under discussion.

My Influences
Having said that, this comparison paper had two influences. First, the impetus for my paper was David Blankenhorn’s excellent comparison between the definitions of marriage used by anthropologists and SSM advocates in his important book, The Future of Marriage. I was intrigued enough by this comparison that, standing on the shoulders of his work, I explored further.

Additionally, when I was doing research in 2003 for my book, Marriage on Trial (w/ Dr. Bill Maier), I was interested to see how anthropologists understood marriage and parenting across cultures in light of the two streams of humanity: male and female. I took to reading the works of leading anthropologists on the topic and was profoundly struck by what I didn’t find. I expected to find explanations of various cultures that confounded and challenged the binary male/female dyad. I did not find this.

What I found was a relentless explanation of marriage and family consisting of male and female as the core of new families. It did not find observations and explanations of multiple genders, nor did I find broad discussions of different forms of marriage that did not include both male and female. In book after book, article after article, I found discussions of how male and female are central to family in diverse cultures, and how they negotiate family and social life in different ways. An example of this is found in a leading journal article on gender in Bugis society, which Chapman informs us has five genders (!). Susan Bolyard Millar in the opening sentence of her piece explains, “When the Bugis of Indonesia interact in public, the men are generally treated with deference by the women.” And the rest of the article discusses the interactions of these two groups….two groups. Two genders and the only diversion from this is a reference to the calabai who are male transvestites….men who dress as women. 1

Seems pretty binary to me and not very inventive when it comes to expanding the boundaries of the two genders. I hear this “there-are-many-genders” and “gender-is-not-binary” talk every month when I do a same-sex marriage debate on some college campus. Funny thing among all these students who try to hip me to reality: I have never met anyone who wasn’t either male or female or didn’t present themselves with easily discernible male or female qualities. Out of the eight different genders one student told me about, you would think I would have the privilege of meeting at least one of these non-male/female folks. I wait for that day. In the meantime, I went to the anthropologists, who were unable to introduce me to such a person.

What the Comparison Revealed
So, I set out to write a paper showing how anthropologists, at least from my reading, do indeed recognize the fundamental nature of male and female in marriage and family across human cultures. In my research of reading the brightest lights in anthropology on social structure, all I found was male/female dyad talk. Compare this with the leading voices of same-sex marriage advocacy who just simply define marriage with no mention of male or female whatsoever. The absence is stunning. Chapman said these SSM advocates “do not use anthropological definitions.” I don’t expect they would, but the two ways of defining marriage and family have nearly no overlap at all. These advocates create wholly new, foundation-less, experience-free definitions of marriage, acting as if these nouveau definitions are basic, something everyone has always understood as a genderless union between any two or more people. The contrast in definitions between the two communities is not simply one of academics on one side and generalists on the other, but was as stark as any two groups I have experienced. That is all I desired to demonstrate in the paper, that and nothing more. I think that is clear from the paper itself.

But What About the AAA?
Professor Chapman stakes a great deal on the American Anthropological Association’s 2004 statement in support of same-sex marriage, offering that as a debate stopper. First, it should be noted that this statement from this academic organization was not academically motivated, but rather developed in response to President George Bush’s support for a Federal Marriage Amendment. I have little problem with such groups making political statements, but they should issue forth from previously established positions. That is not the case here. I find no indication of the AAA talking up this issue in any form before Bush’s statement. Was it only worth addressing when it became a political issue?

And this very short statement by the AAA makes no reference to any of the “available evidence” that Chapman refers to. You simply have to take their word that the data exists, which seems contrary to the discipline of academic rigor. If there is so much evidence, why not give the reader of the statement the slightest breadcrumb trail to follow? I could find only one short article there (Linda Stone’s) explaining how the anthropological record could be read as to support same-sex marriage. The others are merely op/eds written by AAA members. These were written after the original statement appeared. You would think a serious academic organization would have more to offer a curious, investigative reader.

There are additional concerns I have with the AAA statement, such as it shifting anthropology from a descriptive discipline to a prescriptive, but we can leave that for another day.

Who is Authoritative on Marriage?
Chapman says that Focus on the Family finally “acknowledges anthropological authority in defining marriage” and “that ‘sanctity of marriage’ arguments are not valid.” That is a pretty “binary” way of seeing the discussion. We believe that many disciplines have a voice in helping us understand and practice marriage and one does not eclipse another. If I wrote a paper on how marriage is portrayed in the history of art as a union that binds male and female, which I have dabbled at, could we say that I think artists are the only authoritative voice? Please! I am merely saying artists are a good voice because they uniquely report how people live, just as anthropologists do in their own way.

Miscellany
Before I close, let me address a scattering of Chapman’s other comments.

First, he seeks to correct me in that many of the anthropological quotes I employ “avoid specifying the biological sex of the spouses” and he offers an example from George Murdock (who, by the way, is “Elvis” among anthropologists who study family forms and social structures). To this end, Chapman quotes Murdock that marriage is a relationship “between a sexually associating pair of adults.” Yes, Murdock uses that gender-unspecific phrase in his explanation. But if you continue reading Murdock a few lines down, you get to the quote that I use, where Murdock explains that family “consists typically of a married man and woman with their offspring.” 2 So he is specific, and there you have it again, that nagging male/female thing, without reference to or qualification of these other elusive gender couplings.

He also says in my recognizing the rare occurrences of woman/woman marriage, I “effectively change” Focus on the Family’s “one biological man with one biological woman” definition of marriage. There is nothing to change. For starters, as Christians, we define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. But biological connection is not a requirement. Also, while we believe that male/female monogamy is the ideal marriage arrangement, no one can miss that many cultures practice polygamy, which leads to women being treated as objects to be collected. On this, Professor Chapman and I agree.

Additionally, Chapman states a few times that “many cultures throughout the world traditionally accept same-sex marriage” while offering no evidence of any of these cultures, just like the AAA. He does mention the Bugis having many genders and marriage being restricted only to those of “different gender categories.” But Millar’s work, which I referenced above, speaks only of male and female among the Bugis and Chapman informed us that the Bugis indeed have restrictions on same-gender marriage.

Has Homosexual Marriage Ever Existed in a Culture?
I have noted the absences of specifics from the professionals, but my paper does refer the reader to specific examples of woman-woman marriages, as the anthropologists call to them. But these are very unique and rare marriages arranged to serve the purposes of the heterosexual family and the community. They cannot be called homosexual in that the unions are strictly pragmatic – to provide offspring to the contracting woman – and are not emotional or sexual. The same is true for the Native American berdache, which neither of us has addressed in this exchange. When we examine these supposed “same-sex” marriages existing in human experience, there is always more to the story. Contrary to the AAA, I find no corresponding reference to true homosexual, culturally-approved marriage in the anthropological record, similar to the unions we are discussing today, where two men or two women fall in love, marry under the embrace of the community and its mores, set up a home and raise children together and both are accepted as part of the larger kinship group. I would be interested in learning of one.

Are Mothers and Fathers Merely Optional?
The most concerning of Chapman’s remarks are those that imply that male and female are able to perform the tasks of mother and father interchangeably, or that other extended family members can effectively replace a mother or father. This is certainly not true in heterosexual fatherless homes, and it has yet to be proven that mom’s lesbian lover can effectively replace a father, regardless of how caring and kind she might be.

If any person in any family has a belly-button, they also have a mother and father somewhere. And a wealth of research flowing from our nation’s three-decade experiment in fatherlessness strongly indicates that it is nearly impossible to replace the necessary influence and contributions a father makes to healthy child-development. 3 In the hundreds of studies I have read on this subject, I have not seen one which explains that the love of another family member can replace the contributions a father makes, no matter how vested and caring the love. My wife lost her father at age nine. The super-abundant love of her mother and sisters was a treasure, but could not replace the hole her absent father left in her life. In addition, the journal Child Development explains, “A review of the survey literature reveals no evidence that nonresident father involvement benefits children.” 4 Drive-by fathering is not fathering.

An analysis of over 100 studies on fatherhood and child-development outcomes found that having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother. Some of these studies indicated father-love was a stronger contributor than mother-love to important positive child well-being outcomes. 5

The breadth and strength of this research on the irreplaceable influence of fathers for healthy child development is what compelled the Clinton and then Bush Administrations to both develop and execute smart federal programs to encourage greater father involvement in the United States. The research revealing that children who grow up without their fathers — regardless of the resultant family-form — face a number of serious life challenges was too great for either Administration to ignore.

Unfortunately the legalization of same-sex marriage would not help us connect more children with their fathers, but often do precisely the opposite. This is one of the leading reasons why Focus on the Family opposes same-sex marriage, along with no-fault divorce and policies that tend to encourage out-of-wedlock child-bearing.

With that, I offer sincere thanks to Box Turtle and Professor Chapman for the nice and thoughtful exchange.

Peace,

Glenn T. Stanton

PS. My mention of Colin Turnbull’s life story was simply to illustrate that he was not an anthropologist who was boxed-in by a “heterosexist” view of life and living in Virginia in his mixed-race relationship made him keenly aware of this issue of injustice.

References:
1. Susan Bolyard Millar, “On Interpreting Gender in Bugis Society,” American Ethnologist, 10 (1983): 477-493, p. 477. [BACK]

2. George Peter Murdock, Social Structure, (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1949), p. 1. [BACK]

3. Michael E. Lamb, “Fathers: The Forgotten Contributors in Child Development,” Human Development 18 (1975): 245-266.

Paul R. Amato and Fernando Rivera, “Paternal Involvement and Children’s Behavior Problems,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 61 (1999): 375-384;

Ronald P. Rohner and Robert A. Veneziano, “The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence,” Review of General Psychology 5.4 (2001): 382-405;

Natasha J. Cabrera, et al., “Fatherhood in the Twenty-First Century,” Child Development 71 (2000): 127-136. [BACK]

4. Cabrera, et al., 2000, p. 130. [BACK]

5. Rohner and Veneziano, 2001. [BACK]

See also:
Round 2: Stanton Replies to Chapman
Round 2: Chapman Replies to Stanton
Glenn T. Stanton Responds to Professor Patrick Chapman
An Anthropologist Critiques Focus on the Family’s “Anthropological” Report on Marriage

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0 | TRACKBACK URL

Jason D
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

Stanton tries to skewer Chapman in regards to quoting George Murdock’s gender neutral quote about marriage, “between a sexually associating pair of adults.” by offering the following quote about family, also from Murdock, “consists typically of a married man and woman with their offspring.”

Does stanton not see the word “typically” written right there, plain as day?
M-W.com defines the root, “typical” as follows:

1: constituting or having the nature of a type : symbolic
2 a: combining or exhibiting the essential characteristics of a group b: conforming to a type

Symbolic, conforming, hmmm. Now why did Murdock choose the word “typically”? I doubt it was an accident. By not using more exacting terms like “exclusively” or “only”, he presents the model of “married man and woman with their offspring” as typical, not actual, exclusive, or definitive of family. In other words: average. For everything that’s typical in this world, there are plenty of things that are atypical.

As far as the bugis are concerned, since I have not read it, I cannot say, all I can tell is between Chapman and Stanton someone is either mistaken or being intellectually dishonest.

As for Fathers and Mothers. I think Stanton might be stretching something. The data, from what I understand, compares SINGLE PARENT households (usually mothers) with TWO PARENT households (mother and father). It does not address two parent, same sex households. We all know that two people raising a child is easier on both adults and the child simply because the shared responsibility allows both parents the opportunity for down time, and to pursue personal goals while the other attends to the child or children. Comparing data gathered regarding single parent homes and pretending that single GENDER homes with two parents will have the same difficulties isn’t intellectually honest.

Stanton also seems to be ignoring same-sex male couples entirely in his posting about fatherly influence. If fatherly love is “more important” as he states, would not a gay male couple be *twice* as good for the kids?

And what of the research that shows that kids raised in a gay household do not differ significantly from their peers?

Joel
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

Well… Ill be awaiting Chapman’s response. I love these exchanges too. When someone opposes or supports something so fervantly and for so long, he is almost BOUND to have some basis for it.

Ok.. so we get that single-parenting is a bad idea. Guess I should tell that to my single-parent raising friend, so she marries someone before the child suffers the consequences. They should teach these things IN SCHOOL.

THis reply leaves no room for error then since hes read 100’s of academic journal articles and thus has no evidence that a SS marriage w/children household can replace the need for a father and a mother. Moreover, since all the evidence points that its crucial(except that typical word from that quote… and i wonder if hes even being honest about the rest) to have a mother and a father THEN SS-mariage w/children households should NOT be legalized. Establishing that BECAUSE its impossible for a man-man, woman-woman to be woman-man.

If i was Stanton i would seek research in the countries that already have SS marriage w/ children households. But.. is that what he means by a prescriptive discipline instead of a descriptive one? Well, independantly of what discipline it might be, it would help, no?. And even then… i hear african americans are having the most violent and unstable marriages(w/children)(source would be a debate that spinned around the mariage amendment in my university). Would factual evidence that SS-mariage w/children households be not as effective as OS ones be enough reason to ilegalize a SS marriage to have children(and maybe congruently ban that single parents adopt or have children)? And is that enough to go against SS marriage altogether?

cowboy
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

Nit picky: It’s a MasterCard commercial and not VISA.

Timothy Kincaid
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

Murdock explains that family “consists typically of a married man and woman with their offspring.”

Typically means “usually but not always”

Argument over.

Unfortunately the legalization of same-sex marriage would not help us connect more children with their fathers, but often do precisely the opposite. This is one of the leading reasons why Focus on the Family opposes same-sex marriage

That, Mr. Stanton, is very very difficult to believe.

If a conclusive inarguable study were to be released tomorrow that showed without question that same-sex marriage vastly improved the well being of children, it would not diminish Focus on the Family’s anti-gay efforts in the slightest. Not one iota. Because your organization’s efforts are not predicated on science but on faith in a particular religious ideology about sexuality.

Don’t be dishonest, Mr. Stanton, it is transparent and it doesn’t advance your argument.

Jason D
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

whenever someone brings up children, I think of my Aunt and Uncle who have no kids and never wanted any.

Is there marriage less real because they don’t have and didn’t want kids?

Personally, I think children are irrelevent to the debate. Why? 3 very important facts:

1) One need not be heterosexual to have children.

2) One need not be married to have children.

3) One need not have children to be married.

IF children are the central focus of marriage, and gays are being denied marriage because they cannot procreate with each other directly and are not considered viable parents, then those two criteria need to be applied to equally to all people who wish to be, or are already married.

Those like my aunt and uncle should be given a grace period to produce children or adopt or have their marriage annulled.

All those who apply for a marriage license should be required to meet with a state-funded counselor who will evaluate their fitness to be natural parents or adoptive parent. They should also be tested for fertility problems, the state should pay for any and all treatments or medications necessary to make the couple fertile. If it cannot be done, they must adopt or have their marriage annulled.

Once all children are of legal age and no longer need support from their parents, the couple should have most or all of their marriage benefits reduced or eliminated. If child rearing is the focus and reason for certain benefits, then once those children are gone, the benefits should go with them. This would also apply to couples who’s children die and the couple fails to adopt or produce more children within a grace period.

If you’re serious about children being the focus of marriage, then you have to agree these are reasonable and just.

Joel
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

“I find no corresponding reference to true homosexual, culturally-approved marriage in the anthropological record, similar to the unions we are discussing today, where two men or two women fall in love, marry under the embrace of the community and its mores, set up a home and raise children together and both are accepted as part of the larger kinship group. I would be interested in learning of one.”

If this is true then Chapman is up for an uphill battle.

David
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

“I find no corresponding reference to true homosexual, culturally-approved marriage in the anthropological record, similar to the unions we are discussing today, where two men or two women fall in love, marry under the embrace of the community and its mores, set up a home and raise children together and both are accepted as part of the larger kinship group. I would be interested in learning of one.”

One can say the same thing (which Chapman did) about modern marriages in the West. Please provide me evidence in the “anthropological record” where a man and a woman enter into an equal relationship for love and are able to share gender-specific roles and duties. To my knowledge, there has NEVER been a society that has treated opposite-sex marriage as it is viewed in today’s society.

So, if you want to justify banning same-sex marriage on the basis of tradition, then you should be calling for the establishment of Polygyny, as that form of marriage has much more of a history and tradition than “modern marriages.”

It should be noted that the Christian church was so sex-negative that it did not want anything to do with marriages until the 12th century. For more than half of Christianity’s exsistence the church did not think that marriage was sacred.

If the church and society can radically alter the definition of marriage — as it has done to this point — then allowing same-sex marriages should be no problem. Especially as it is considered a civil right by the US Supreme Court, and a civil matter.

Kei
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

Mr Stanton offers that he has never met someone who was not “Male or Female”. I will offer two comments to this.

One this statement is very much like the statement “I have never met someone who is homosexual.” The truth is you have you just don’t realize it. Much like homosexuals gender divergent or gender non-conforming people hide and they do so very well.

The second comment to him is, you might want to give me a visit. For the truth is I am neither male or female. I wear the role as society demands of me which I often switch, but this is much like a man wears an uncomfortable pair of shoes to a job interview, when they get home the first thing they do is take them off.

I will also say that like draws like and I have met many others who are similar to me. They do not identify as male or female, sure they may wear dresses or suits to their job, it is law that their passport or drivers license say male or female so of course they will have a legal “gender”, this doesn’t make them one or the other, or magically grant them a gender identity though many seem think it does.

I would ask has Mr Stanton looked at the New Half culture that exists in many countries including the US. I am not really sure if I can use this term, since it like every other term used seems charged, which makes it even harder to discuss the reality or gender divergent people. What of those who chose to remove all traces of their gender? People who lacking the will or desire to conform to the gender roles of society leave them all together.

There are many people who do not whis to subscribe to one of the genders, male or female. It is just that most of them shoe horn themselves into male and female because it is demanded on them from the ground up, identification cards, clothing labels, restrooms, job applications, leasing agreements, census data, expectations of family and friends, the list goes on. They just seem fit the “Criteria” for having a male or female gender because it is demanded of them, not because it is actually something that they own.

I will repeat that I offer myself up. If you want to get in touch with me feel free. I am not sure what you would consider as qualifying for one gender or the other though. Let me say, my Drivers License says Female, my Passport says Male, I usually have a beard, I mostly wear jeans with womans blouses, I have full breasts and wear a bra. I don’t call myself male or female anymore except where mandated by law and then I alternate between using my Passport gender or my Drivers License gender.

Lucas
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

“There are additional concerns I have with the AAA statement, such as it shifting anthropology from a descriptive discipline to a prescriptive…”

I find it amusing that frequently arguments against an authoritative, publicly-respected, publicly recognized organization reduces to raising questions regarding the organization’s objectivity and integrity.

“Contrary to the AAA, I find no corresponding reference to true homosexual, culturally-approved marriage in the anthropological record…”

I think the keyword here is “true” — what is considered “true homosexual marriage”? Therein lies the circular problem of attempting to define the concept of marriage, yet limiting oneself to a subset of relationships that satisfy a certain preconceived notion of what marriage is supposed to be.

Given the fact that homosexuals are a minority in the general population, whose natural tendencies are generally expressed in shadows, how much of those relationships were documented and could be found in archeological findings is questionable. More over, Mr. Stanton seemed to be having a double standard here. In certain (aristocratic western and Chinese, to name a few) societies, heterosexual marriage can viewed as merely glorified form of property exchange. Yet, when it comes to “true homosexual marriage”, he seemed to demand the modern-day romantic notion of homosexual marriage, of love, community-approval, etc.

Jason D
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

lucas, don’t forget kids! He seems to think it’s not a real marriage if it doesn’t have kids.

Timothy Kincaid
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

I find no corresponding reference to true homosexual, culturally-approved marriage in the anthropological record, similar to the unions we are discussing today, where two men or two women fall in love, marry under the embrace of the community and its mores, set up a home and raise children together and both are accepted as part of the larger kinship group.

In the early 1900’s, my grandmother’s uncle placed an ad in a newspaper for a bride. He lived in a German community in rural California, spoke German and English, and was a Lutheran. His ad was answered by a French Catholic girl in a convent in Louisiana who spoke no English.

He went on a train, picked her up, married her, and started a family. To think that this was “fall in love, marry under the embrace of the community and its mores” marriage would be ridiculous.

Question Mr. Stanton: Was their marriage a “real marriage”?

Piper
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

I am a undergraduate, majoring in Anthropology. I am kind of offended by Mr. Stanton.

If he wants to speak of anthropology with authority he needs to understand the history of Anthropology in America.

At my school we learn that the “father” of American Anthropology was a German Immigrant named Franz Boas. I’m not going to go into the details of Boas’s lifeand work, just say that he did a great deal to help debunk social evolution.(well, some horses refuse to die, just ask the KKK)

Most modern American Anthropologists can trace their teachers back to Boas, since he was a fanatic about teaching.

My favorite, and the most well-known Anthropologist is Margaret Mead. She was married 3 times, with one daughter. She had two lovers outside of her marriages, both of whom were women.

Anthropologists don’t ask something if they think it can’t be answered, or if they just don’t find the question interesting.

My personal area is children and violence. Some areas just aren’t studied as much as others.
For example, Kinship is the end all and be all of anthro studies. But, Anthropologists don’t usually assign western views of marriage to kinship.

PiaSharn
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

“One of my tasks is to help ensure Focus on the Family ‘gets it right’ on what we say about why the family is important. Now, we will never ‘get it right’ from everyone’s perspective, but we do want to make sure we don’t say incorrect or irresponsible things.”

Does “getting it right” include Dobson’s tendency to twist other people’s research to make it look like their work supports his point of view, when in fact they came to a very different conclusion than him?

(In all honesty, I’m not trying to be mean. However, I find your comments about “getting it right” to be at odds with the scientists and researchers who are understandably upset at how their work has been misused by your organization.)

“The same is true for the Native American berdache, which neither of us has addressed in this exchange.”

As a FYI, “berdache” is derived from a deragatory French word, and many Native Americans find it insulting, so you might want to reconsider using it. Most anthropologists (at least the ones that I’ve read) are using the term “two-spirit”, which is more accurate.

Also, as to the same-sex marriages involving the two-spirit people not being identical to modern same-sex marriages… So what? Opposite-sex marriages were different back then too.

My great-grandmother did not marry my great-grandfather because she loved him. She married him because their families arranged the union. This was very typical of traditional marriages. So if you’re going to argue that modern same-sex marriages are invalid because they are not identical to historical same-sex marriages, then one could also argue that modern opposite-sex marriages are invalid for the same reason.

Brady
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

It should be noted that the Christian church was so sex-negative that it did not want anything to do with marriages until the 12th century. For more than half of Christianity’s exsistence the church did not think that marriage was sacred

David, can you point me in the direction of some research behind that? I’d be very interested to read it. Thanks.

Emproph
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

Credibility.

Have Stanton’s original infractions regarding this issue been rectified yet?

1. Citizenlink completely revamped the original article, days later, after rebukes of it’s content, without any acknowledgement of it having been changed.

2. Stanton himself charges Ex-Gay Watch with the insinuations of a commenter (For the sake of disclosure, it was me, but that particular point is irrelevant.)

These are two cases of egregious wrongdoing, which to my knowledge, and despite repeated requests and outrage, have only been partially-scantily addressed by Mr. Stanton.

If the importance of the need for such practical accuracy cannot be agreed upon, how then is it possible to assume his accuracy on the complexities of anthropology—especially when it’s packaged within the bias of his own hetero-supremacist worldview?

I can see the benefit of having debates like this, as with Chapman’s exchanges with Jones and Yarhouse on the ex-gay study — the faulty logic etc., becomes all the more apparent when they respond in person. So I’m not contesting the debate here, but I am suggesting that for the sake of the credibility of the debate itself, these two very valid complaints need to continue to be at the forefront of the conversation — even if only in mentioning them.

So, Mr. Stanton, am I mistaken? Have you indeed resolved these issues to the satisfaction of all parties concerned?

Sargon Bighorn
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

Civil marriage equality is not being discussed here as much as the “humanness” of Gay and Lesbian citizens. Mr. Stanton would like to render GLBT citizens down to “things” that are not up to the level of human that he is and therefore not worthy of enjoying the same civil rights he enjoys. “Unfortunately the legalization of same-sex marriage would not help us connect more children with their fathers,…” See how he blames Gay people for this problem. Don’t blame Gay Americans for the lack of leadership on the part of Hetero-parents.

Chairm
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

Typically, as used by anthropologists, means “of a type”. Taken in the context of the anthropological record, Stanton correctly used the cited source.

* * *

Someone at the top of this thread thought he found a “gotcha” when he quoted a dictionary.

1: constituting or having the nature of a type : symbolic

2 a: combining or exhibiting the essential characteristics of a group b: conforming to a type

The nature of marriage is both-sexed. Marriage is constituted of a husband and wife. Essentially, marriage unites motherhood and fatherhood. When the both-sex relationship conforms to this type, it is classified anthropologically as, marriage.

Typically, in this useage, does not mean, “sometimes”.

In any case, if you really want to disprove what Stanton has said about marriage, answer his request for counter examples.

Chairm
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

–> “how then is it possible to assume his accuracy on the complexities of anthropology”

Don’t assume. No one asks you to do so.

Read the substantive points he has made about the very wide consensus on the anthropological record, complexities and all.

Chairm
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

–> “So if you’re going to argue that modern same-sex marriages are invalid because they are not identical to historical same-sex marriages, then one could also argue that modern opposite-sex marriages are invalid for the same reason.”

I don’t think he argued that. He rather observed that there is a paucity, to say the least, of anthropolitical evidence for “historical same-sex marriage”.

Whatever the differences between cultures, and across human history, the man-woman basis of marriage has remained a constant.

That’s the comparison he has made.

Chairm
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

Arranged marriages do not disprove the both-sexed basis of marriage.

But maybe there are some scholars here who can cite examples of arranged “same sex marriage” on the historical record?

And if you claim that these would have occurred “in the shadows”, if at all, you kind of prove his larger point about the anthropological consensus on what human societies have recognized as marriage.

Chairm
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

–> “If you’re serious about children being the focus of marriage, then you have to agree these are reasonable and just.”

Not so.

The nature of marriage is the combination of 1) integration of the sexes, 2) contingency for responsible procreation.

This is extrinsic to all one-sexed arrangements (homosexual or not, gay-identified or not, sexualized or not).

There are legal requirements that show the core of marriage. The man-woman criterion stands for integratin of the sexes. The marriage presumption of paternity applies to all marriages and it unites fatherhood and motherhood; it also provides contingency for responsible procreation and that contingency is indeed enforced rather vigorously.

Such requirements are attacked by SSM argumentation, sure, but what are the definitive legal requirements (absolutely enforced) of the relationship type you have in mind?

Use your own SSM rules regarding procreation and marriage. Apply those to love or whatever else you say is the core of what you call “marriage”. I bet that nothing much would be left that would distinguish between marriage and nonmarriage.

If you point to love, then, you end up relying on a relatively modern tradition even as you seem to dismiss the traditions, customs, and legal requirements that are on the record and demonstrate the both-sexed nature of the conjugal relationship type.

Chairm
March 26th, 2008 | LINK

–> “i would seek research in the countries that already have SS marriage w/ children households.”

Sure, and you can get back to us all in a couple of generations.

In the meantime, most of those households, by far, have children who migrated with a parent from previously procreative both-sex relationships (i.e. marriages, usually). These kids have both moms and dads.

A tiny subset of that very small and hard to study child population living in same-sex househodls was attained via alternative methods such as adoption or 3rd party procreation.

Third party procreation is extramarital even when married people use it. Surely this is not the center piece in the case made for SSM arugmentation.

Adoption does not bestow marital status. In fact, it is legitimate and constitutional to prioritize adoption based on marital status of the prospective adoptors. In any case, SSM cannot provide the direct adult-child legal relationship that adoption can provide. And adoption depends on at least two pre-requisites: parental relinquishment (or loss) and a governmentn intervention to decree a replacement to serve as the child’s parent(s).

Pointing to adoption and to third party procreation is to point out that SSM is the inverse of the core of marriage. See the marriage presumption of paternity which cannot apply to the one-sexed arrangement.

Johno
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

“Unfortunately the legalization of same-sex marriage would not help us connect more children with their fathers, but often do precisely the opposite.”

This statement relies of the fallacy that legitimization of gay families will somehow result in a greater number of homosexuals. Though it isn’t implicitly stated it goes back to the common Christian belief that Homosexuals are created, not born.

And I have to wonder in what instance for a lesbian mother who is forced to be unmarried to her partner, does that force result in her having a relationship with the child’s father that she would not have otherwise had? There is a very creepy implication there of the kind of world Mr. Stanton would like.

Jason D
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Marriage is the only time in an adult’s life when they get to mutually choose their kin. Children do not choose their parents. Brother’s do not choose their sisters. Aunt’s do not choose their nephews.

But husbands and wives choose each other, that is at the core of marriage, at least in the US: Choice.

We frown upon arranged marriages, shotgun marriages. We have movies and fairy tales where the greatest tragedy heaped upon the bride is that she does not get to choose her groom.

Gays and lesbians choose our partners regardless of our legal standing. Keeping us from having legal marriages merely punishes us for not making the choice in kin that others believe we shold make. And this withholding of legal recognition causes well-documented harm to the couple and any children they have. The opposition points to the need to have their “deeply held” beliefs put into law, as if denying or approving those beliefs were government business. They cannot demonstrate actual harm that is the result of gay marriage. They can only grasp at straws and make unearned doomsday predictions.

Jason D
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

“The nature of marriage is the combination of 1) integration of the sexes, 2) contingency for responsible procreation.”

The sexes aren’t segregated.

if you mean “integration” as a metaphor for sexual intercourse — you don’t need marriage for that.

Sportin' Life
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

The statement of methodology is interesting.

It clearly and openly states that Stanton is not interested in conducting an unbiased review of the literature. His purpose is to find possible weaknesses in the foregone conclusions determined by his religious beliefs, and then modify FOF’s propaganda to patch the holes using the language of scholarship.

He says this explicitly: We seek to learn from them and see how they inform, challenge or oppose our unapologetically evangelical Christian perspective. We often make adjustments based on reading and interactions with these scholars, strengthening, changing or dropping certain arguments.

So what is the good that people think can come out of dialog of this kind?

Jason D
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Sportin’ Life,

Well, at least he’s honest. At least he’s being truthfull “We’re not going to change our minds about this, but we will change how we articulate it and what evidence we use to support it.”

That, of course, is the difference between faith and science.

Science puts forth a hypothesis, an idea, a question. Tests it’s veracity. At a certain point the data collected supports, refines, or negates the hypothesis. You get an answer.

Faith, however, puts forth an answer first. It expects that answer to be taken without question…on faith alone.

I’ve noticed that some people of faith attempt to use science to support their answer, rather than testing a question. It’s backward. When science doesn’t support the answer, they don’t change or abandon the answer, they merely search for data that does support the answer, sometimes taking them down the road of intellectual dishonesty, fabrication, and intentional misuse of data.

If you need science to support your faith, seems like you don’t have much in the way of faith. The nature of faith is that it can’t really be proven or disproven. If it could, it would be fact. The whole point of faith is to answer questions that can’t really be answered any other way.

The intersection happens when science finds a way to answer a question previously answered by faith. Galileo suffered for answering a question put forth by faith, it wasn’t until recently that the church apologized. I have no doubt that it will take almost as long for Evangelical Christians to admit they are wrong about gays, and to apologize for whatever harm they have caused us.

Joel (#2)
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

I’m amazed at the lack of Mr. Stanton’s self-awareness. He decries anthropology for being binary, then espouses a decidedly binary view. Then he complains that anthropology is proscriptive rather than descriptive, then goes on to proscribe against behaviors that harm neither him nor society. At least in terms of consistency, I do believe anthropology takes this point.

Regan DuCasse
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Wow, I read each and every post and I AM impressed people.
And I agree that just because there is no ancient tradition of same sex, ‘marriage’, that doesn’t mean it’s legitimate to dismiss it NOW. There hasn’t been much legal widespread precedent for interracial marriage in America before the 40’s, so?
What was then considered to have the same detriment in society (mixed marriages and children) turned out to be a VERY good thing. Obvviously the results of legal marriage in other countries and MA have yielded proof that SSM has no detriment, but quite a good deal of benefit to society.

I did notice that Stanton left out a HUGE amount of that study on fathers and parenting. I WAS focused on single parents, particularly mothers. And the ethnic break down showed that single MOTHERS, native american and black identified single mothers had the toughest time.
Those studies DIDN’T pertain to two same sex gay couples.

And since it looks like FOTF researchers tend to leave out or distort information, I doubt they have bothered to look at the data of the last two and a half decades on SS parents.

He’s already admitted that he hasn’t studied same sex couples in native peoples in America.
But I have a book, Homosexuality and Civilization, (something like that, it’s buried in my closet), on EXACTLY what Stanton says never existed.
Christian missionaries destroyed a great deal of evidence contrary to what Stanton says. They executed homosexuals and colonialization did the rest.

I think too, the contradiction in terms on marriage for procreation, is assuming not only that children are the goal, but that gender has rigid roles in marriage.
And the ROLE of gender cannot be legislated, any more than the VOWS of marriage can be.
And this also leave out the option of the intersexed to be married if people like Stanton and FOTF insist that GENDER is such a major thing, even to a couple WITHOUT children.

Besides, it’s not like gay people are never born with the ability to nurture and care for ANYONE in a family that needs it.
And not ALL heterosexuals are endowed with the ability to NURTURE a child to a successful conclusion. The bottom line is :procreation is moot if nurturing a life is impossible.

At any rate, it’s so frustrating when people are so blatantly hypocritical or contradictory when it comes to such an important social issue.

Martin Lanigan
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Mr. Stanton writes:

“We seek to learn from them and see how they inform, challenge or oppose our unapologetically evangelical Christian perspective. We often make adjustments based on reading and interactions with these scholars, strengthening, changing or dropping certain arguments.”

The implication is that this so-called “unapologetically evangelical Christian perspective” bends to reality. I am skeptical that this is in fact FoF’s actual modus operandi. More often than not, FoF shoe horns reality into their Christian perspective rather than the other way around.

Additionally, Mr. Stanton’s characterization of an “unapologetic” evangelism, hardly seems consistent with something that he wishes us to believe is so very accomodating of science. Who is kidding who here?

A Christian persepctive that always gives way to reality begs the question of why a Christian perspective is necessary in the first place. Why not simply consult reality and leave it at that?

PiaSharn
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm: “Arranged marriages do not disprove the both-sexed basis of marriage.

I don’t think anyone was trying to make that argument. (I certainly was not.) What we were attempting to illustrate was how marriages have changed quite drastically over time; how something that was once normal and approved of can now be deemed distasteful by our current standards.

Timothy and I were trying to show that at one point not all that long ago, an arranged marriage between two people who did not love each other was considered completely normal. (Timothy, please correct me if I’m misinterpreting your post.)

How many people living in the US right now would consider a loveless marriage between two strangers to be normal or right? How many would chose it for themselves?

Pointing out that the vast majority of marriages in the past have been opposite-sex unions seems pointless when our views on marriage are so very different from those of our ancestors.

werdna
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

There’s so much to say about this debate but for now I just want to share this quote from Edvard Westermarck, the first anthropologist cited by Stanton in his paper, which seems relevant to the issue of how Stanton attempts to reconcile science with his “unapologetically evangelical Christian perspective”:

“The patient and impartial search after hidden truth, for the sake of truth alone, which constitutes the essence of scientific research, is of course the very opposite of that ready acceptance of a revealed truth for the sake of eternal salvation, which has been insisted by the Churches.” (from Christianity and Morals, 1939)

I think it’s quite funny that the very first quote Stanton chose is from a Free-Thinking, homosexual (and a Finn!). I can only imagine what Professor Westermarck would’ve thought of his work being used to bolster the kind of backward social agenda that Focus on the Family promotes.

Chairm
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

–> “the fallacy that legitimization of gay families will somehow result in a greater number of homosexuals”

Not quite right.

Marriage integrates fatherhood and motherhood. The union of husband and wife is a type of relationship; and marriage is first and last a social institution based on that relationship type. This foundational social institution makes responsible procreation normative.

No one-sex scenario can do this. With an all-male scenairio, the child’s mother would relinquish parental status, for example. That is the inverse of the marriage presumption of paternity.

Most of the children living in same-sex households have both moms and dads who had been in procreative relationships (usually marriages). Divorce and estrangement also tends to segregate motherhood and fatherhood.

The use of “donor” sperm supplies reduces the father to irrelevance. SSM argumentation points to this practice as justification for the SSM merger.

If the SSM campaign’s project encourages such scenarios, then, the SSM merger with marriage recognition “would not help us [society] connect more children with their fathers, but often [would] do precisely the opposite”.

Should society act as if fathers are irrelevant to their children?

The first principle of responsible procreation is that, barring dire circumstances or tragedy, the mother and the father stick around to be the “biological” and the “social” parents of the children they bring into this world.

Should this be abolished, as well? If yes, why? If no, then, how would you have society encourage the integration of motherhood and fatherhood if not through societal preference for the union of husband and wife?

Chairm
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

–> “But husbands and wives choose each other, that is at the core of marriage, at least in the US: Choice.”

If that is the core, then, please justify whatever lines you would draw around that core so that society may distinguish between marriage and nonmarriage.

Or would you not draw lines and rely solely on choice?

You are correct when you say that children do not choose their parents. Marriage, as a social institution with normative infuence, provides the contingency that transforms the choice of spouse into sex integration and contingency for responsible procreation.

Marriage is a coherent whole — hence it is not just procreation, not just “choice”, not just “integration. It is greater than the sum of its parts. It is the combination. Dismantling this combination is what SSM argumentation aims for. When marriage is recognized as bits and pieces rather than as a foundational social institution, it is demoted from a preferential status to a protective status. It becomes a subset in a much broader category of arrangements.

If choice is the core, then, on what basis, if any, would related people be prohibited? Or people who are already married by would choose to add another marriage and to add more kin?

Martin Lanigan
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Chaim writes:

“Marriage integrates fatherhood and motherhood.”

Says who? And why must this be ever so? Why is this a necessary condition of marriage?

Chairm
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

–> The sexes aren’t segregated. if you mean “integration” as a metaphor for sexual intercourse — you don’t need marriage for that.

The nature of humankind is two-sexed.

In the all-male or the all-female arrangements, one sex is excluded.

Integration of the sexes is not a metaphor for sexual intercourse. It is much more than that.

Your remark “you don’t need marriage for that [i.e. sexual intercourse]” points to the societal need for the marriage presumption of paternity.

That presumption cannot apply to the full range of the one-sexed category. Sticking the label “marriage” onto that category does not make the presumption applicable.

In various ways, society has tried to accomodate unwed sexual intercourse and childbearing.

For example, in the US our welfare laws now empower vigorous enforcement of the contingency for responsible procreation — outside of marriage. It is a heavy-handed way of doing what the integration of the sexes does within marriage.

Many jurisdictions also have statutory presumption for nonmarital procreation. It is cumbersome and intrusive. However, it is based on the same sort of sexual relationship that provides the basis for the marriage presumption (and consummation). That also does not apply to the one-sexed category.

Evidently there is a need to integrate the sexes, across society, on multiple levels. The most foundational is the level of family formation. This is where marriage comes in, as a social institution in civil society, and as such it is not owned nor created by the government. The legal shadow is not the thing that casts that shadow.

Jason D
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

““But husbands and wives choose each other, that is at the core of marriage, at least in the US: Choice.”

If that is the core, then, please justify whatever lines you would draw around that core so that society may distinguish between marriage and nonmarriage.””

If it’s not at the core, please provide an example of marriage that people would agree with that doesn’t involve consent.

“If choice is the core, then, on what basis, if any, would related people be prohibited?”

Marriage is kinship, mother, son, father, nephew, uncle, sister, grandma all have an existing kinship relationship with each other that is both legally and socially recognized – it would be redundant.

Chairm
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

–> “Science puts forth a hypothesis, an idea, a question. Tests it’s veracity. At a certain point the data collected supports, refines, or negates the hypothesis. You get an answer.”

What is the core of the relationship type that you have in mind when you refer to marriage?

What is your idea? Let’s test it with two of the key rules of pro-SSM argumentation.

1. If it occurs outside of marriage, it is not essential to marriage.

2. If there is no legal requirement, enforced absolutely, it is not essential to marriage.

The type of relationship needs to be identified if it is going to be given legal recognition based on its merits (and demerits). If it cannot be identified, then, what’s the point of asserting an alternative to the conjugal union of husband and wife?

Chairm
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Jason D, related people can and do marry. You need to justify the lines better.

–> “If it’s not at the core, please provide an example of marriage that people would agree with that doesn’t involve consent.”

Someone upthread has already pointed to the anthropoligical record regarding arranged marriages of a coercive kind.

When you refer to consent, you need to explain the “what” to which consent is given.

I would also say that if consent is meant to indicate a mature and competent choice and commitment, then, the SSM rules of argumentation will work against drawing lines based on chronological age.

Chairm
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Martin Lanigan, the marriage presumption and the man-woman criterion says that marriage integrates the sexes and provides contingency for responsible procreation.

These are legal requirements, enforced, which the SSM campaign would abolish both in the law and in the culture.

Look to the anthropological record and you will find this is the core of the social institution of marriage, across cultures.

Wherever SSM merges with marriage recognition, these legal requirements are replaced by some other core idea about what falls under the rubric of “marriage”.

But what is that core idea as per your questions:

“Says who? And why must this be ever so? Why is this a necessary condition of marriage?”

Chairm
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

PiaSharn, there is law against arranged marriage in the USA. In some societies in our modern era, such as India, about half of all marriages are arranged.

–> “marriages have changed quite drastically over time”

And with all that, the man-woman criterion remains.

–> “how something that was once normal and approved of can now be deemed distasteful by our current standards”

I doubt you meant that the union of husband and wife is now deemed distasteful because it is both-sexed.

Rather than guess, I should just ask, what did you mean by that remark?

* * *

–> “How many people living in the US right now would consider a loveless marriage between two strangers to be normal or right? How many would chose it for themselves?”

Is love a legal requirement, as per the rules that SSM argumentation uses to attack the link between marriage and procreation?

Again, if you are going to say that a widespread shared public meaning is vital to what a society recognizes as “marriage”, then, SSM stands outside the box even in our very free and tolerant society.

–> “Pointing out that the vast majority of marriages in the past have been opposite-sex unions seems pointless when our views on marriage are so very different from those of our ancestors.”

Yet it is a valid observation of the anthropological record to point out that the social institution is universal (or very near universal) across cultures and that its nature is both-sexed.

The merger of SSM with marriage is a very recent innovation and a novel one at that.

The merger is a replacement. It is not merely an extension of the social institution.

As for ancestors, well, the nature of humankind is as two-sexed today as it was for them. Likewise, the nature of human procreation and of human community remains both-sexed.

And human nature doesn’t change. You are pointing to varying social mores around the regulation of the parameters of marriage. Stanton has pointed to the core of marriage that is in common despite those variations. This is very significant when considering the social influence of any social institution.

As I said, if the new idea is superior and should replace the universal idea of marriage, then, it ought to be presented in contradiction of the anthropological record and justified on some other basis than, well, its new and differn and new and better is always better.

Chairm
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Ooops. Type correction:

PiaSharn, there is no law against arranged marriage in the USA.

Chairm
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Typo correction (buttefingers):

it ought to be presented in contradiction of the anthropological record and justified on some other basis than, well, its new and differnt and new and different is always better.

Martin Lanigan
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm writes:

“Look to the anthropological record and you will find this is the core of the social institution of marriage, across cultures.”

Ahhem…so to paraphrase – your definition of marriage is based on your interpretation of historical precedent – as documented by anthropology. Heaven forbid I oversimplify your response, but it is essentially: “because it has been so in the past, so it must be forever in the future!” Even if there were no absolutely incidences of same gender marriages in the anthropological record…so what?

An appeal to historical precedent is generally considered a very weak argument indeed. Click here for a primer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition

What you seem to fail to gleen from the many articulate posts here is that marriage is a human construct that has evolved over time to meet the needs of individuals and society. EVOLVED over time. It has CHANGED.

In case you think Arkansas is the centre of the universe, you might have noticed that a number of other countries (eg. Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa) have recognized equal marriage. Marriage – it is a human construct that has evolved in some parts of the world and now recognizes opposite sex marriages and same sex marriages.

Given time, you will see that this too will become a tradition and a precedent.

So what then will be the basis for your objection?

Martin Lanigan
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm writes:

“These are legal requirements, enforced, which the SSM campaign would abolish both in the law and in the culture.”

Nonsense. We are advocating for equal marriage. It in no way abolishes opposite sex marriages.

Martin Lanigan
March 27th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm asks:

“But what is that core idea as per your questions:

“Says who? And why must this be ever so? Why is this a necessary condition of marriage?””

Justice demands the equal treatment of LGBT couples. Marriage is a concept that has been expanded to include 2 persons. 2 persons committed to live in a monogamous relationship with one another. A union based in mutual love and respect. An union which may or may not provide a home for children.

Can it be abused? Absolutely. But no more then when it was the exclusive purview of heterosexuals.

So what is your point?

Emproph
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm says…

–> “how then is it possible to assume his accuracy on the complexities of anthropology”

Don’t assume. No one asks you to do so.

Read the substantive points he has made about the very wide consensus on the anthropological record, complexities and all.

It wasn’t about assuming the accuracy of anthropology, it was about assuming the importance of accuracy itself—or were you suggesting that that’s up for debate?

Jason D
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

“The merger is a replacement. It is not merely an extension of the social institution.”

There is not one respected gay marriage advocacy group that is fighting for marriage for gays and only gays.

This is a scare tactic born of a mind incapable of understanding coexistance.

Martin, and thanks for catching the logical fallacy – appeal to tradition.

Emproph
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

(And thank you for naming it Jason D)

From The Nizkor Project—from the Google search “appeal to tradition”.

Fallacy: Appeal to Tradition

Also Known as: Appeal to the Old, Old Ways are Best, Fallacious Appeal to the Past, Appeal to Age

Description of Appeal to Tradition

Appeal to Tradition is a fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that something is better or correct simply because it is older, traditional, or “always has been done.” This sort of “reasoning” has the following form:

X is old or traditional
Therefore X is correct or better.

The explanation goes well on from there, and I think most of us here get the reasoning involved, but it’s nice to be able to peg that understanding with such a short tune.

Jason D
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

emproph, and everyone else.
here’s a handy list of logical fallacies:

A Handy List of Logical Fallacies

Emproph
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Thanks again Jason, excellent resource. That stuff is just fun to go through and read sometimes.

Moving right along then, and based on the fallacy of tradition, it fancied me to entertain this equation…

Anthropological = historical
Historical = traditional
Traditional, as an argument = fallacious
Therefore: Anthropological, as an argument against SSM = fallacious.

Now have I missed something in the anthropological debate so far, or is it really this simple?

Fannie
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Okay, so I read this response and at the end of it all I was left with was this:

In Glenn Stanton’s reading of the literature, marriage has always been between a man and a woman. Glenn Stanton, therefore thinks that because it has always been this way, it should always continue to be this way.

Neat-o.

But I agree with what’s already been said: Isn’t that just a common old appeal to tradition?

And as for Chairm’s argument:

“Marriage requires sex integetration.”

That’s really just an odd, lingo-y way of saying “marriage must be between a man and a woman because only a man and a woman can get married.”

Cool. But isn’t the whole point of the marriage debate to decide whether two people of the same-sex can get married? Chairm’s argument states his conclusion as a fact and effectively precludes debate on the issue.

Ephilei
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Dr. Stanton,

Let me be the first, then. I am both female and male. Are you really so daft to pretend the whole population of intersex people don’t exist? I don’t call you a bigot, but you are following one stereotype of religious bigots: if I don’t see someone with my own eyes, not reports, that person does not exist.

As transgender, I can’t help but notice that you consistently confused sex with gender – so much that you much either not understand the difference or you assume they always align along the binary. You must realize this is an audience that will not stand for that assumption with explanation?

werdna
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Emproph, I just want to point out that much of anthropological work is not historical at all. Many anthropologists study existing (though often “traditional,” which usually means non-Western) cultures. Part of the work that Stanton references is historical in nature, but much of it concerns contemporary cultures that anthropologists have observed directly.

The point remains that even if there are no examples from the broad range of recorded human culture, whether historical or contemporary, of anything that exactly matches modern same-sex marriage, that’s still not an argument against same-sex marriage. As Dr. Chapman pointed out, the same can be said of opposite-sex marriage in the US. I think we can agree that same-sex marriage is something of an innovation in human culture. That in and of itself is hardly a compelling reason to oppose it.

The modern world is full of new things. Some are exciting and wonderful, some are scary and terrible. For many of us same-sex marriage is an exciting and liberating development, for Focus on the Family it’s a scary and threatening one. I’m not sure how we can convince people who are so afraid of same-sex marriage that their fears are overblown and misplaced. I don’t think any kind of scientific data will sway them either way. I suspect that it may be a matter of their getting used to it when it happens. Eventually it will just be normal and they’ll be a little embarrased that they ever made such a fuss. I just hope I live to see that day!

Emproph
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Apparently he’s busy Ephilei, but let me give it a try:

Anything other than heterosexual male, and heterosexual female, is due to Satan’s influence in the world.

Does that about sum it up Dr. Stanton?

Oh that’s right. You’re busy.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Prof. Stanton, did you find any examples of a marriage that were not allowed to conceive children together?

I read Blankenhorn’s book and Coontz’s book, and noticed that every single marriage they noted was allowed to conceive children together. Couples that were not allowed to conceive of children together have universally not been allowed to marry.

Would you agree with that reading of history?

Now, we should prohibit people from conceiving of children with someone of their same sex, due to ethical and practical reasons.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Ephilei, are you claiming that you can both sire and bear a child? That you could provide sperm to impregnate a woman, and also provide an egg to be fertilized by a man? That would be a first, so far, there are no recorded mother-and-fathers in human history. Some fish and lizards, maybe, but not humans.

It shouldn’t be allowed, we should only be allowed to conceive as the sex which we are most likely to be fertile as, regardless of our outward appearances or legal gender. We shouldn’t be allowed to choose which sex to reproduce as, or with.

Jason D
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

That’s really just an odd, lingo-y way of saying “marriage must be between a man and a woman because only a man and a woman can get married.”

Which is a circular argument. Similar to defining a word by itself. For example saying “A cat is an animal that possesses cat qualities.”

Ephilei brings us to another important point. If marriage is to be restricted to one man, one woman, we have to then define two things – What is a Man? What is a Woman? Most people would say genitals and or genetics. Science tells us it’s not as simple as we’d like to believe.

For example we have:

Aphallia, a child born without a penis or clitoris.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphallia
http://www.isna.org/faq/conditions/aphalia

Anorchia, a child born without testes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anorchia
http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/001185.htm
which, depending on when it occurs, can lead to ambiguous genetalia:
http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/003269.htm
I want to point you to one particular quote:
In very rare instances, the physical appearance may be fully developed as the opposite of the genetic sex. For example, a genetic male may have developed the appearance of a normal female.

So genetalia are not a reliable source, as some may be ambiguous, absent, or not lined up with the genes, speaking of genes, boys are XY and Girls are XX, right? Hmm, maybe not:

XY Female
The testes don’t work, a penis doesn’t develop. With hormone treatments this “female” can develop into a woman, but cannot become a man.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swyer_syndrome
http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/x/xy_female/intro.htm

XX Male
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=25059
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XX_male_syndrome

XXY Female
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1483688
http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Doi=56845

XXY Male
http://rarediseases.about.com/cs/sexchromosome/a/092900.htm
http://rarediseases.about.com/cs/sexchromosome/a/092900.htm

Xo Female Turner Syndrome. A woman with only one X and no other chromosome for that pair.
http://www.medilexicon.com/medicaldictionary.php?t=32440
http://cancerweb.ncl.ac.uk/cgi-bin/omd?XO+female

Human Chimera Someone who’s body contains more than one set of genes. They are a blend of two different sets of genes. Often happens when one twin absorbs the other.
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=8905
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/11/13/nivf113.xml

So we can’t use outward appearance, genitalia, or genes, as the examples above prove problematic. And that’s before we even talk about people who’ve made changes to their anatomy.
Some of these conditions happen with no outward or ill effects, so some of us here may have one of these conditions and not know it. Some of these are rare conditions, but that doesn’t mean these people are any less important. I suspect that since some of these conditions have gone unnoticed, and continue to be undetected when they pose no harm — not all of the “traditional male/female” couples in history have actually been what they appeared to be on the surface.

Jason D
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

(continued from above)
XY Female
The testes don’t work, a penis does develop. With hormone treatments this “female” can develop into a woman, but cannot become a man.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swyer_syndrome
http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/x/xy_female/intro.htm

XX Male
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=25059
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XX_male_syndrome

XXY Female
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1483688
http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Doi=56845

XXY Male
http://rarediseases.about.com/cs/sexchromosome/a/092900.htm
http://rarediseases.about.com/cs/sexchromosome/a/092900.htm

Xo Female Turner Syndrome. A woman with only one X and no other chromosome for that pair.
http://www.medilexicon.com/medicaldictionary.php?t=32440
http://cancerweb.ncl.ac.uk/cgi-bin/omd?XO+female

Human Chimera Someone who’s body contains more than one set of genes. They are a blend of two different sets of genes. Often happens when one twin absorbs the other.
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=8905
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/11/13/nivf113.xml

So we can’t use outward appearance, genitalia, or genes, as the examples above prove problematic. And that’s before we even talk about people who’ve made changes to their anatomy.
Some of these conditions happen with no outward or ill effects, so some of us here may have one of these conditions and not know it. Some of these are rare conditions, but that doesn’t mean these people are any less important. I suspect that since some of these conditions have gone unnoticed, and continue to be undetected when they pose no harm — not all of the “traditional male/female” couples in history have actually been what they appeared to be on the surface.

Ben in Oakland
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

If I may throw in my 2 cents on this subject:

1) Marriage has been primarily a heterosexual institution over time, though not necessarily one man and one woman.

2) There is evidence in both current and historical contexts that same-sex marriages have been accepted.

3) Marriage has changed drastically over time, and exists in many different forms to day. To say that it is one man+one woman is just not true.

4) There is not one shred of evidence or logic which says that allowing same-sex couples to marry will somehow change it forever in such a way as to debase, degrade, or destroy marriage.

5) If marriage is so important to the stability of society, then what sense does excluding gay couples from it make,especially those with children? And since Holy Heterosexuality produces so many unwanted children as a by-product of heterosexuality and hetero irresponsibility, allowing and encouraging gay people to marry and adopt those children is actually of benefit to society.

6) In fact, things like domestic partnership and civil unions declare flatly that there are other options. and that marriage isn’t the gold standard its so-called protectors proclaim it to be.

6) and ifnally, the most important point of all– will everyobdy who thinks that this is actually about MARRIAGE as opposed to the institutionlized prejudice against gay people and maintaining that prejudice at all costs– will you please raise your hands?

This whole argument is no more about marriage than DADT is aobut military preparedness, sodomy laws are about god’s will, job protection is about forcing employers to hire people they wuld prefer to discriminate against, anti-adoption laws are whats best for THE CHILDREN (TM), or any of the rest of it.

It’s all about how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Jason, do any of those mean that a person can have a child with a person of either sex? I doubt it, right?

What is a Man? What is a Woman?

These should be defined by a person’s most-likely-to-conceive-as sex. A person who is most likely to be able to conceive with a woman (any random woman) is a man. And no, that’s not circular, it’s complementary. They define each other.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

4) There is not one shred of evidence or logic which says that allowing same-sex couples to marry will somehow change it forever in such a way as to debase, degrade, or destroy marriage.

If we were to prohibit same-sex conception (which we should certainly do) but also allow same-sex marriage, then SSM would indeed change marriage, it would strip marriage of its essential constant, the right to conceive children together. Couples that are prohibited from conceiving together should not be allowed to marry, so that marriage continues to protect the couple’s right to use their own genes to conceive together.

Jason D
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

sorry about the double post, it was one big post that didn’t seem to submit, so I tried to cut it into two, and well, that didn’t quite work out. and for the XY female, the penis does NOT develop.

Jason D
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

“Jason, do any of those mean that a person can have a child with a person of either sex? I doubt it, right?”

That is irrelevant. Plenty of kids get born without marriage, and plenty of people get marrried and don’t have kids.

“What is a Man? What is a Woman?

These should be defined by a person’s most-likely-to-conceive-as sex. A person who is most likely to be able to conceive with a woman (any random woman) is a man. And no, that’s not circular, it’s complementary. They define each other.”

Sorry, John, we already let people who can’t or won’t procreate marry.
Plus by your standards, those that can’t produce are neither men nor women, and that would include people who are by accident or design infertile, women who’ve had a hysterectomy and men who’ve had a vasectomy.

I’m a man, I don’t know if I can or cannot conceive a child with a woman, nor do I care to. That does not make my relationship with my partner any less significant or special. Nor are my Aunt and Uncle less married because they had no interest in having kids.

We’re talking about a small change to open the definition to same sex couples, you’re talking about upheaval that would render a larger group of people unable to marry and null and void the marriages of countless people who already are married.

Ben in Oakland
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

“If we were to prohibit same-sex conception (which we should certainly do) but also allow same-sex marriage, then SSM would indeed change marriage, it would strip marriage of its essential constant, the right to conceive children together. Couples that are prohibited from conceiving together should not be allowed to marry, so that marriage continues to protect the couple’s right to use their own genes to conceive together.”

I’m really not sure what you are saying here, but no law apart from biology is going to prohibit a same-sex couple from conceiving together.

But it’s not about THE CHILDREN (TM). No law currently requires children for couples to marry, nor marriage for people who have children. So, i’m not sure hwat children have to do with the argument.

And finally, quoting myself “…then what sense does excluding gay couples from it make,especially those with children? And since Holy Heterosexuality produces so many unwanted children as a by-product of heterosexuality and hetero irresponsibility, allowing and encouraging gay people to marry and adopt those children is actually of benefit to society.”

PiaSharn
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm: “PiaSharn, there is no law against arranged marriage in the USA. In some societies in our modern era, such as India, about half of all marriages are arranged.”

I never said that arranged marriages were illegal. And I am fully aware that some parts of the world still practice arranged marriages and view them as normal. Neither of these are related to the point I was trying to make.

I was referring to attitudes towards marriage in the United States and how they have changed. This is why I brought up the case of my great-grandparents. Neither they, their families, nor the people around them considered them entering into an arranged marriage to be anything unusual. However, in the United States today, most people would not consider an arranged marriage to be normal.

Chairm: –> “how something that was once normal and approved of can now be deemed distasteful by our current standards”

“I doubt you meant that the union of husband and wife is now deemed distasteful because it is both-sexed.”

Again, I was talking about arranged marriages, and how attitudes about them in the United States have changed over time.

Why in the world would I say that male-female marriages are now considered distasteful? They are obviously just as accepted today as they were hundreds of years ago. It’s the reasons behind the marriages that I’ve been talking about.

Chairm: “As I said, if the new idea is superior and should replace the universal idea of marriage, then, it ought to be presented in contradiction of the anthropological record and justified on some other basis than, well, its new and differnt and new and different is always better.”

No, just because something is new and different does not make it better.

However, just because something is old and traditional does not make it better, either.

A much more traditional view of marriage sees the woman as merely the property of her husband. Is this truly a better belief? Allowing women the right to own bank accounts and property in their own names, allowing them the right to vote, these were new and different. Did we make the wrong decision by going through with this change?

And when you get right down to it, change is inevitable. Sometimes it’s for the best, sometimes it’s not, but it’s going to happen.

Look, same-sex couples are already living together. They’re buying houses and sharing the bills and raising children and doing all the same things as their modern heterosexual counterparts. If same-sex marriage were legalized tomorrow, the only thing that would change in this country is that these couples could file jointly on their taxes, not be forced to testify against each other in court, make medical decisions for each other, etcetera.

That’s it.

No huge upheaval. Really, what would happen? How would our culture really change?

All we want is for same-sex couples and their families to have the same legal rights and protections as heterosexual couples. We don’t want to disolve or invalidate heterosexual marriages or anything of the sort.

We just don’t think that same-sex couples should be treated as second-class citizens.

Your arguments all seem to be based on the fact that previous societies didn’t practice same-sex marriage regularily. But we don’t live in the same world as they did! We live in a very different time, with very different views on love, marriage, parenting, gender roles and whatnot.

If our views on marriage can change, why can’t our laws concerning marriage also change? Especially when not changing said laws deprives a group of people from equal protection under the law?

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

So, you agree that none of those intersexed conditions results in fertility as both a man and a woman, then?

That is irrelevant. Plenty of kids get born without marriage, and plenty of people get marrried and don’t have kids.

Do you think I’m not aware of that? That’s irrelevant to the right of a marriage to conceive children together. No marriage should be prohibited from conceiving children together.

As to the definition of man and woman, it was “most likely to conceive as”, it didn’t require it. It asks, if this person were healthy, which sex would they be most likely to conceive as? It is based on the methylation of their genes, their genetic imprinting, not their genetalia.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

I’m really not sure what you are saying here, but no law apart from biology is going to prohibit a same-sex couple from conceiving together.

No, apparently we will now need a law to prevent labs from attempting same-sex conception using stem-cell derived gametes. Google “same-sex procreation” or “female sperm” and you’ll see that people are actually working on this. It should be prohibited before someone tries it.

Ben in Oakland
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

“Couples that are prohibited from conceiving together should not be allowed to marry, so that marriage continues to protect the couple’s right to use their own genes to conceive together.”

I’m still not sure what you are saying in your new post, but it seems to be the same as this paragraph above. If it is, then I still don’t understand how my marrying the man I love affects anyone else’s “right” to conceive or not conceive as they wish.

As PiaSharn stated so clearly: Look, same-sex couples are already living together. They’re buying houses and sharing the bills and raising children and doing all the same things as their modern heterosexual counterparts. If same-sex marriage were legalized tomorrow, the only thing that would change in this country is that these couples could file jointly on their taxes, not be forced to testify against each other in court, make medical decisions for each other, etcetera.

Martin Lanigan
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

In Canada, the Roman Catholic Church and the fundies banded together and made all of these very same appeals to authority and history.

Repeatedly our courts and our Parliaments rejected these arguments for the empty and circular reasoning that they really are.

In a last gasp, the RCC and the fundies began telling us that every child has a right to know/be raised by both biological parents. This was now a human rights issue for children. Equal marriage was suddenly tantamount to child abuse and had to be thwarted for this reason. Oddly enough – this new eternal truth was never sufficient reason for the RCC and the fundies to oppose adoption. Interestingly, fundies still liked to get divorced every now and again. Neither has seriously taken a stance against adoption or divorce in the years since equal marriage became law. Now I wonder why that is?

Even today, the RCC and the fundies moan that we have activist courts run by activist judges. Where have we heard this line before? Once in a while when they are really down in the dumps, they can be heard muttering about equal marriage never being democratically passed in the House of Parliament – nothwithstanding that the issue has been voted on at least twice.

Support for equal marriage is now pretty much a non-issue for over 70% of Canadians. They realize that it “neither picks their pocket, nor breaks their leg”.

Sadly, FOTF has a Canadian chapter and they keep meddling and lobbying our Members of Parliament. Oh happy day it will be when they pack up go back to Denver!

Canadians are tired of the debate…but that does little to quiet god’s army.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Ben, it would only affect other marriages if same-sex conception were prohibited. If Congress does get its act together and passes a comprehensive law against cloning and genetic engineering, then people will only have a right to conceive with someone of the other sex. If people are allowed to marry someone they are prohibited from conceiving with, then that will change marriage for everyone, it will be the first time in history that a marriage was not allowed to conceive children together, and therefore marriages will no longer have a guaranteed right to use their own genes to conceive children together, even if they are a man and a woman.

Jason D
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

No marriage should be prohibited from conceiving children together.

Who’s making that argument?

As to the definition of man and woman, it was “most likely to conceive as”, it didn’t require it. It asks, if this person were healthy, which sex would they be most likely to conceive as? It is based on the methylation of their genes, their genetic imprinting, not their genetalia.
As mentioned above, the genetic imprinting doesn’t follow the XY or XX dyad that we think it does or should. Secondly there are people who have both sets of genetalia, and neither work, what do we do with them?

Your prohibition on conception by homosexuals and your idea of completely reworking the definition of male and female to only those who “most likely conceive as” is both intrusive and anti-freedom. I’m not sure how many parts of the bill of rights and the constitution would have to be violated for you to get this enacted, but best of luck with that.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

I’m saying that same-sex couples should be prohibited from procreating together. I’m saying that all marriages should be allowed to conceive together. Civil unions could give same-sex couples the protections of marriage but not the conception rights of marriage.

Every person is most likely to conceive as something, either a man or a woman. Usually it is totally obvious, and determined at birth. I’m not opposed to people changing legal sex, or having a legal sex that is not their most-likely-to-conceive-as sex, but their procreation rights should be based on their most-likely-to-conceive-as sex, which every person should only be allowed to conceive as. People should not be allowed to conceive as their less-likely-to-conceive-as sex.

Timothy Kincaid
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

John,

Your argument appears to be as follows:

1. Marriage is based on being the sole institution in which one is allowed to conceive children.

2. If all heterosexuals were young and fertile they could conceive children

3. Gay persons should be banned from conceiving children

4. If gay persons do conceive it would remove the right of a man and woman to conceive children together

5. Thus, logically, marriage should be restricted to heterosexual.

Of course the problem with that theory is that marriage has never been the sole institution into which children were born, not all heterosexuals are young and/or fertile, there is no basis other than your autocratic demands for banning gay procreation, and one couple’s conception has no impact on the rights or abilities of other couples to conceive (indeed, heterosexuals use assisted fertility every day that includes the genes of persons other than the two of them).

So your argument, while passionate, has no basis in logic whatsoever.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Man, that’s all screwed up, why not just read what I say instead of turning it into illogical gibberish?

I didn’t say “sole”, I know single people have children. I said that all marriages should be allowed to conceive children with their own genes, and that people that aren’t allowed to conceive children should not be allowed to marry, in order for marriage to continue to protect the right to conceive with the marriage’s own genes.

I said all people should be banned from attempting to conceive with someone of the same sex, and all people should have the same right to conceive with someone of the other sex.

It doesn’t matter that not all people are fertile, all people should have a right to marry and conceive with their own genes, even if they are unable to do so. It’s a question of rights, not ability. But the right should only be to do it with someone of the other sex, and that should be defined as the sex we are most likely to be able to conceive as, genetically. An 85 year old man is more likely to conceive as a man than as a woman, even if he probably can’t conceive as either.

There certainly are many basis to ban same-sex procreation and other forms of genetic engineering. People should only be allowed to conceive as their sex, with someone of the other sex. Egg from a woman, sperm from a man.

Kei
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Good lord, you an spit out the baby doesn’t define what gender they are. Right now there is a legal “Man” married legally to a “Woman” who is pregnant. So who can spit out the baby doesn’t even create the legal definition of Man and Woman in America.

There is a huge problem with defining Gender only by sex and that is that gender, like marriage coincidentally, is a social construct.

Now then we have never defined sex in a child by the mandate of “functional” sex organs. A “girl” born with malformed ovaries is still called a girl, a boy born with malformed testies is still called a boy. Now then when a child is born with both sets of sex organs double true if they are both malformed, the doctors arbitrarily pick a sex. Did this magically make that child suddenly male, by sex or gender? People like John and Stanton here seem to say so, but if we applied their standards, the ability to have kids, functional sex organs, then it didn’t.

Ben in Oakland
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

“Man, that’s all screwed up, why not just read what I say instead of turning it into illogical gibberish?”

Honey, I STILL don’t know what you’re trying to say, and i think I am fairly inteligent.

What does any of this have to do with anything? Timothy qwas pointing out that marriage and procreation, though often tied together, are neither required to be so nor necessary to be so.

All that you seem to be saying is that marriage=1 man + one woman. all the restis just more lipstick on the pig.

Timothy Kincaid
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

John,

The reason I’m not getting your position down correctly is because I’m having trouble making sense of it.

OK… here’s another try.

1. The only persons who should be allowed to marry are those whom we allow to conceive together.

2. We should ban same-sex couples from conceiving together.

3. Because we should ban same-sex couple from conceiving we should also ban them from marrying.

Do I have it now?

Because if so, it makes even less sense.

All you are doing is stating opinions that are based on nothing at all.

That opposite sex couples aged 85 are “allowed” to conceive is, at best, a definition that is absent of all reality. And your opposition to same-sex conception is nothing but your personal objection.

OK, now I’ve heard your opinion. Now I reject it.

Ben in Oakland
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

“Civil unions could give same-sex couples the protections of marriage but not the conception rights of marriage.”

I forgot to add this. There is no such thing as “conception rights of marriage.”, or even “conception rights.”

Heteros frequently conceive children for no other reason than that they CAN. I don’t know any gay people who would think of cloning or stem-cell whatsis as a way to get children. Far to expensive, complicated, and at the moment, not doable.

The world is full– nay, overrun– with the castoffs are irresponsible heterosexuality.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy, that is much better. You left out that all marriages should be allowed to conceive together, that’s very important. It’s not based on nothing, it’s based on the need to stop unethical experiments in genetic engineering and prserve natural conception rights.

There should be no age limits on attempting to conceive, because where would it be? In order to allow every person the equal right to conceive, we have to make very broad and fair laws that don’t intrude on people’s privacy and aren’t arbitrary.

Google “female sperm” and “same-sex procreation”. We should not allow those, we need a law against them, they’re needlessly risky and expensive and will lead to government control of reproduction. Do you agree, or are you going to demand a right to attempt SSP? That’s what usually happens at this point in the argument, or else a refusal to agree that all marriages should be allowed to conceive together with their own sperm. Both of those things are scary eugenic evil shit.

An anti-GE law would give people different rights depending on who they partner with. If you partner with someone of the other sex (who is not a close relative, a child, or already married), you should have a right to attempt to conceive children with that person. If you partner with someone of the same sex, you should not, you should be prohibited from conceiving of children. Those different rights should be the difference between marriage and CU, so that we can not only protect natural conception rights but also get to CU’s much faster.

Emproph
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Ben In Oakland said…

And finally, quoting myself “…then what sense does excluding gay couples from it make,especially those with children? And since Holy Heterosexuality produces so many unwanted children as a by-product of heterosexuality and hetero irresponsibility, allowing and encouraging gay people to marry and adopt those children is actually of benefit to society.”

Not according to what I’m reading. It says right here on page 22 and under the question “Does it really matter how we define marriage?,” that marriage serves “two primary purposes.” Those purposes being essentially, commitment to each other (heterosexually speaking of course), and by extension, mutual commitment to their children™. Apparently this has also been known to “build strong human communities.”

Thus, according to these authors, and in direct contradiction to your contention that children™ are better off in a home with parents, rather than in an orphanage, the fact of the matter is, according to page 23:

Same-sex relationships cannot provide these benefits. These unions provide no essential social good; instead they primarily address the personal or emotional needs and desires of consenting adults.

To take it a step further then, it would seem to me that all participants in same-sex relationships would be contributing more to society if they were detached and single.

Ex-Gay Watch Digest: March 28, 2008 | Ex-Gay Watch
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

[…] Glen T. Stanton of Focus on the Family responds to Dr. Chapman’s critique at Box Turtle Bulletin. […]

Timothy Kincaid
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

If you partner with someone of the other sex (who is not a close relative, a child, or already married), you should have a right to attempt to conceive children with that person. If you partner with someone of the same sex, you should not, you should be prohibited from conceiving of children.

OK. I’ve heard your opinion now. I think it has no merit. Don’t bother restating it.

Ben in Oakland
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

“If you partner with someone of the other sex (who is not a close relative, a child, or already married), you should have a right to attempt to conceive children with that person. If you partner with someone of the same sex, you should not, you should be prohibited from conceiving of children.”

I see that you are against some sci-fi scenario of mono-sex reproduction. OK by me. But are you also stating that gay people should not adopt? Should not artificially inseminate?

Should not, in short,be allowed to do hwatever heteros are allowed to do?

Steve M.
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm tries to undercut the very first comment by hijacking the definition of the word “typical” in the quote from Murdock. But if you read the entire sentence, it’s clear that Murdock is using the word typical in the way Jason D defines it, not as Chairm redefines it: “Three distinct types of family organization emerge from our survey of 250 representative human societies. the first and most basic, called herewith the nuclear family, consists typically of a married mand and woman with their offspring, although in individual cases one or more persons may reside with them.” In other words, by “typically” he means that this is the most common and widely found constellation of people described as a nuclear family, but it is not universal. Nowhere in the brief article does he delineate what variationa are included and what excluded.

However, at various points later in the same article, Murdock DOES undercut both parts of Chairm’s preferred definition of marriage: “The nature of marriage is the combination of 1) integration of the sexes, 2) contingency for responsible procreation.”

Early in the article, Murdock describes societies that deny sexual intercourse between married partners until after one or the other of the spouses has had a child by some other person, and notes that in a majority of societies studied, a married man is allowed to carry on affairs with (and presumably father children by) certain female relatives. Murdock says that “the attribution of marriage primarily to the factor of sex must be recognized as reflecting a bias derived from our own very aberrant sexual customs”–and by “sex” here, Murdock means sexual activity rather than gender. So if in most societies, socially acceptable sexual behavior and reproduction are not limited to the conjugal pair, how does marriage act as a “contingency for responsible procreation”?

Similarly, later in the article, Murdock makes it clear that the conjugal pair is not so much about the integration of the sexes, but about rejoining the spheres of labor separated by gender. Writing in 1960, Murdock cites man’s “superior physical strength” being the basis for him taking on “more strenuous tasks, such as lumbering, mining, quarrying, land clearance, and housebuilding” and the assignment to the female sphere of “lighter tasks which can be performed in or near the home.” Given that, he was comfortable asserting that “All known human societies have developed specialization and cooperation of the sexes roughly along this biological line of cleavage.”

In other words, in the history that Chaim and FOTF like to look back to, marriage doesn’t “integrate the sexes” so much as it repeatedly reuniting the gender-associated spheres of labor–a social construct that has less and less relevance to how most of us actually live our lives in this post-industrial, post-feminist, largely information-economy-based culture where the primary division of labor is no longer by sex.

Because we have built a society in which most men do not depend for their livelihood on their greater physical strength and most women are no longer shackled for most of their adult lives to the home, the division of labor has been largely de-gendered. In the context of these larger social changes, physical gender–freed of most of the large weight of socially imposed sex-based household labor division–becomes less important a factor in marriage and household labor is divided in a more coequal, overlapping manner. And it is marriage *as changed by these larger forces* that is attractive to contemporary same-sex couples.

Looking into the past to find a society that has accepted same-sex marriage in the sense that same-sex couples are asking for it now makes no sense, because in previous cultures, the sex-based labor roles were so essential to survival that in those cultures that set up a provision whereby two people of the same physical gender could set up a household as a family–married or not–one of them had to assume the role of the other sex and become the male-wife or female-husband.

Instead, we have to look at all the various ways marriage has adapted to fit the needs of society–for labor, child-rearing and education, creating households and kinship.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Martin Lanigan, you misrepresented what I have said.

The topic is the anthropological record.

When shown that the nature of the social institution (a subject of study on many fronts including and not limited to anthropology) is extrinsic to the one-sexed combination, you’d change the subject.

We can repeal the two-sexed nature of humankind nor the both-sexed natures of human procreation and human community.

It was so five thousand years ago, a hundred years ago, yesterday, and this morning.

Marriage is a social institution. This is profoundly important especially in terms of the anthropological record that indicates that the man-woman criterion is a constant, despite the amazing pluralism of marriage across time, geography, and cultures.

Can we at least agree that the SSM idea is a novel departure from that?

I would think so.

You might want to suddenly turn to advocacy of such a departure, but a very recent departure it would be nonetheless.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Typo correction:

We can NOT repeal the two-sexed nature of humankind nor the both-sexed natures of human procreation and human community.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

–> “We are advocating for equal marriage. It in no way abolishes opposite sex marriages.”

Note equal marriage.

You propose a false equivalency between marriage and a tiny subset of the nonmarital category.

Would the marriage presumption of paternity apply to an all-male arrangement in precisely the way that it would apply to an all-female arrangement?

No. Obviously it is a presumption of paternity, and no woman can be presumed to have been impregnated by another woman.

But it would apply to neither.

The legal requirements that I cited (marriage presumption of paternity and the man-woman criterion) exist yet SSMers would abolish them.

They give no good reason for doing so.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Martin Lanigan, you quoted my question about the core of the relationship you have in mind, but you did not answer it.

Waving your arms about some vague notion of such a relationship type does not suffice.

You also did not answer your own quesions, in regard to what you claim for that relatinship type.

My point is that there usually is no answer from advocates of SSM. Just a pose of demanding concessions based on gay identity politics.

***

–> Marriage is a concept that has been expanded to include 2 persons. 2 persons committed to live in a monogamous relationship with one another. A union based in mutual love and respect. An union which may or may not provide a home for children.

The rules of the pro-SSM campaign would tear that stuff to shreds.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Emproph, What did you mean by using complexities and accuracy in the same sentence?

Maybe just restate your meaning.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Jason D, if you think that the anthropological record is irrelevant, then, you commit a fallacy of your own.

You mischaracterized my comments. That may be been due to your misreading or misunderstanding.

I did not commit the fallacy you claimed.

I did say: “The merger is a replacement. It is not merely an extension of the social institution.”

You reacted: “There is not one respected gay marriage advocacy group that is fighting for marriage for gays and only gays.”

The nonmarital category includes a large subset of both-sexed arrangements. It includes the entire set of one-sexed arrangements since the core of marriage is extrinsic to it.

Of the nonmarital category, SSMers advocate for just a tiny subset.

Why should that subset be treated differently from the rest of the nonmarital category?

And why should all unions of husband and wife be treated as if they lacked either husbands or wives?

Marital status is a preferential status in our customs, traditions, and laws. You want to change this to merge a subset of the nonmarital category with society’s recognition and esteem for the social institution of marriage.

What differentiates the type of relationship you have in mind from the wide range of nonmarital arrangements?

From you remarks, you would remove from marriage recognition the core of the social institution so as to make it more vague and nebulous. Yet you are still left with the task of justly drawing lines around the core of the relationship type that you would have society call “marriage”.

Has it no core? No essentials? Nothing that would distinguish it from nonmarital types of relationships?

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Fannie: “Chairm’s argument states his conclusion as a fact and effectively precludes debate on the issue.”

Not so.

The nature of humankind is two-sexed. The natures of human procreation and human community are both-sexed.

This is the given with which civilization starts; it is where the social institution of marraige arises.

If you deny these facts, please elaborate whence marriage arises.

The SSM claim is that the one-sexed arrangement is a type of marriage. This swallows the question at issue.

What is the core of the social institution of marriage such that society can identify its boundaries, justly, and protect and show preference for the essentials of marriage?

Remember, if you support the SSM merger you cannot rely on lines drawn based on tradition nor those based on responsible procreation nor those based on uniting motherhood and fatherhood, and so forth. Those are off the table.

And, according to the pro-SSM rules, if there is no legal requirement, enforced by state power, then, that’s not an essential.

And, if it exists outside of marriage, it is nonessential to marriage.

Play by your pro-SSM rules and test your idea of the relationship type that society ought to call “marriage”.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

PiaSharn: “No huge upheaval. Really, what would happen? How would our culture really change?”

Let’s look at the merits (and the demerits) of the core of the relationship type that you would call “marriage”.

Would it exclude the contingency for responsible procreation? Would it deny differences in the sexual ecologies of the both-sexed, the all-male, and the all-female types of sexualized relationships?

We can also look at how this change is to be imposed on society. There are many aspects of the SSM campaign, and its argumentation, that are corruptive in terms of the substance of marriage as well as the process of self-governance.

But please provide the starting place for the SSM-merger. The core of the relationship type you would call marriage.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Martin Lanigan: “Repeatedly our courts and our Parliaments rejected these arguments for the empty and circular reasoning that they really are.”

Nope.

First, the lower federal courts did not decide for all the country. The Supreme Court did not rule against the man-woman criterion.

You said “Parliaments” but there is the one Parliament, in Ottawa, and it is the national government, not the provincial governments, that is empowered to define the term, marriage.

Also, the arguments against the SSM merger are not circular. The claim that SSM is a subset of marriage is itself merely axiomatic and the argument meant to support it is indeed circular.

Most people in Canada got fed up with the issue. If you mean to say that inducing issue fatigue is a victory for your circular argument, then, you claim a very hollow victory indeed.

The participation rate in SSM in Canada is very, very, very low even in the population centers with large gay and lesbian populations. So SSM has proved to be a poor vehicle for delivering the bennies that SSMers said were in such big demand that the democratic process had to be turned inside out to impose the SSM merger.

Also, Martin, your kicking religions, and the Catholic Church in particular, adds nothing but bigotry to your comments. The case that was made was based on the natural law which is accessible to people of all religions — and to irreligious people as well.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy, I’m gonna keep restating it till people come around to accepting the fact: people do not have the right to conceive with someone of their own sex. It’s unethical. All people should be created equal, by the union of a man and a woman. Feel free to

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

I see that you are against some sci-fi scenario of mono-sex reproduction. OK by me. But are you also stating that gay people should not adopt? Should not artificially inseminate?

Ben, it’s not “some sci-fi scenario”, it is something that is actively being worked on by scientists all over the world, and something that some (but few) same-sex couples are looking forward to being able to try in the nest few years (as few as one or two years – in fact they could try be trying it right now). Did you google “female sperm” yet? Same-sex procreation?

And adoption and artificial insemination have nothing to do with marriage, single people can do those too. The law we need would stop genetic engineering, it would prohibit conceiving children that are not from natural conception, and everything we do today is natural conception and would not be banned by this law.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm, you continue to argue as though you have never heard of female sperm and same-sex conception. The core of the relationship they want is conception rights. They want the same right to conceive with someone of the same sex that they have with someone of the other sex. The same rights. Will you stand with me and tell them that they cannot have conception rights with someone of their same sex, because it would be unethical and unwise and have disastrous ramifications for human reproductive rights?

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Steve M: “Chairm tries to undercut the very first comment by hijacking the definition of the word “typical” in the quote from Murdock.

I did not define the word. Someone did so in an earlier comment.

Steve M. quoting Murdock:

“Three distinct types of family organization emerge from our survey of 250 representative human societies. the first and most basic, called herewith the nuclear family, consists typically of a married mand and woman with their offspring, although in individual cases one or more persons may reside with them.”

Murdoick described the nuclear family type. It is a type of family organization. Individual cases include other residents. The meaning of typical here is not “the most common”.

If you are in search of the rarest of apparent exceptions, that is a different exercise than that which taxed Murdock. If you are looking for the universal, or near-universal, then, you don’t have to do so much parsing to do to find it in his writings.

Steve M: “Murdock DOES undercut both parts of Chairm’s preferred definition of marriage […]”

Okay, before you make such a statement, please restate, in your own words, what you perceive to be the definition of marriage that I have described.

I will gladly confirm or clarify.

Steve M: “So if in most societies, socially acceptable sexual behavior and reproduction are not limited to the conjugal pair, how does marriage act as a “contingency for responsible procreation”?

By uniting motherhood and fatherhood, for starters.

Your remarks about integration of the sexes actually supports what I have said. Marriage is a social institution. It is a coherent whole. Sex integration is combined with the contingency for responsible procreation. Not bits and pieces. A combination. It is more than the sum of its parts.

Steve M: “household labor is divided in a more coequal, overlapping manner. And it is marriage *as changed by these larger forces* that is attractive to contemporary same-sex couples.”

Such couples are not attracted to marriage since they reject its core.

When you point to “more coequal” and “overlapping manner” you rather make my point about sex integration.

Steve M: ” we have to look at all the various ways marriage has adapted to fit the needs of society–for labor, child-rearing and education, creating households and kinship.”

As I said earlier, even with the variations, the core of marriage remains both-sexed.

If you favor the SSM-merger, then, you favor the devolution of the social institution of marraige, not its evolution into something better adapted to society’s needs.

SSM ought to stand on its own two feet and make its independant claim, based on its own merits and demerits, without trying to climb onto the back of marriage.

I doubt that the case for SSM can be made that would justly exclude many other familial arrangements that are nonmarital. In fact, the SSM merger would demote the status of marriage — not because of gayness but because of the vagueness of the replacement imposed on all unions of husband and wife.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Steve wrote Early in the article, Murdock describes societies that deny sexual intercourse between married partners until after one or the other of the spouses has had a child by some other person, and notes that in a majority of societies studied, a married man is allowed to carry on affairs with (and presumably father children by) certain female relatives.

I haven’t found that article, is that in Chapman’s article? Well, assuming that is true, note that eventually, the marriage is allowed to conceive, so they do have conception rights, they aren’t prohibited forever like same-sex couples should be. And also, that is totally weird and not something that we should emulate – forced pregnancies for couples with some other person’s child? That’s whacked and should not be held up as a model. Some cultures eat each other ritualistically, but that doesn’t mean we have to question our laws against murder.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

John Howard, I stand against the manufacture of human beings.

John said: “They want the same right to conceive with someone of the same sex that they have with someone of the other sex.”

Yes, they say they want the one-sex arrangement to be treated in all ways like the conjugal relationship type.

And they seem to be blissfully unaware of the significance of the marriage presumption of paternity which is based on the liberty of a husband and wife to procreate together. In fact, marraige promotes the integration of motherhood and fatherhood such that one could almost say that fatherhood is a product of the social institution.

But what you call “same-sex procreation” is not procreation but manufacture. No married couple, no individual, no group, has a right to manufacture human beings.

Marriage is a social institution with influence on societies that individuals can miss even if they feel its push and pull. We are sort of like fish in water, with marraige being the water.

SSMers argue strenously that marriage and procreation are disconnected, and even go so far as to say that this is justice, which makes me doubt that they will ever respond to your concerns about procreative justice. Your concerns are also my concerns in this regard.

I don’t talk of any and all kinds of procreation (and I don’t include manufacture as procreation) because marriage is not some kind of absolute dictator. It is a social institution into which people enter; they ought to know what they are getting into. Indeed, they take on the contingency for responsible procreation, explicitly, and this is a coherent set of principles. The first: that each man and woman who procreates together are directly responsible for the children they bring into this world — barring dire circumstances or tragedy.

No one-sexed combo (gay or not) can provide that contingency.

But, just as the SSM campaign works to blur the distinction between marriage and non-marriage, we might very well see another campaign — probaby courtcentric at first — which would strive to blur the line between procreation and manufacture.

A lot of that blurring has already been achieved via third party supplies of sperm and ova in the so-called fertility industry. Such methods do not treat infertility. They are designed to satisfy a consumer’s demand for a service and a product.

So, yes, your concern about the manufacture of human beings via the path to the SSM-merger is valid. It is not to layed entirely at the feet of the SSM campaign and I appreciate your efforts to educate the advocates of SSM in this discussion.

If society were to go a little further down the road with “same-sex procreation” — a road we are already on but which society seems so very ignorant about — we may see how babies will be manufactured, with consumer rights and warranties and so on. That would truly be unjust.

If society were to merge marriage with SSM, and treat all one-sexed combos as if they were both-sexed, yes, we may find that this “same-sex procreation” sneeks in the door that is left ajar.

On the other hand, we may see something else — also unjust — that society will try to slam that door shut and throw out “same-sex procreation” and, with it, the liberty of husband and wife to procreate without government intrusions.

That would be throwing out the baby with the washwater.

Emily K
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

The way I see it, heterosexual couples have done such a bang-up job screwing up the lives of so many kids, why not let gay couples give it a try? Also, last I heard, adoption by gay couples isn’t about “human manufacturing.”

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Steve M., you misread the Murdock article on the nuclear family.

You said: “In other words, by “typically” he means that this is the most common and widely found constellation of people described as a nuclear family, but it is not universal. ”

You are wrong in several obvious ways.

At the getgo, you have confused his discussion of family forms (i.e. the typology of families) and of marriage as a form of relationship that forms families.

Here is the first of a couple of extensive snippets from Murdock’s article:

–> Of the 192 societies of our sample for which sufficient information is available, 47 have normally only the nuclear family, 53 have polygamous but not extended families, and 92 possess some form of the extended family.

1. How does 47 of 192 make the nuclear family “the most common”?

Perhaps you can explain that without contradicting what follows that part of his article:

–> The nuclear family is a universal human social grouping. Either as the sole prevailing form of the family or as the basic unit from which more complex familial forms are compounded, it exists as a distinct and strongly functional group in every known society.”

2. Contrary to Steve M, Murdock did say that the nuclear family is universal.

Furthermore, Murdock did write about variations in family types.

He did write about what was included in all the family types — that is, the nuclear family is included in the other family forms (i.e. types) in his large sample of societies. It is a basic unit.

–> “the nuclear family is always recognizable and always has its distinctive and vital functions”

He did write about what was excluded in the various types of families.

You can’t read his article, fairly, without noticing his comparisons and emphatic statements such as:

–> No exception, at least, has come to light in the 250 representaive cultures surveyed for the present study, which thus corroborates the conlcusion of Lowe: “[…] the one fact stands out beyond all others that everywhere the husband, wife, and immature children constitute a unit apart from the remainder of the community.”

So —

1. The both-sexed criterion is universal to the conjugal type of relationship.

2. This is the basis of the distinctive nuclear family type.

3. The nuclear family type, arising from the conjugal relationship, is the basic unit of the other family types identified.

4. Although universal, the nuclear family type is not the most common. In a minority of societies, *the nuclear family only* is the norm, or, as illustrated in his tables, the most prevalent.

The author used the term, typical, to signify type. He used the word, normally, to refer to high prevalence and to norms. He used the term, universal, to mean no exception.

He also discussed the sexual relationship of husband and wife at the core of the conjugal relationship type, which is the basis of the nuclear family type, which is universal — present in the other family forms across the societies he studied.

Chairm
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Emily K: Also, last I heard, adoption by gay couples isn’t about “human manufacturing.”

You have a good ear.

However, adoption does not bestow marital status.

It is the inverse of the marriage presumption of paternity.

Adoption, like 3rd party procreation, requires parental relinquishment (or loss) and government intervention to decree a replacement adult.

As meritorious as adoption may be, it is not the core of marriage.

Consider that when a man marries a divorced mother, he does not automatically become the father of her children. See the pre-requisites for adoption.

The same is certainly is true of most, by far, of the same-sex households in which children reside.

When you point to adoption with its prerequisites, you point outside of marriage, just as pointing to 3rd party procreation points to extramarital procreation even when married people use it.

There is no right to adopt children. In fact, marital status is a legitimate criterion when prioritizing prospective adoptors.

SSM cannot automatically and directly create the legal child-adult relationship that adoption does. And second-parent adoption is available to the unmarried. I don’t think that SSMers argue in favor of the abolition of second-parent adoption, but maybe you would?

Martin Lanigan
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Just for fun, let’s examine all of Chairm’s logical fallacies and factual errors, shall we?

Chairm writes:

“First, the lower federal courts did not decide for all the country. The Supreme Court did not rule against the man-woman criterion.”

Red Herring. Straw Man. My post made no mention of “lower federal courts” nor did I say all courts in Canada. You are putting words in my mouth that I did not say and then trying to discredit them. For our friends at home, the Supreme Court of Canada made several pivotal rulings:

1995 – The Supreme Court of Canada said (Egan v. Canada, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 513 at 593-594) “The public recognition and acceptance of homosexuals as a couple may be of tremendous importance to them and to the society in which they live. To deny homosexual couples the right to make that choice deprives them of the equal benefit of the law.” As a result of Egan, sexual orientation was judged to be analogous to other protected personal attributes listed in section 15 of the Charter.

1999 – The Supreme Court of Canada said (Law v. Canada, [1999] 1 S.C.R.497 at 534-535) “It is logical to conclude that, in most cases, further differential treatment will contribute to the perpetuation or promotion of their unfair social characterization, and will have a more severe impact upon them, since they are already vulnerable.” M. v. H. directly dealt with the definition of “spouse” and the Supreme Court of Canada recognized same-sex conjugal relationships.

“You said “Parliaments” but there is the one Parliament, in Ottawa, and it is the national government, not the provincial governments, that is empowered to define the term, marriage.”

Factual error. Straw man. Each Province in Canada also has a House of Parliament or a Legislative Assembly. The Parliament in Ontario (FYI: that is a large province in Canada) also made enabling amendments to legislation to enact equal marriage. I would quote all of the legislation but I don’t want to bore our viewers at home.

“Also, the arguments against the SSM merger are not circular. The claim that SSM is a subset of marriage is itself merely axiomatic and the argument meant to support it is indeed circular.”

Special Pleading. Yes, yes..we know…Your defintion of marriage excludes all other defintions of marriage and we are all expected to accept your defintion because…well because it is your definition. And by the way…if we don’t like your defintiion we are not supposed to call it a circular argument. You are quite right, we do have a more expansive defintion of marriage, which is recognized in law and in fact in many jurisdictions. Again, your point is???

“Most people in Canada got fed up with the issue. If you mean to say that inducing issue fatigue is a victory for your circular argument, then, you claim a very hollow victory indeed.”

Factual error. There is only one side in this “debate” in Canada that continually drags this issue up…so if there is issue fatigue (which I agree that there is) then the blame does not rest with LGBT folks. Agian, issue fatigue is not the only factor at play, public opinion is and continues to be more accepting of LGBT folks and their issues in Canada and the USA. BTW you might also look at issue fatigue among rank and file evangelical youth. Click here for stats that ought to give gods’ army pause…http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=273

“The participation rate in SSM in Canada is very, very, very low even in the population centers with large gay and lesbian populations. So SSM has proved to be a poor vehicle for delivering the bennies that SSMers said were in such big demand that the democratic process had to be turned inside out to impose the SSM merger.”

Irrelevant. A typical ‘damned if we do, and a damned if we don’t’ argument from the religious right. Since particpation levels are low does that not mean that all of your hysteria about the foul impact was misplaced? If particpation levels were high, you would be screaming about how the threat is high to the family. Marriage particpation levels are generally declining across among many demographics. Are you arguing that if it is low for any one group then that group should be barred access to marriage?

“Also, Martin, your kicking religions, and the Catholic Church in particular, adds nothing but bigotry to your comments. The case that was made was based on the natural law which is accessible to people of all religions — and to irreligious people as well.”

So…because I make factual statements linking the Roman Catholic Church, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, to activities that are opposed to the equal treatment of LGBT people under the law, and opposed to the extension of human rights to all citizens in Canada – that is somehow “kicking” the Catholic Church and it is tantamount to “bigotry”. You seem to have set the threshold for bigotry fairly low Chairm. By your own measure, you and the religious right would be considered hate mongers of the first order.

In the words of one of the great Presidents of the United States, I will leave you with this quote: ““In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.” Perhaps Thomas Jefferson was a bigot too.

John Howard
March 28th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm, it doesn’t help stop it to call it manufacture, the people that want to do it will call it procreation, and the fact is it will be creating children no matter what it is called. They are planning on doing it, whether there is SSM or not, and they are already claiming it is their right to. Currently it is not illegal, but it won’t be hard to prohibit it because most people recognize that it is unethical when they are made aware of it.

I am perplexed by this: “On the other hand, we may see something else — also unjust — that society will try to slam that door shut and throw out “same-sex procreation” and, with it, the liberty of husband and wife to procreate without government intrusions.”

Why do you say it will be unjust to slam the door shut and throw out same-sex procreation?? I thought you said you “stand against” it. Does that not mean the same thing as you want to prohibit it? Why do you say that prohibiting SSP would have any affect on the liberty of husband and wife to procreate? It wouldn’t! In fact prohibiting it, and all forms of “manufacture”, ie, everything that isn’t natural conception of a man and a woman using their real genes, is necessary in order to preserve the liberty of a husband and wife to procreate without government intrusions.

Ben in Oakland
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

After reading all of this stuff by chairm and john howard, I still have yet to hear an answer to the questions: how does marrying the man i love affect anyone else? and who believes this is really about marriage?

Martin Lanigan
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

An appeal to precedent or an appeal to novelty are distractions. In my opinion, Anthropology cannot tell us how we ought to proceed on questions such as equal marriage.

The case for equal marriage is fairly straightforward. If LGBT people are entitled to equal treatment under the law, then LGBT people are entitled to access marriage. Equal marriage is also a question of utility. Marriage can assist queer families protect themselves, and it can encourage stable environments for the nurturing of all family members. This benefits individuals and it benefits society.

To all those who would deny equal treatment of LGBT couples and families, I have yet to hear an argument that is not an appeal to authority, or an appeal to historical precedent. Frequently, the assertion is made that equal marriage devalues, debases or somehow harms society, children or the family. I challenge any of the dissenting commenters here to show us evidence of this, or to even describe the mechanisms by which this harm is supposed to occur.

Lastly, I offer encouragement to my American cousins. Live openly. Live proudly. There is no better tonic to the disinformation, propaganda, and lies that the religious right spreads about us. I firmly believe that history is on our side and that the tide is turning.

Ben in Oakland
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

I agree with you 100%, martin. It’s the closet that is the enemy, not the bulk of the people.

John Howard
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Ben I answered you. It affects other marriages only if we also manage to prohibit same-sex conception using stem-cell derived “female sperm” and “male eggs”. In that situation, the combination of SSM and a ban on SSP would mean that all marriages no longer protect the right of the couple to use their own genetic material to have children together. A married man and a woman will no longer be able to point to their marriage license on the wall like Richard and Mildred Loving did and say that they have a right to procreate.
And it effects things if it is used effectively to secure same-sex procreation rights, in which case it would help open the door for genetic engineering and eugenic designer children, and threaten natural procreation rights via market-based “liberal eugenics”.
OK?

Timothy Kincaid
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

OK FOLKS

We are now returning this thread to comments about Dr. Chapman’s and Mr. Stanton’s conversation about anthropology.

I’ll be deleting off-topic comments.

John Howard
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

John Howard
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Hang on there Martin, my comments started by asking if the anthroplogical record contained any marriages that were not allowed to conceive children together – and then pointed out that same-sex couples should not be allowed to conceive children together. That’s on topic.

Editor: No. That’s just using the topic to springboard to your own obsession. If you want to discuss what forms of marriage are discovered in anthropology, go right ahead. This thread is not about “marriages that were not allowed to conceive children together” nor is it going to be.

Steve M.
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm:

–Steve M: “Chairm tries to undercut the very first comment by hijacking the definition of the word “typical” in the quote from Murdock.

–I did not define the word. Someone did so in an earlier comment.

–Steve M. quoting Murdock:

–“Three distinct types of family organization emerge from our survey of 250 representative human societies. The first and most basic, called herewith the nuclear family, consists typically of a married mand and woman with their offspring, although in individual cases one or more persons may reside with them.”

–Murdock described the nuclear family type. It is a type of family organization. Individual cases include other residents. The meaning of typical here is not “the most common”.

Yes, in fact, it is. The sentence does not support your tortured definition of the word typically, but supports the common usage of the word.

His usage of the words “type” and “typically” later in the same paragraph make it clear that, in this article written for the lay reader, he is using “typical” in its common lay meaning:

“These composite forms of family fall into two types, which differ in the principles by which the constituent nuclear families are affiliated.”

and

“The patrilocal extended family…embraces, typically, an older man, his wife or wives, his unmarried children, his married sons, and the wives and children of the latter”

Clearly he does not mean the word “typical” to be limiting patrilocal families to this “type.” The family would continue to be patrilocal if, say, one of his married sons took off after a family squabble and moved to the new world, or one of the daughters and her orphaned husband continued to live in the house that it would stop being a patrilocal extended family. He is using the word “typically” here to indicate that this is the most common constellation of members in the patrilocal family type.

It is you who is trying to torture his usage of the word “typical” into a rarefied meaning that the text clearly does not support.

Later, Chaim writes:
–“The author used the term, typical, to signify type. He used the word, normally, to refer to high prevalence and to norms. He used the term, universal, to mean no exception.”

Murdock clearly does not do this consistently, no matter how many times you repeat your assertion that he does. For instance, in this sentence later in the article, reading “typically” to signify “type” renders the sentence gibberish: “Like the community, the nuclear family is found in sub-human societies, although here the father is less typically a member and, where he is, is usually less firmly attached.”

Of course, this sentence not only undercuts your thesis–these are of the type nuclear family but do not include the father–but also wrong on its face, once one considers the social organization of, say, ants or fishes.

–If you are in search of the rarest of apparent exceptions, that is a different exercise than that which taxed Murdock. If you are looking for the universal, or near-universal, then, you don’t have to do so much parsing to do to find it in his writings.

And the fact that you had to insert the phrase “or near universal” into this sentence in order to make it stand makes my case.

Chairm:
–Steve M: “Murdock DOES undercut both parts of Chairm’s preferred definition of marriage […]”

–Okay, before you make such a statement, please restate, in your own words, what you perceive to be the definition of marriage that I have described.

–I will gladly confirm or clarify.

Why should I restate it in my own words? Is the definition you provided earlier and that I quoted unclear or inadequate?: “The nature of marriage is the combination of 1) integration of the sexes, 2) contingency for responsible procreation.”

Chairm:
–You are wrong in several obvious ways.

–At the getgo, you have confused his discussion of family forms (i.e. the typology of families) and of marriage as a form of relationship that forms families.

–Here is the first of a couple of extensive snippets from Murdock’s article:

––> Of the 192 societies of our sample for which sufficient information is available, 47 have normally only the nuclear family, 53 have polygamous but not extended families, and 92 possess some form of the extended family.

–1. How does 47 of 192 make the nuclear family “the most common”?

It doesn’t, nor is that what I said, nor is it what the sentence at issue says when you read it with the common meaning of the wood “typically” that he uses throughout the rest of the article:

“The first and most basic, called herewith the nuclear family, consists typically of a married man and woman with their offspring, although in individual cases one or more persons may reside with them.”

It means, in other words that typical (most common, the one we think of when we say the word, but not universal) constellation of members in a nuclear family is a married man and woman with their offspring–just as a housecat typically has a nose, two ears, a tail roughly half again the length of its body, and can purr, but the Manx remains a housecat despite its lack of a tail, as do the oriental breeds with much longer tails.

–Perhaps you can explain that without contradicting what follows that part of his article:

––> The nuclear family is a universal human social grouping. Either as the sole prevailing form of the family or as the basic unit from which more complex familial forms are compounded, it exists as a distinct and strongly functional group in every known society.”

Already done.

Chairm:
–When you point to adoption with its prerequisites, you point outside of marriage, just as pointing to 3rd party procreation points to extramarital procreation even when married people use it.

This is true in our society, but is it true in those “exceptional” societies Murdock refers to, which “associate sexual rights, not with the husband-wife relationship established by marriage, but with the father-mother relationship established b the foundation of the family,” but which are nonetheless, according to Murdock’s placement of them in this chapter, considered nuclear families. When the eatern European peasant son described by Murdock assumes his marital rights and begins raising those children sired by his father and by himself as his own with the woman his father chase for him and treated as a wife for a number of years, or when the Banaro husband raises the child sired by his father’s sib-friend, is this still a nuclear family, as Murdock suggests, or is it 3rd party procreation, as your closed definition would permit. And in those societies where the marriage custom allows men to have sex with their female relatives and the resulting offspring are raised by the man and wife as their own, is that a nuclear family because the society considers it so, or is it third-party procreation because you say so?

Indeed, any clear reading of Murdock makes it clear that while the concept of the nuclear family is universal, who exactly is considered members of that nuclear family is always decided by the society according to its needs, rules and customs, not according to your abstract and circular definition of family. At the very least, to some societies, what constitutes “responsible reproduction” encompasses much that seems to fall under your definition of third party procreation. It certainly doesn’t mesh easily with your definition of responsible procreation:

“Indeed, they [people choosing to marry] take on the contingency for responsible procreation, explicitly, and this is a coherent set of principles. The first: that each man and woman who procreates together are directly responsible for the children they bring into this world — barring dire circumstances or tragedy.”

Is this true of the Banaro son raising the father’s sib-friend’s issue? If the Banaro consider the first child a part of the nuclear family, even though the husband is not the biological father, who are you or your coherent set of principles to tell them otherwise?

And Chairm, when you say “As I said earlier, even with the variations, the core of marriage remains both-sexed” are you referring to physical gender or socially-constructed gender? Historically, the latter seems to be true. In those instances where cultures have allowed two people of the same physical gender to marry or be typed as a nuclear family, one of them has had to take on and live the socially-defined sex opposite of his/her physical gender (is this because of the division of labor issues Murdock discusses?).

Chairm:
–Steve M: ” we have to look at all the various ways marriage has adapted to fit the needs of society–for labor, child-rearing and education, creating households and kinship.”

–As I said earlier, even with the variations, the core of marriage remains both-sexed.

–If you favor the SSM-merger, then, you favor the devolution of the social institution of marriage, not its evolution into something better adapted to society’s needs.

No, I look to extend marriage *as it has already evolved* to couples who now qualify. The evolution away from a clear sex-based household division of labor has already occurred, because our technology and the way most of us make our livelihood has substantially changed. This is true in both MSM and SSM marriages.

People of the same physical gender have been allowed to marry and form nuclear households at various times and places in the ast, as long as one of them took on the socially-prescribed sex opposite their physical gender, because marriage depended on the sex-based division of labor. The sex-based division of labor has dwindled to almost nothing in many many marriages across the country–to the extent that people no longer see that as an essential part of the definition of marriage. Sex, in the sense of a socially-defined division of household labor–the only sense that has until now been a universal component of marriage–has already evolved out of the definition of marriage, because it is no longer useful (something Murdock did not see, although the evolution was already happening when he wrote, as evolution does). Recognizing the way that this change to a form of marriage that is more coequal, with overlapping roles rather than a strictly defined separation of roles by socially-defined gender, opens marriage for the first time to same-sex partners with coherent physical and social sex assignments is just a matter of time. And the next generation seems to get it, by and large.

Finally, you can call it a “devolution” if you like, but “devolution” is not a valid concept, just a scientifically meaningless term of derision for an evolution that one personally finds distasteful.

Steve M.
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Let me loop some of the things I’ve said back into Stanton’s remarks:

Stanton writes:

“An example of this is found in a leading journal article on gender in Bugis society, which Chapman informs us has five genders (!). Susan Bolyard Millar in the opening sentence of her piece explains, “When the Bugis of Indonesia interact in public, the men are generally treated with deference by the women.” And the rest of the article discusses the interactions of these two groups….two groups. Two genders and the only diversion from this is a reference to the calabai who are male transvestites….men who dress as women.”

It seems that Stanton’s approach is to find one prominent article that more or less agree with his position and then stop. A quick search led me to an in-depth discussion of the “calalai” who are the mirror image of the calabai Stanton refers to. But reducing them to “transvestites”–in this case, women who dress as man–is intellectually dishonest. Yes, they are women by birth, yes the do wear men’s clothing. They also tend to take on men’s professions, have female-identified girlfriends, pray as women, and understand the complex surrounding the ways they flout the narrowly constricted role of female-defined women in their society.

From the article:
“On many levels calalai’ present a vision of ideal masculinity. Maman is a blacksmith and declares that ‘calalai’ carry loads on their shoulder [memikul] like men, not like women who carry loads on their head [menjungjung].’ Dilah, who lives in an urban area, tells me calalai’ like to work in many different areas, ‘particularly karaoke bars where they operate the machines’. Rani works in the rice fields alongside other men, and s/he also works as a trader and farmer. Rani lives with hir wife, the latter being primarily responsible for the care of their adopted child. Rani smokes cigarettes, walks alone at night, and gambles. Rani wears trousers and shirts, or if wearing a sarong, folds it like a man. Hir gait, posture, and way of speaking all assert masculinity.”

http://wwwsshe.murdoch.edu.au/intersections/issue6/graham.html

The calalai is in many ways a socially constructed man, can go places where women aren’t allowed to go, can be can be out when women are expected to be at home, but because they are physically gendered women, can also go places where men are prohibited.

Reducing this complex dialogue between socially constructed gender and physical gender to dressing up in the other sex’s clothes is dishonest and throws into doubt everything else that Stanton says.

It also ties back to my discussion above with Chairm. The passage I quoted above describes Rani, a calalai who is married to a woman and raising a child with her. Because the gender roles for female-bodies people who identify as women and male-bodied people who identify as men are so rigid, the only way that these two female-bodied women can marry is if one of them is calalaie and one identifies as a woman. It is not their physical gender, but their social gender identification that matters.

Stanton and Chaim both try to erase this, because it makes complex something they want to be simple. The evidence doesn’t fit their hypothesis, so must be ignored or denied.

And that is what makes it clear that they are trying to adopt the mantle of scientific authority for enterprises that at their heart are not scientific, Their procrustean uses of anthropological terminology and selective use of evidence are a more subtle abuse of science than the Cameron/AFA approach you describe in your “Fifteen Ways” article, but no more legitimate.

Fannie
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm said,

“The nature of humankind is two-sexed.”

Apparently, Chairm skipped over the comment of Kei. I wonder if Chairm thinks the nature of humankind is two-sexed because he has never met someone who was not unambiguously male or female, or he did not know he did.

Perhaps Chairm needs to re-think some of his assumptions about the “nature” of humankind. Unless, of course, he believes that some people are less human than others.

Chairm continues:

“The natures of human procreation and human community are both-sexed. This is the given with which civilization starts; it is where the social institution of marraige arises.”

Thank you for the statement of the obvious regarding that “both-sexed” nature of procreation. But more to the point, Chairm could save us all a lot of trouble if he would acknowledge that his central (circular) argument is this:

“Marriage is between a man and a woman because only a man and a woman can be married.”

I urge Chairm to acknowledge the circularity of his argument and to recognize that the very issues we are debating that he continues to state as fact are “What is marriage?” and “Who should be allowed to marry.”

It is not a valid argument to rest on the statement that “Two people of the same sex cannot marry because marriage isn’t for two people of the same sex.”

We all know that men and women can make babies together. But that happenstance of nature does not create a social institution on which a government confers legal benefits.

Martin Lanigan
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm states:

“Martin Lanigan, you quoted my question about the core of the relationship you have in mind, but you did not answer it…My point is that there usually is no answer from advocates of SSM. Just a pose of demanding concessions based on gay identity politics.”

Let me be clear. I am not an Anthropologist. When you ask me what “core of the relationship” I have in mind when I speak of equal marriage, it is exactly the relationship I have with my partner of 9 years.

Your pendantic finger wagging on this board in no way compensates for the fact that you have committed a series of logical fallacies and factual errors on a host of topics. Until you acknowledge them, I for one find little basis for continued discourse with you.

Your arrogance appears to exceed both your education and/or your source materials.

John Howard
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

John Howard
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

Adding the word “anthropology” into your off-topic rant doesn’t make it on topic

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

Martin Lanigan
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

John Howard
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

John Howard
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

OK, thanks. So you don’t feel that prohibiting SSP will be unjust, that’s good. It seemed like you were saying it would. And you also get that if we have SSM and ban SSP, that will infringe on the liberty of a husband and wife by treating their right to conceive the same as if they were the same sex.

So if you agree that all marriages have and should continue to have the right to conceive genetic offspring together, and you agree that same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to create offspring together, why don’t you use that argument more often, instead of making arguments that they are so used to, and acting as though you’ve never heard of same-sex procreation?

Here, for example, it’s much more related to the anthropology being dug up to note that all throughout history, marriages have had conception rights, so that’s the issue that we should be examining. nothing else, just that.

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Ben in Oakland: “how does marrying the man i love affect anyone else? and who believes this is really about marriage?”

No man can become the husband of another man, Ben.

A man becomes a husband by marrying the woman who becomes his wife. It takes both sexes.

Your choice to form a nonmarital alternative is not what is at stake. That is your liberty and I defend it.

We are discussing (John in his way and I in my way) the universal core of the social institution of marriage. If we remove that core, then, what is left?

What distinguishes marriage from nonmarriage, in your opinion?

Your opinion, and experience, are not invalidated by the argument that I’ve made. However, the pro-SSM side has invoked rules of argumentation to attack legal requirements, customs and traditions, that recognize marriage as providing contingency for responsible procreation, for example. Use those rules to dissect what you might feel is the core of the relationship type you have in mind, and Presto! your opinion and experience will be instantly invalidated.

Not by my argument. But by the SSM campaigns multi-headed hydra.

I do not believe the SSM campaign is really about marriage. It is about innoculating gay identity politics.

Identity politics is not a sound basis for social policy, common law, nor for cultural pluralism.

The anthropological record informs us of that pluralism which is profoundly reflected in how many different societies have recognized, privileged, and protected a foundational social institution. SSM argumentation seeks to deconstruct this even as it calls the sought outcome an “evolution” of marriage.

People are free to live and love together as they wish — there is a wide range of tolerated relationship types; of that range, a diverse subset is accorded protections; but marriage is a preferential status, based on its core, around which society draws lines.

Minus identity politics, what is the core of the relationship type you have in mind? If it is a sexual type, are we to treat the sexual ecologies of the all-male and the all-female as if there were no significant differences? Or differences with the both-sexed ecology?

If it is not a sexual type, but more about caregiving or economics or whatever, then, a far more inclusive vehicle for protections would be the provision for reciprocal beneficiaries. This is not marital but it has long co-existed with marital status.

If accessibility or affordability can be improved, then, that certainly can be accomplished without touching marriage — culturally or at law.

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

John Howard, I focus on the core of marriage which is the combination of sex integration and responsible procreation.

This entails the liberty of husband and wife to procreate together.

What I resist, on principle and pragmatically, is very much what you resist: the corruption of fundamental ideas and principles at the heart of a social institution.

SSP is manufacture and is outside the realm of the marital liberty you emphasize. But your argument shows how vulnerable such a liberty would become should marriage and nonmarriage be merged.

As you’ve said, after the merger we will have some very stark choices to make about procreative justice. And we might as well take up the prospect of harm now, rather than later.

John Howard
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Steve M.,

Murdock reports that the nuclear family type is universal. No exceptions found.

It is a basic unit in other types such as the polygamous and the extended family types.

The nuclear famiy type is identified by Murdock to be based on the both-sexed relationship.

Whatever else he says about the diversity of family forms, he does not overturn these observations made of the societies in his article.

And, by the way, the use of a phrase like “near universal” just means that there are very rare exceptions — most of which Murdock explains are merely apparent exceptions.

Anthropologists tend not to think in terms of absolutes, which is far more common to SSM argumentation, and that makes his observations about the universal family type all the more significant.

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

–> “Why should I restate it [your definition of marriage] in my own words?”

Because earlier you misrepresented what I had said. I thought perhaps you had misread and so I offered to clarify, based on your attempt to restate accurately that which you claimed to disagree.

To be understood, first seek to understand. I’m prepared to discuss the actual disagreement and, if necessary, with disagreement more clearly communicated, we might agree to disagree.

But it is premature of you to disagree when it is apparent you have misread or misconstrued what I have said about the nature of, the core of, the social institution of marriage.

It is premature when you have yet to identify the core of the relationship type you would call “marriage”.

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

–> “Finally, you can call it a “devolution” if you like, but “devolution” is not a valid concept, just a scientifically meaningless term of derision for an evolution that one personally finds distasteful.”

Oh, now.

The SSM campaign uses the word, evolution, in the sense that a particular change is inevitable. Your own comment just overlayed your advocacy and provided an example of this very thing.

Kruschev pounded the table with his shoe and declared that the Communists would crush us. His prediction might have seemed inevitable to him at the time.

And, if he had been proven correct, I suppose that change in the passage of time could have been counted as an evolution of sorts.

It is a useful analogy since so many fundamental corrections have since taken place in societies that were crushed by ‘inevitability’.

Deconstruct the social institution of marriage, or any of the other basic institutions of civil society, and you undermine it. Removing recognition and preference for the core of marriage is going backwards not forwards. It is not an improvement but rather a dissection of a coherent whole into bits and pieces.

Regardless of your talk about gender being a social construct, the two-sexed nature of humankind has not changed and cannot be repealed.

Is sex integration always of the same kind? Would all forms fit the ideals of our current society? No and no, but it remains at the core of marriage.

It is combined with contingency for responsible procreation. Yes, there are variations but these are variations on a theme.

Fatherhood and motherhood are integrated. Is there anyone here who would claim that this is a negative thing or that society ought not to promote it?

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

–> “they are trying to adopt the mantle of scientific authority for enterprises that at their heart are not scientific”

Well, I am not playing a game of “capture the flag” despite your misrepresentations.

Earlier I said that the law is not the font of wisdom on social institutions.

Likewise with science.

But here we are discussing the anthropological record, and an interpretation of which you dispute. That dispute is not resolvable on a scientific basis alone.

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Martin Lanigan, I don’t concede errors that I have not made.

You say you know the core of marriage by virtue of your own personal relationship.

The rules of the pro-SSM argumentation would not countenance such a claim by a husband whose relationship with his wife was the basis for his disagreement with the SSM-merger.

You are not alone in your silence on this question of the core of the relationship type.

If, for example, we cancel tradition as a source of knowledge about marriage, then, we can no longer stand on the relatively modern tradition of romantic love. There is no romance requirement at law. No absolute enforcement whereby the government revokes status based on love waning or even in its absence.

Marriage becomes a non-sexual relationship type if we sideline the marriage presumption of paternity for the sake of the one-sexed arrangement.

What SSMers need to acknowledge upfront is that the “LGBT” varieties of one-sexed arrangements are merely a subset of the one-sexed combination — which is itself a subset of the nonmarital category.

So you really do carry the burden of identifying the core of the more generic, or gender-neutralized, relationship type that is being proposed as a replacement for the core of the both-sexed union of husband and wife.

Given the great significance of marriage to society, society is entitled to expect that the would-be reformers carry that burden, not just willingly, but gladly.

The reluctance to shoulder it here, when discussing the anthropological record, is a real shame.

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off topic

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

Chairm
March 29th, 2008 | LINK

Fannie said: It is not a valid argument to rest on the statement that “Two people of the same sex cannot marry because marriage isn’t for two people of the same sex.”

Since my argument does not rest on such a statement, your point is invalidated by your own comment.

I have pointed to the core of the relationship type known as marriage.

I’ve asked for the replacement that SSMers advocate as the core of the relationship type they would call “mariage”.

It is from this that society can identify what is and is not justly treated as marriage.

Marriage is first and last a foundational social institution. This objective observation is not an argument. It is too often misrepresented by SSMers as an argument either from tradition alone or from unrelated authority.

In this, the authority is the natures of humankind, of human procreation, and of human community.

We are two-sexed, as a species, and we are indeed dependant on uniting the sexes to create and to socialize each generation of our kind.

This is far more inevitable than the SSM-merger. When folks point to the historicla record or to the anthropological record, they mean to show that some things are foundational and have great significance that may or may not be well-understood by those who propose a radical reform like the SSM-merger.

So, Fannie, the pro-SSM assertion that the one-sexed arrangement is a kind of marriage swallows the issue of what is the core of marriage.

* * *

Fannie said: “We all know that men and women can make babies together. But that happenstance of nature does not create a social institution on which a government confers legal benefits.”

You say you know it but you also discount it far more deeply than merited.

Besides, is it merely happenstance? It is essential, nonetheless. Humankind can’t do without it.

Despite evidence to the contrary, let’s just grant as true your assertion of your negative. To wit: this essential is peripheral (perhaps irrelevant) to both the origin and government’s recognition of of the social institution of marriage.

More is needed than your negative assertion.

What creates a social institution?

And what prompts government to confer legal benefits on a social institution?

Both postive assertions make necessary that the social institution be identifiable and distinguishable by its essentials.

What are those essentials, for the social institution of what you would call “marriage”?

These things are basic to discussion of the anthropology of marriage — indeed of social institutions in general.

Martin Lanigan
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm writes:

“The rules of the pro-SSM argumentation would not countenance such a claim by a husband whose relationship with his wife was the basis for his disagreement with the SSM-merger.”

What are these rules?

Martin Lanigan
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm writes:

“Martin Lanigan, I don’t concede errors that I have not made.”

How about conceding the errors the you have made? And don’t stop with the string of fallacies and factual errors I have pointed out.

Martin Lanigan
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm writes:

“–> “A typical ‘damned if we do, and a damned if we don’t’ argument from the religious right.”

I made no religious argument. And it was not just the religious right that opposed the SSM merger in Canada. The majority of Canadians are not “the religious right” except in the propagandic claims of the SSM campaign.”

>> My intent was to point out the similar tactic. You are correct, the RR are not the only critics. They were, and are, however, the loudest and most persistent. If you are implying that the majority of Canadians opposed eqaul marriage in 2005 then you are factually incorrect. Click here for confirmation:

http://erg.environics.net/media_room/default.asp?aID=572

Chairm writes:

“Issue fatigue is central to the SSM campaign’s strategy. It is good to see you concede that in your comment. The honesty is refreshing.”

>>You missed my point and fail to make yours. How do you substantiate your claim that issue fatigue is a SSM campaign strategy? State your source please.

Chairm writes:

“–> “Since particpation levels are low does that not mean that all of your hysteria about the foul impact was misplaced?”

My comments have not presented “hysteria” nor have I talked of “foul impact”.”

>>Fair comment. I concede your point.

Chairm writes:

“–> If particpation levels were high, you would be screaming about how the threat is high to the family.

Baseless assumption on your part. My comments refer to the social institution. You have yet to identify the core of the relationship type you say is “marriage”.”

I agree. The assumption on my part was unfounded. I’ll get to the core of the relationship type later.

Chairm writes:

“–> Marriage particpation levels are generally declining across among many demographics. Are you arguing that if it is low for any one group then that group should be barred access to marriage?”

The demand for SSM is very low in Canada. The SSM campaign claimed otherwise. They misrepresented the homosexual population and misled the Canadian society.”

You have left my question unanswered. State your source for your claim that the SSM campaign misled Canadian society. Also explain why you think there was a single unified campaign.

Chairm asks:

“A question in return: Are participation rates irrelevant to this discussion, in your opinion? Why yes or why no?”

In my opinion, yes. Participation levels will vary over time and it is too soon to make any generalizations. There is not enough data.

Martin Lanigan
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm asks:

“Minus identity politics, what is the core of the relationship type you have in mind? If it is a sexual type, are we to treat the sexual ecologies of the all-male and the all-female as if there were no significant differences? Or differences with the both-sexed ecology?”

I am not sure that I understand your question. I am also not sure why we must accept your rules of engagement. Why are “identity politics” excluded? What do you mean by “identity politics”?

If you are asking if same sex marriages are just about sex, well no. No more than a heterosexual marriage is necessarily all about sex.

I have no idea what you mean by a sexual ecology. If you are asking if we treat male/male marriages the same as female/female marriages, then I can see no reason to consider doing otherwise.

State your question in clear terms, and you will increase the chance of getting a clear answer.

But before you bother, you really need to acknowledge your errors and fallacies. Without an honest acknowledgment of this, there is little common ground for real discussion.

Jason D
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Oh for petes sake, fine, charm.

When I look at my parents, at any married couple. I see two people who have agreed to share their lives together. Actually, it’s more like one life. They are financially interdependant. They take care of each other through thick and thin, sickness and help. One is hurt, the other is there with a band-aid and a kiss. They are a whole. They function as a unit. If children are involved, which is neither a requirement nor a necessity, those children are the product of that pair. I’m not talking about the genetic structure, because what I say is true of adopted children as well. The offspring are the product of both parent’s efforts. They pass both their wisdom, both their empathy, both their perspective, morals, part of who they are is passed on to them regardless of genetic connection.

This relationship, for those who take it seriously, is beyond girlfriend/boyfriend style courtship. That is merely the precursor. Marriage is an additional, larger responsibility. You are no longer merely looking out for number one, you are looking out for each other. Sometimes that means sacrificing certain agendas and desires, for the good of both of you. If you have chosen wisely, if you are truly bonded, the sacrificing is minimal as your partner makes it their business to support you and stand not in your way, but beside you.

That is marriage. That’s what it’s about.

And that’s why it doesn’t matter the gender of the adult humans involved.

And that is why many LGBT couples are already married — they merely wait and work toward legal recognition of what is already there.

Fannie
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm says,

“We are two-sexed, as a species, and we are indeed dependant on uniting the sexes to create and to socialize each generation of our kind.”

In other words, the core of marriage, according to Chairm is procreation.

Which means that his argument is still circular:

“Only two persons with the ability to procreate can get married, because marriage is only between two people who are able to procreate.”

Chairm, unless you realize and acknowledge that the core of your argument rests on a fallacy, this debate with you is futile.

The very nature of the (as you call it) “SS’M'” debate is to argue over why and why not same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. Like I said in my very first comment to you, Chairm, stating your definition of marriage as fact prevents us from even having that debate.

As you can see, Jason D (above) has presented another definition of marriage. He believes his definition to be true just as firmly as you believe your definition to be true. How does each of you stating your definitions of marriage get us any closer to bringing this debate to a close?

So, my question to you, Chairm, is why do you seek to exclude same-sex couples from receiving the legal protections and benefits that come with marriage?

Is this all a zero-sum game, where if gay couples receive the benefits of marriage then heterosexual families will lose out?

Don’t tell what marriage is, tell me WHY it should be that way.

John Howard
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed for violation of the comment policy: off-topic

Ben in Oakland
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm: in other words, the basis of your whole argument is that marriage is for men and women, not two people of the same sex.

separate but equal– not a chance.

opposite sexed– that is changing, at least in thecivilized world.

I will agree with you on one thing, but not for your reasons. Marriage will normalize gay people. The prejudice will end. That is also a valid goal, but it is not the main one. It’s just a bi-product– nothing more or less.

I want the same rights that every hetero American has– nothing more and nothing less. i wanyt an end to laws that say i can be treated differently just because someone doesn’t like my sex life, or believes that G doesn’t.

Timothy Kincaid
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

AND….Back to anthropology and the observations of Chapman and Stanton.

Unless this “core” discussion gets back to a discussion of how anthropology would define marriage, it’s going to be removed as well.

John Howard
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Anthropology would define marriage as the right to conceive children together. All marriages in every culture throughout history have had the right the right to conceive children together, there have not been any marriages that were prohibited from ever conceiving children together, using the couple’s own genes. Never has a couple been allowed to marry but not then allowed to conceive children together. Never has a couple that was not allowed to conceive children together been allowed to marry.

Same-sex couples should not have the right to conceive children together, it is unethical.

John Howard
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Deleted – off topic.

Timothy Kincaid: Well actually, I’m going to let you all rant, blither and babble to your heart’s content. This debate is becoming so repetitive and excruciatingly boring that I can’t bother to read it all close enough to decypher what’s too far from the topic.

For now, anyway

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Martin Lanigan, the pro-SSM rules of argumentation were noted in comments upthread. Some pro-SSM comments included examples to which I pointed.

Perhaps try a word search.

Jim Burroway
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

“Anthropology would define marriage as the right to conceive children together.”

While I’m no anthropologist, I’m very surprised that “anthropology” would define it this way. Do you have any sources to back that up? I certainly see no such assertion in the American Anthropological Association’s own statement on same sex marriage.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Martin, when you presented a misleading picture, you were corrected in my subsequent comments.

I made a point about the common-law definition of marriage and noted how the SSM campaign’s courtcentric approach was based on distorting the traditions and customs of common-law marriage. SSM arugmentation — exemplified by advocates here in this very thread — displays a reliance on the modern tradition of romance.

In Massachusetts the high court elided the actual disagreement, failed to decide on the basis of sexual orientation discrimination, failed to decide on the basis of sex discrimination, and posed as if rewriting the common-law definition of marriage for a state legal system that has never had common-law marriage. The Goodridge majority opinion cited and followed the example of the Ontario judge who imposed SSM there.

When SSMers deeply discount tradition and customs, as if these are insufficient to defend the nature of marriage, they ought to do a recheck on how SSM was imposed in Canada and in Massachusetts.

Whatever the merits of a gaycentric view of romance, commitment, and so forth, the SSM campaign has been a corrupting influence on self-governance and on the marriage culture. It need not have been this way.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

–> “If you are implying that the majority of Canadians opposed eqaul marriage in 2005 then you are factually incorrect.”

If you wish to do a battle of the polls, we can go over the majority of polls which reported that public opinion stood against the SSM merger. We could also examine the questions asked and so forth.

The Environics surveys were biased, as are most such surveys in the USA. In the USA surveys have consistently underestimated support for state marriage amendments, for example. The SSM merger is unpopular in Canada and Canadians resented the way that it was pushed to the top of the agenda during a minority government. Majority opinion favored a specific referendum on the definition of marriage, but that option is not available through citizen-initiative as it is the USA.

The Canadian Parliament twice voted to reaffirm the man-woman criterion of marriage. The Canadian government, a majority government at that time, vowed to defend that criterion as constitutional. But, in a very unpopular minority government, the Liberal Party rushed to impose SSM on a reluctant country — and did so with the strategy of using the issue as a wedge and, by misrepresenting the court decisions, induce issue fatigue in the electorate.

Public hearings had been held just a year earlier and yet the government did not permit the publication of the report. Canadians from across the country had voiced their concerns about and opposition to the proposed SSM-merger. This was a deliberative process that was skuttled.

Increasingly various surveys indicated issue fatigue. People were fed up with the namecalling and overheated accusations of bigotry on the part of the SSMers. That strategy was top of agenda in the SSM campaign. It was unrelenting — and based on falsehood. It remains so in the USA.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

–> “How do you substantiate your claim that issue fatigue is a SSM campaign strategy?”

It is notable in this very discussion.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

–> “Fair comment. I concede your point. [See his original comment for the context].

Thank you.

John Howard
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

“Anthropology” is the study of mankind, and the study of mankind would show that all married couples have had the right to conceive children together. I have challenged people many times to find me one example of a marriage that was prohibited from ever conceiving children together, and no one has found me one yet. I dare say they never will, because every single couple that has been prohibited from conceiving together has not been allowed to marry.

No doubt the AAA left that out, anthropologists, especially American anthropologists, especially ones that write for an Association, are weenies.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

–> “Also explain why you think there was a single unified campaign.”

I do not think that. In fact, I earlier made mention of the multi-headed hydra.

Tell me, do you think the campaign is disunited? It is unclear what your question is about. Please elaborate.

As for participation rates, my question was not intended to be just about participation in SSM.

It is a useful observation that it may be “too soon to make any generalizations.”

That counters the odd refrain from SSMers that goes something like: the sky has not fallen in Canada so SSM is a success there and concerns were just hysterical nonsense.

Participation rates in same-sex householding, in its various forms, is very low even where it has been measured for about a decade or more. Registeration with the government — call it SSM or something else — suggests a low demand. That makes it a poor vehicle for the government bennies that SSMers talk about so much.

In Canada, the marriage rates continue to fall despite the claim by the SSM campaign that the merger would give marriage a boost. Compare the rates of both-sexed couples before and after and there is no such boost and none likely.

There are various points to be made about paricipation rates. These are relevant. Afterall, if marriage was to become characterized a participation rate as low as it is for same-sex householding (much less for the subset that is registered or SSM), society would have great concerns.

In fact, the undermining of the marriage culture is of great significance to the well-being of children in a society. Paricipation rates are far from irrelevant.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

–> “If you are asking if we treat male/male marriages the same as female/female marriages, then I can see no reason to consider doing otherwise.”

See the marriage presumption of paternity, for starters.

Marriage is a sexual type of relationship. The man-woman criterion comnbined with the presumption of paternity make it so.

Also reread the comments upthread regarding the SSM rules of attack on the obvious connection between procreation and marriage.

If there is no legal requirement for something, enforced absolutely, then, it is not essential to marriage. That’s the line repeated ad nauseam by SSMers.

And if it can occur outside of marriage, it is not essential to marriage. That’s repeated in cultural arguments as well as courtcentric and political arguments made by advocates of SSM.

So, according to the rules of SSM argumentation, marriage is not a sexual type of relationship.

I don’t think it is reasonable to expect that siblings and already-married people ought to treat the SSM-merger as if it was marriage. But maybe you can find good reason to impose a prohibition on such people?

But remember not to express concern about procreation nor about sex integration. These are often returned to by SSMers when they talk of incestuous combinations and polygamy, for example. Perhaps you will do differently.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Jason D, thanks for describing the core of the relationship type you have in mind.

You cited the lack of a requirement, enforced absolutely, regarding procreation.

Marriage is a social institution recognized by society via its state authorities. It provides contingency for responsible procreation. To expect the heavy hand of the state to make procreation mandatory, is to expect the state to own and run the social institution like an absolute dictator.

What you described is sufficiently vague that it can include most of the range of nonmarital arrangements.

Perhaps you would distinguish marriage from nonmarriage by some essential features. If so, what are these?

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Fannie, “In other words, the core of marriage, according to Chairm is procreation.”

Nope.

You lopped-off the responsible part. And the contingency part. And the coherent whole — its combination with sex integration.

When you misrepresented my comments as circular, I pointed to whence the core of marriage arises.

It also provides the “why” that you seem to be missing.

–> “why do you seek to exclude same-sex couples from receiving the legal protections and benefits that come with marriage?”

I do not.

First, those who choose a same-sex arrangement would exercise a liberty. It is a nonmarital arrangement. So the exclusion, such as it is, begins with the choice not to enter the social institution of marriage.

There is no good reason to equate the preferential status of marriage with protective or tolerative status for various nonmarital arrangements.

If protections are merited for nonmarital arrangements, based on need, then, the question for you is where to draw the line.

One needs to identify the core of the relationship type, its essentials, and based on that determine its merits and demerits. Benefits or protections flow frm that core.

If the relationship type is so vague as to include the wide range of nonmarital arrangements, then, the line drawing amounts to eraisure.

–> “Is this all a zero-sum game, where if gay couples receive the benefits of marriage then heterosexual families will lose out?”

Either we show preference for the core of marriage or we demote marriage to a protective status shared by nonmarital arrangements.

That ought to be justified by the reformer whose project is based on some alternative type of relationship. That type, according to SSM argumentation, encompasses the unions of husband and wife as well as “gay couples”. Yet what is the common core that makes it possible to identify in our customs, traditions, and laws?

–> “Don’t tell what marriage is, tell me WHY it should be that way.”

I have been making the attempt.

I’ve been asking the same of SSMers here. A departure is sought. It is suggested that the replacement for the core of marriage is superior. Afterall, why make such a replacement if it is inferior?

Marriage is not designed to harm “gay couples”.

But it seems that the SSM merger is presented as excluding far more of the nonmarital category than it would include. That needs more justification than the circular argument that SSM is supposed to be a subset of marriage and that “gay couples” are being denied marial status.

Provision for reciprocal beneficaries has long-existed and has changed over time in our very tolerant and free society. It is not new.

The usual complaint is that such provision is not all that marital status is. Well, right. Because it is not a merger with marriage.

You have to start with the core of the relationship type and then justify benefits and so forth based on that core. That’s how it goes.

If the core of marriage is no longer esteemed by society, then, I suppose we can have the heavy hand of the government do our bidding and merge marriage with arrangements lacking that core.

How that is good for society is a question that the anthropological record does not answer. No such SSM merger exists on in the available (and extensive) evidence.

Go to first principles. Make the independant claim for a special staus, or a protective status, for the essentials of the relationship form you advocate.

Jim Burroway
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

I have challenged people many times to find me one example of a marriage that was prohibited from ever conceiving children together, and no one has found me one yet. I dare say they never will, because every single couple that has been prohibited from conceiving together has not been allowed to marry.

That has got to be the most absurd argument I have ever encountered. Not even one that Mr. Stanton has ventured to make. (trying to get the conversation back on topic, which nobody seems to want to do.)

Now let me ask you this. Can you name me one example of a marriage in which it was required that the couple conceive children?

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

–> “I want the same rights that every hetero American has– nothing more and nothing less.”

The hetero-homo thing is a false dichotomy.

Marriage does not bar people based on sexual orientation. People choose not to form a conjugal relationship when they choose a same-sex arrangement.

The Goodridge opinion is useful in this discussion because it illustrates the problem with the false dichotomy of SSM argumentation.

How many of the Godridge justices expressed disagreement with the sexual orientation basis for the claim of discrimination in the marriage law?

4 to 3. The 3 dissenting opinions and one concurring opinion.

Or 7 to 0 since none of the justices wrote opinions that decided on that basis.

The Goodridge opinion sort of maps out the cultural claims of SSM argumentation. And in so doing it elides the actual disagreement about the social institution of marriage.

They began with a predrawn conclusion, which is in fact a departure from the traditions, customs, and the laws of Massachusetts — as even the majority opinion conceded — but then imposed a merger based on cloaking it in a revision of the common-law definition of marriage.

The earnest end-gaming does not disguise the lack of seriousness with which the pro-SSM account of marriage dimisses the legitimacy of the man-woman criterion.

–> “Marriage will normalize gay people. The prejudice will end.”

That is the central purpose of the proposed SSM-merger — the promised effect of appropriating the socieal esteem for the most pro-child social institution we have while sidelining its core.

Frankly, it is irrelevant to marriage but made relevant due to the attack on the nature of the social institution. That attack harms marriage and, thusfar, its successes have corrupted self-governance.

All unnecessary for your stated goal.

Patrick
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

“I have challenged people many times to find me one example of a marriage that was prohibited from ever conceiving children together, and no one has found me one yet. I dare say they never will, because every single couple that has been prohibited from conceiving together has not been allowed to marry.”

John, I suggest you read Chapman’s original post and then research “ghost marriages,” where a living individual marries a dead individual. These are recognized as marriage and I think procreation is out of the question. You may also want to research the Tiwi, where babies are married off the day they are born. That culture didn’t even believe babies were procreated through sex.

You’ll find there are always exceptions to virtually any rule we try to make up.

Steve M.
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Chairm quoting me:
–> “Finally, you can call it a “devolution” if you like, but “devolution” is not a valid concept, just a scientifically meaningless term of derision for an evolution that one personally finds distasteful.”

Chairm:
–Oh, now.

–The SSM campaign uses the word, evolution, in the sense that a particular change is inevitable. Your own comment just overlayed your advocacy and provided an example of this very thing.

No, evolution is not “progress,” is not intentional (in the sense of not having intent). Evolution is change, adaptation to changing circumstances. Marriage has constantly evolved and, if it is to survive, will continue to evolve to fit the needs of its participants.

I don’t see the campaign for marriage equality for same-sex couples as part of that evolution, but as a reaction to the ways marriage has evolved in recent years. At various times and places (see the calalai Rani and her wife, two-spirited people among the Lakota) marriage has included people of the same physical sex, as long as one of them took the role of the opposite sex.

How do you address these, by ignoring them, which has been your approach so far, by admitting that if you are referring to physical gender when you say that “the integration of the sexes” is part of the core of marriage, these prove that your claim is not universally true, or looking at how sex roles in these societies are highly divided, both within and and outside of marriage, and the environmental and technological circumstances to making a livelihood for a family that shaped the evolution of marriage in those times and places.

Marriage in modern American and more generaly Western society has evolved–especially in recent years–in different ways to accommodate an environmental and technological situation in which most man do not make their livelihood using their brute strength and most women do not need to spend the greater part of their adult lives at home all day raising children. It IS more egalitarian.

In Bugis society, a female-bodied person who identifies herself as a woman cannot go out of the house alone at night to obtain medicine for a sick relative; men work farming, trading and hunting. Men generally do not go into the kitchen.

These are adaptations to the environment in which the Bugis live, as impacted by technology, cultural history and tradition.

I am glad I live in a place where a single woman wold not be prevented by custom from going to the 24-hour Walgreens if her child were sick. It would be foolish to say that our culture’s choices are “better” than those of the Bugis or Lakota. Each has evolved to fit its environment, so each is a a better fit for that time and place. I will admit I *prefer* the culture as it has evolved here, because here is where I grew up. And here is a place where both men and women work in the same industries, offices and jobs together, where public schools mean that even the woman (or, occasionally, man) who believes it is important to stay home with her children after they are born, is generally free to return to the workplace in five years, and she will live long enough that she will not spend most of her adult life raising children. A place where technological change and social forces have generally flattened the sex-based division of labor, and what sex-based divisions of labor there are vary from region to region and household to household.

Marriage has evolved to fit these ecological and technological conditions.

It is only under these conditions that it makes sense to ask for two men as men, or two women as women, to marry–as opposed to among the Lakota and Bugis, where two male-bodied or two female-bodied persons could marry as long as one of the pair took on the role of the other sex.

Allowing two people of the same physical sex to marry is NOT novel in the world. Allowing them to marry as two men or two women is, and that is because of how marriage already has evolved.

–Kruschev pounded the table with his shoe and declared that the Communists would crush us. His prediction might have seemed inevitable to him at the time.

–And, if he had been proven correct, I suppose that change in the passage of time could have been counted as an evolution of sorts.

–It is a useful analogy since so many fundamental corrections have since taken place in societies that were crushed by ‘inevitability’.

It is not a useful analogy. Khruschev confused evolution with progress in the way you did just by using the word devolution.

I do not think near-universal acceptance of marriage equality for same-sex couples is inevitable, but I do think it is very likely. No matter how legitimate you feel the process was or was not, the fact that same-sex couples are getting legally married in Holland, Spain, Canada, and Massachusetts means that the game has changed. People being born now will never live in a world where same-sex marriage didn’t exist. The fact that there are no new state-wide anti-same-sex-marriage amendments for 2008, except, perhaps, in Florida, suggests that that has played itself out for now. The generational difference in attitude on the subject is dramatic.

Chairm:
Deconstruct the social institution of marriage, or any of the other basic institutions of civil society, and you undermine it. Removing recognition and preference for the core of marriage is going backwards not forwards. It is not an improvement but rather a dissection of a coherent whole into bits and pieces.

This makes no sense whatsoever. If you claim that marriage equality for same-sex couples has never existed in the past, then allowing it cannot be going backward. There is no “back” to be travel toward. The past held more physical labor for men, shorter lives, and more death from childbirth for women. But there is no going backward. Evolution is not progress; it is change. It may seem like progress because we see how things were and how things are, and we prefer how things are, but we do not see how things will be, and how things will continue to change and adapt.

–Regardless of your talk about gender being a social construct, the two-sexed nature of humankind has not changed and cannot be repealed.

It most certainly has. If you are talking about physical sex; no, that has not changed. But it has never been universal (my own uncle was born intersexed, raised as a girl until puberty in the 1940s, when he chose to become male). But what it means to be a man or a woman, that’s a very different thing from what it was even 100 years ago, even very different from what it is in other places in the world right now. It has changed, and the only thing we know for sure is that it will continue to change.

Chairm:
–Is sex integration always of the same kind? Would all forms fit the ideals of our current society? No and no, but it remains at the core of marriage.

No, it really doesn’t. To say that it does ignores those same-sex couples–married under law, before their family and friends, before their God as they understand him, many of them raising children. They are there; they exist. Models and abstractions are wonderful. We must have them to function in the world. But when our models and abstractions are contradicted by reality, it is the models, not reality, which must be revised.

And, if the criterion for sex is the physical gender rather than the socially presented gender, then such couples have existed in small numbers in various times and places throughout human history.

it is not the reality but your model, your definition, which is flawed.

Chairm:
–It is combined with contingency for responsible procreation. Yes, there are variations but these are variations on a theme.

–Fatherhood and motherhood are integrated. Is there anyone here who would claim that this is a negative thing or that society ought not to promote it?

Responsible parenting should always be promoted by society, regardless of the form it takes.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Patrick, the “ghost marriage” example illustrates the contingency for responsible procreation; it integrates the sexes; it does this as a coherent whole.

When the man “steps-in” for his deceased brother, he and his wife are at liberty to procreate together; in fact, it is generally the idea of the arrangement.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Patrick, the example of the marriage culture of the Tiwi, such as it has been documented, also illustrates the combination of sex integration and the contingency for responsible procreation.

I see your comment was in direct response to John Howard. I just wanted to note that these marriage cultures are very different from our own, here, today, but even at that the core of marriage was institutionalized in the examples you introduced.

Steve M.
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Coda:

Chairm:

I’m not saying in the above that you have to find marriage equality for same-sex couples to be a good thing or that you have to accept it, or that you cannot do your best to make compelling arguments against reversing it where it exists and stopping it from spreading further. I trust you will do all those things.

I’m just saying that you can’t win the day by saying definitionally that something doesn’t exist when in fact it now does. If the definition is now inadequate to describe what it names, it is the definition that must change.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Steve M., you would make far too much of the rarest of apparent exceptions. And you do so based on very little.

As I said earlier, the anthropological record is certainly subject to interpretation. Hence the term “near-universal” which is not the concession you think it is. Some disputes on the record, especially concerning the rarest examples, are unresolvable.

You mmight choose to err on the side that makes such examples the deciding stroke in your argument, if you wish, however, the rarity of these examples stands in favor, not against, the observations I’ve made regarding the nature of the social institution of marriage.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

–> “It IS more egalitarian.”

Still does not negate the two-sexed nature of humankind. The core of marriage is rooted in that and in the both-sexed essentials of human procreation and of human community.

That a man and woman, in modern society in this country, are co-equal is an example of how our individualistic society (based on principles of justice) has integrated the sexes within the conjugal relationship type.

Unwed childbearing and nonmarital cohabitation are poor substitutes for this integration primarily because of instability and a set of incoherent expectations that are associated, directly, with such alternatives.

When we look at marriage, the social institution, we ought not to miss its aspriational ideals. Sure, there are other ways to reach “good enough”, but marriage is preferred due to what it is, at its core. Here I am not speaking of this or that particular union of husband and wife, but of the institution into which they enter freely.

That institution has remarkable influence on behavior — even among those not married. This is so across cultures.

Each culture will integrate the sexes in is own way. From our vantage point we might judge some ways to be more just or more effective than others. Likewise with the contingency for responsible procreation. Yet these aspects, combined, are at the core of marriage — all over the place.

–> “Khruschev confused evolution with progress in the way you did just by using the word devolution.”

Yes he did, but no I did not. I described the dogmatic approach that I often encounter among SSMers who claim that the merger is inevitable.

The generational differences were noted by Kruschev and his fellow predictors.

Of course, the SSM camaign takes aim at changing the shared public meaning of marriage. It removes the essentials but remains very vague indeed about what would stand instead.

–> “allowing it cannot be going backward. There is no “back” to be travel toward.”

Deconstruction is not the way forward. Marriage has been kicked around far too much.

Dismantling a social institution is the way backward — to a bunch of bits and pieces all of which become options on a menu.

The way forward is to reaffirm the coherent whole. That’s the way toward improving marital trends and strengthening marriage.

Likewise with the principles of self-governance that are undermined by the SSM campaign. Reaffirm those principles is the way forward; entrenching the corruption is backwardness.

–> “what it means to be a man or a woman, that’s a very different thing from what it was even 100 years ago, even very different from what it is in other places in the world right now”

Your talk of gender does not repeal the two-sexed nature of humankind. The human species is not “intersexed” even if you would wish to classify a particular individual as such.

We would not be humankind if we lacked one or the other sex. This is profoundly significant to the anthropological record on multiple levels. No culture has overturned this fact of humankind.

Hence, you ought to take heed of your own assertion:

–> “when our models and abstractions are contradicted by reality, it is the models, not reality, which must be revised.”

SSM is a much higher abstraction that you would like to merge with marriage recognition. I’ve asked for the core of the relatinship type and it apparently is so vague, or rarified in the abstract, that it cannot be articulated such that it can stand the test that SSM argumentation uses to deconstruct marriage.

–> “Responsible parenting should always be promoted by society, regardless of the form it takes.”

Sure, but no one-sexed arrangement can rovide the contingency for responsible procreation.

See previous comments regarding parental relinquishment and the segregation of motherhood and fatherhood.

Chairm
March 30th, 2008 | LINK

Steve M: “If the definition is now inadequate to describe what it names, it is the definition that must change.”

What does it name?

What are the essentials of this named thing?

My observations do not rest on a mere assertion of a preferred definition. You may have misread or misunderstood.

Yes, I reach a definition which is actually descriptive of the social institution across cultures.

I don’t leave out essentials of marriage so as to squeeze in a particular kind of nonmarital arrangement.

SSM argumentation begins with a newly asserted definition, a replacement in fact, without providing the essentials and the description that fits.

If it did, you’d have already done so.

John Howard
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

…“ghost marriages,” where a living individual marries a dead individual. These are recognized as marriage and I think procreation is out of the question. You may also want to research the Tiwi, where babies are married off the day they are born. That culture didn’t even believe babies were procreated through sex.

And, were these ghost marriages prohibited by law from conceiving together? Were the Tiwi marriages prohibited from ever conceiving together when they grew up? Same-sex couples should be prohibited from procreating together by anti-GE laws, the same way siblings are prohibited by incest laws.

Timothy Kincaid
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Arguing marriage with Chairm is like arguing about the definition of a bird. You can talk a lot about Emus and Penguins and strange featherless creatures but at the end of the day never get any closer to any agreement.

Arguing marriage with John Howard is like arguing the definition of magical creatures in the land of Wackadoo.

John Howard
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Huh? Do you agree that all marriages have had conceptino rights? The imaginary creature in this discussion is the marriage that is prohibited from conceiving together. It doesn’t exist and never has. Lots of couples aren’t allowed to conceive together, but none of them are married or allowed to marry. If they are married accidentally, the marriage is declared void automatically, there is no room for argument.

Op Ed.
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Timothy: Arguing marriage with Chairm is like arguing about the definition of a bird. You can talk a lot about Emus and Penguins and strange featherless creatures but at the end of the day never get any closer to any agreement.

Particularly when one is trying to argue that a tuna is really a bird. “Look, emus are strange and penguins are featherless so tuna must be birds!” Interesting that you think your inability to define your terms is somehow Chairm’s problem.

Martin Lanigan
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Chairm:

Yawn.

Until you acknowledge your repeated fallacies and errors, I see no reason why anyone should spend another key stroke discussing this with you.

Fannie
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Martin said of Chairm,

“Until you acknowledge your repeated fallacies and errors, I see no reason why anyone should spend another key stroke discussing this with you.”

I agree. I’m done here. Chairm has entirely way too much time on his hands to come up with convoluted fallacious “arguments” against allowing gay people to marry.

Hey “Op-Ed”! Nice to see you so relevantly, timely, and substantively chiming in, per usual!

:-)

Ben in Oakland
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

About thse “conception rights”.

I still don’t know what the hell that is referring to. There is no “right” nor “anti-right” about it. Heteros only create children because THEY CAN… often to the sorrow of the children and the world.

Or, putting it another way, as I said to my husband once when we were discussing children: “Well, honey, I guess we should just stop using condoms andleave the rest of the matter in the good lord’s hands.”

End of discussion for me!!!

John Howard
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Ben, it refers to the fact that all marriages have been allowed to create offspring together – genetic offspring of the couple. Children. Together. Have you never noticed that before? It’s a pretty simple concept. And all marriages should continue to allow the couple to use their own genes to conceive children together, no marriages should be prohibited from using their own genes to create children.

Now, we need to make a law against genetic experimentation, and the result of that law will be that same-sex couples will not be allowed to create children together. Every person (gay or straight) will be prohibited from conceiving with someone of the same sex.

If that hurt your brain too much, try two vodka tonics and crying for a little while, and then try again.

Steve M.
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Chairm:
“SSM is a much higher abstraction that you would like to merge with marriage recognition. I’ve asked for the core of the relatinship type and it apparently is so vague, or rarified in the abstract, that it cannot be articulated such that it can stand the test that SSM argumentation uses to deconstruct marriage.”

Same-sex marriage is NOT an abstraction. Rani and hir wife and child are real (if we are to trust that Sharyn Graham is not lying in her brief ethnographic article). Dan Savage and his husband and son are real. The pregnant husband in Oregon is real. They are not abstractions.

Your definition–and that is all it is, despite your claims, because your argumentations that these things are the core of marriage always start from the premise that they are the core–has always described the VAST majority of marriages but not all marriages. It is thus sufficient for use as a casual definition, but not as a suitable working model. It is not “wrong,” just limited in the sense that Newtonian physics is limited, which will work to get us to the moon and back, but is not reliable when we move beyond the scale of the solar system. It is not universal.

Let’s just ignore those pesky outliers always seems well and good until you’re one of the outliers.

Steve M.
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

As for defining this “core of the relationship type,” well, that’s a nifty phrase that only you seem to use, and defining that core seems to be your obsession, whether here, on Opine, on Jewcy, or under the handle “On Lawn” at the Volokh Conspiracy. A Google search for the phrase leads only to you, and Google searches for the component parts of the phrase lead to articles about programming and mouse tumors.

This is clearly not an obsession of sociologists or anthropologists–witness the statement of the AAA referenced above and in the original article. As scientists, if they found that marriage here or there didn’t fit the model they were using as a working hypothesis, or that it had evolved in ways that invalidated the old model, they would revise the model, not define the changes into nonexistence.

It’s a fancy sounding phrase for a not-very-complete definition.

David Roberts
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Good grief! My head hurts. I think John Howard has given new meaning to circular arguments, and my head is still spinning from reading how many ways he could state his.

There is a huge problem with defining Gender only by sex and that is that gender, like marriage coincidentally, is a social construct.

I think there is an argument to be made about the traits society assigns to gender, but I don’t see how we can declare gender itself merely a social construct.

gordo
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

I’m waiting for John Howard to start in on the gay & lesbian threat to our Precious Bodily Fluids.

John Howard
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Stay on topic! Are there any marriages in the anthropological record that did not have a right to conceive children together? No, even “ghost marriages” are not prohibited from conceiving children together. There have been millions of couples that have not been allowed to conceive children together, indeed they’ve been stoned to death for dong things that might result in conceiving children together, but never once have they been allowed to marry.

Has anyone got the balls to deal with this? Fannie?

John Howard
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Oops, I mean “not even ghost marriages are prohibited”

Chairm
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

–> “repeated fallacies and errors”

–> “convoluted fallacious “arguments”

You really should not make such poor excuses for yourself and other SSMers here.

Misrepresentation is the keystone fallacy that you have engaged in during this discussion.

I think it is fair to say, often, you have misrepresented due to honest mistakes on your part.

That’s why I’ve offered to clarify and confirm based on others making the effort to restate the actual disagreement.

Also, pro-SSM commenters here have attacked straw men arguments that are manufactured in the SSM campaign’s effort to elide the actual disagreement.

If it was on-topic, we could walk through the various fallacies you have made in this discussion, including those based on your own appeals to tradition and authority.

I made that point regarding the rarest of exceptions — most of which are merely *apparent* exceptions.

The few others are unresolvable for various reasons. That’s a good deal of the reason for using a phrase like “universal or near-universal”. The anthropological record, especially for these few others, is far from perfect.

Identifying types is not foreign to the social sciences. The kind, form, type of family is one example. Likewise with relationships.

The core of a thing is its essentials. I’ve talked of the core of the social institution of marriage; and the essentials of the conjugal relationship type. This is not so difficult, folks.

When SSMers attack the connection between procreation and marriage, they talk of legal requirements, for example, and absolute enforcement. I took that at face value: they are proposing that there are essentials to the type of relationship they have in mind when they talk of marriage.

Now, if, as an advocate of SSM, you don’t believe there are essentials to SSM, that’s fine. But there are essentials to marriage.

The nature of a thing is its essentials. How anyone can deny this is beyond me, really, but perhaps someone can explain how you can come up with a definition for what you want to protect — without distinguish that thing from other stuff.

SSMers talk of “two persons” as if this was essential. Or consent. Or romantic love. Or whatever. Something is central, at the core, of what you have in mind, surely.

Are you not describing a relationship type? Or are you just talking about some abstract coincidentals?

Would you concede that there is nothing essential in what you propose to be called “marriage”? I would not think so, but maybe you do.

Come now. Engage the actual disagreement instead of disaparaging those who disagree with you.

* * *

Timothy: “never get any closer to any agreement”

For now, I’d be impressed with an effort by SSMers to agree to disagree with me.

That is, to show that they have understood the actual disagreement.

Maybe you are used to second-guessing people and thinking the worst of them just because they disagree with you about something.

Or maybe this particular issue has its own rules about presuming a lack of good faith argument.

I’ve suggested that there are special rules being followed, implicitly at least, based on gay identity politics.

I’ve asked for, and I’ve given, more than an arbitrary definition. I’ve asked for, and given, more than an axiomatic belief about marriage.

I thought there was more, since the SSMers here are so convinced of their own version of things.

Chairm
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Steve M. “Same-sex marriage is NOT an abstraction. Rani and hir wife and child are real …”

The definition, Steve, is vague and highly abstract.

Make it less so.

State the essentials. Is marriage a kind of relationship? When people form a conjugal union, what form does it take? Distinguish marriage from the rest.

Is marriage a social institution of civil society? Is it owned by the government? Who decides?

If the best you can do, for the moment, is to point at this or that person, well, we both could point at polygamous and incestuous people as well, right? They are real. They have children. They are committed. And so on. To understand one another, we need to consider the shared public meaning of marriage.

Society draws lines. Maybe this is something you’d rather make obsolete when it comes to marriage.

Chairm
March 31st, 2008 | LINK

Steve M., I am not On Lawn.

I don’t recall making comments at “Jewcy”; I can’t say I am familiar with the site.

The discussions at Volokh are lively. Some rather odd terminology used by legal beagle SSMers over there. Some of it drifts into discussion like this one, about anthropology.

–> “As scientists, if they found that marriage here or there didn’t fit the model they were using as a working hypothesis, or that it had evolved in ways that invalidated the old model, they would revise the model, not define the changes into nonexistence.”

That statement was written by people acting, not as scientists, but as advocates of a political project.

You’d dispute that, I suppose, but I’ll not dwell on it further.

In a nutshell, what are the essentials of their revised model and working hypothesis, according to your understanding?

I’m interested in your own exlaination rather than direct quotations from the statement. Is there anything in it with which you’d disagree or do you take it all as decisive and complete?

Does the replacement model provide a description of the type of relationship being identified?

Martin Lanigan
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Chairm writes:

“Blah, Blah, Blah, Appeal to Precedent, Blah, Blah, Irrelvant fact, Red Herring, Factual Error, Strawman, Strawman, Straman, Facutal Error, Blah, Blah”

Until you admit your numerous fallacies and your errors, you deserve no serious response. You are a time waster.

Timothy Kincaid
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Timothy: “never get any closer to any agreement”

For now, I’d be impressed with an effort by SSMers to agree to disagree with me.

That is, to show that they have understood the actual disagreement.

Chairm,

Have you considered that “SSMers” have difficulty debating you because you never concede any points, insist on your own definitions, use terms that are not part of our shared vocabulary, put far more words than are necessary on a page, repeat yourself endlessly, and when challenged simply jump to your next assertion.

It’s pointless. And worse than that, it’s boring.

Nevertheless, I’ll state where I disagree with you.

First, you state that marriage has, at its core, two primary functions or purposes:

1. To integrate the sexes
2. To provide for “responsible procreation”

Let me take them separately.

First, there does not appear to be any anthropological evidence that the purpose of function of marriage has ever been to integrate the sexes. Indeed, some societies have (or had) very strong segregation of sexes, but we are (for the most part) talking about Western culture and society and there does not appear to be a tradition of segregation in the Western world.

But that isn’t to say that it couldn’t be a function – just that there doesn’t seem to be a historical basis for this assertion. But even so, should it be a function at this time in history?

No.

Even the most casual of glances at our society will demonstrate that there is no segregation of the sexes in our society.

If, indeed, this were an integral part of marriage, then rather than be evidence that same-sex couples should be excluded, this would instead be evidence that marriage may no longer be relevant.

I reject that argument as being neither historically based or currently applicable.

As for “responsible procreation”, your sole remaining prerequisite: As indicated by the anthropological record, various cultures have held differing values about responsible procreation. Nonetheless, if we discuss Western society, procreation is relevant to the conversation about marriage.

However, such a conversation has to recognize that marriage was not defined as a vehicle for procreation but rather that it was a social status that included procreation protections. While procreation was accepted within the marriage status, it was not the sole component or often the most important component of many marriages.

We must recognize that for some marriages the creation of an heir was essential. In those marriages (but certianly not all or even most marriages) this notion of responsible procreation can be argued. However, those marriages were primarily royalty or other power or land conglomerations. Most people may have wanted children within their marriage but this was not its sole defining attribute.

But we must ask if this is relevant today.

Most everyone will agree that in our current society, the creation of a genetic heir is not the highest – or even the lowest – priority in a marriage. Procreation may be deliberately avoided, adoption or assisted fertility methods may be employed, or step children may incorporated into the family.

If, indeed, “responsible procreation” were the core of marriage, this too would argue for the irrelevance of the institution.

There were a number of other purposes for marriage that no longer are applicable: ownership and care for women, consolidation of power, peace negotiations, and others. If they were at any point part of the core of marriage, they no longer are so.

In any case, both of your core principles are not relevant today or reflective of most marriage we see around us. Indeed, if these were the core of marriage, then the majority of married Americans would not be included by your definitions.

I think the purpose, definition, and primary distinction of marriage is something else entirely. It is the process by which two separate persons unite into a single unit. It is the social and civil recognition that “Pat” and “Chris” are now “Pat and Chris”.

It is the recognition of this creation of a single entity that is reflected in civil laws such as property transfer, taxation, inheritance, and even laws about witnessing against a spouse. We see it in our casual conversation about “the other half”.

Instinctively we all recognize that this is the core of marriage – the creation of one out of two. But what some are failing to recognize is that if we sever marriage from this meaning it will lose its usefulness and relevance.

There is no question that same-sex couples are becoming one. They are doing so through civil unions, through backyard committment ceremonies, through private promises or through the gradual melding of their lives.

If society refuses to confer the title of marriage on such units, it does so to the detriment of its own definition. For if marriage does not mean the union of two people into one, then it really doesn’t mean anything at all.

John Howard
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

However, such a conversation has to recognize that marriage was not defined as a vehicle for procreation but rather that it was a social status that included procreation protections. While procreation was accepted within the marriage status, it was not the sole component or often the most important component of many marriages…But we must ask if this is relevant today.

Timonthy, thank you! Yes, we must ask if marriage should continue to protect procreation rights, and if same-sex couples should have procreation rights together.

My answers are yes, and no. Yes, we should not strip procreation protections from marriage, not in this time of eugenic gamete sales and genetic testing. All marriages must continue to have the right to use their own genes to conceive their own children together. And no, same-sex conception is unethical and should not be allowed, it should not be deeloped at all.

Civil unions are the anser to make same-sex couples “one” and give all the other rights and protections of marriage, without changing marriage’s protection of procreation.

It is distinction that would work to enable same-sex couples to get civil unions in all fifty states and federal recognition and end the contentious debate. Please consider supporting it.

Jason D
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

“Civil unions are the anser to make same-sex couples “one” and give all the other rights and protections of marriage, without changing marriage’s protection of procreation.

It is distinction that would work to enable same-sex couples to get civil unions in all fifty states and federal recognition and end the contentious debate. Please consider supporting it.”

Sorry John, but we already did seperate but equal and learned that it was never, ever equal.

I only support civil unions when it is a fallback position because Marriage is too risky in that area of the country. I do not, however support civil unions as the final word on the matter –execept in one situation:
Civil Unions for all. Marriage = no legal weight. Give it back the the religious community if they’re so intent on protecting it. The government should’ve never gotten involved in the first place.

John Howard
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Do you even try to understand the full scope of what I am saying? Duh, I know, you want marriage, you want conception rights, you want equality. But same-sex conception is unethical! Same-sex couples should NOT have equal rights. It’s one thing to just say “yeah we should” but totally another to actually deal with the reasons I bring up about why you should not have the same rights as you would if you partnered with a woman.

Choose civil unions and equal protections over insisting on something that might never be possible and will surely be unethical. It will be better for everyone to accept this sooner rather than later.

Jason D
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

John, no one is responding to your nightmare procreation scenarios because they’re ridiculously off-topic, and pretty much irrelevant to the subject of an anthropological record of same-sex couplings.

cooner
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

John Howard: I think we UNDERSTAND what you’re saying … it’s just a bit difficult to see the relevance. You seem to be terrified and passionate about the prospect of genetic engineering creating babies. Fair enough.

What I don’t see is the slippery slope that same-sex marriage, and specifically same-sex marriage, will lead to the kind of eugenics you’re talking about. Most same-sex couples are happy to adopt or use a third party for conception. Conversely, if the technology you’re talking about every became possible, I don’t see that same-sex couples would be the only ones to use it. I can imagine many straight couples would have an interest in engineering their “perfect child,” or even that some eccentric single individual would be interested in having a child by him/herself.

If your deepest concern is over genetic engineering — which is an understandable position — then it seems you would do better to become an activist for groups working to limit or dissuade research in those areas. Allowing SSM would not hasten progress in that area; and if it’s going to happen eventually, preventing SSM isn’t going to stop or slow it down.

John Howard
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

cooner, allowing SSM will either give same-sex couples the right to have children together, which will create a right to use modified gametes, or, if an anti-GE law is passed, it will strip the right to procreate from marriage, because or the first time in history (see anthropological record) there will be marriages that are prohibited by law from conceiving children together. That would mean that all marriages would lose the protection of procreation rights, and could be coerced into using substitute better gametes, or modified gametes.

It is not too soon to face this question, in fact it is almost too late, it is possible to attempt it today. Should same-sex couples have conception rights or not? Should we allow use of “female sperm” or not? That is the same question, anthropologically speaking (and so far no has shown me to be wrong) as should we allow same-sex marriage. They are the same question. Turning them into two questions changes marriage and denies everyone natural conception rights.

So, what do you think, should we allow same-sex conception or not? I think you should think about what you have to gain by agreeing that it is unethical, and agreeing that marriage should continue to protect procreation, as Martin pointed out it does.

A solid law against GE would mean that people only had a right to conceive with someone of the other sex. You have to see that.

I am not trying to prevent SSM separately from enacting the anti-GE law, indeed until we have that law, we should certainly have SSM. I am trying to get the anti-GE law and stop SSM and replace them with Civil Unions all at the same time, with one act of Congress.

TJ McFisty
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Adding, “anthropologically speaking” to your statement doesn’t actually make it anthropological…only more hysterically sounding.

John Howard
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

This comment has been deleted for being off topic. Yes, it’s a judgment call I know, given how this thread has degenerated to the point where it seems that everyone has forgotten to even think about discussing anything that Mr. Stanton spent a tremendous amount of time and effort to write.

This post is not about genetics, artificial insemination, cloning, or any other distraction that has been raised here. It is about Mr. Stanton’s views on what he believes anthropology says about same-sex marriage. Nothing else. So Mr. Howard, from eggandsperm.org can either get back onto the topic, or he will be banned. I will not have this thread hijacked towards a topic which has nothing to do with anything Mr. Stanton has written. That is an explicit violation of our Comments Policy

I’ve been unusually indulgent in allowing this thread to devolve the way it has. So let this comment be the one that gets it back on topic. From here on out, any further comments which do not discuss or address Mr. Stanton’s post — either in support of his post or against specific points he raised — will be deleted.

Thank you.

— Jim Burroway

Fannie
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

This comment has also been deleted for being off topic. Yes, it’s a judgment call I know, given how this thread has degenerated to the point where it seems that everyone has forgotten to even think about discussing anything that Mr. Stanton spent a tremendous amount of time and effort to write.

So let me share at least one of Fannie’s frustration. This post is not about genetics, artificial insemination, cloning, or any other distraction that has been raised here. It is about Mr. Stanton’s views on what he believes anthropology says about same-sex marriage. Nothing else.

I’ve been unusually indulgent in allowing this thread to devolve the way it has. So let this comment be the one that gets it back on topic. From here on out, any further comments which do not discuss or address Mr. Stanton’s post — either in support of his post or against specific points he raised — will be deleted.

Thank you.

— Jim Burroway

John Howard
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Damn, I’m trying to stay on topic. I’m saying, or asking, if indeed anthropology says that every marriage has the right to conceive children together. Hopefully same-sex marriage is also part of this topic. If so, then I’m suggesting that same-sex couples should not have the right to conceive children together.

OK?

Jim Burroway
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Well then let me answer your question. Anthropology doesn’t define rights. It merely observes. And I think anthropology will observe that people have conceived children both inside and outside of marriage in various cultures. Outside of that, I think you’ve made your point. You’re against medical interventions for conceiving children. We get that. Stanton were to talk about his stance on that subject, then you’d be on topic. But he didn’t. And supposing that support of SSM automatically requires that one also support cloning or other medical interventions is a strawman argument. In fact, I suspect quite a few don’t. This is why nobody has answered your question — it is utterly irrelevant in addition to being off topic. So move on.

Chairm
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy, with due respect, I’ve agreed on points made by others.

The “shared vocabulary” is not what the pro-SSM side dictates. That is a big part of the problem with the comments about the Stanton-Chapman exchange.

Unfortunately, the “shared vocabulary” has been breaking down.

As one of the very few defenders of the man-woman criterion in this discussion, I’ve tried to reply to all who asked me questions or challenged my points. It is not good form to criticize my diligence.

There are problems on the pro-SSM side of this discussion regarding the hop-skip-and-hump method that comes down to endlessly repeated bumpersticker slogans rather than well-considered and reasoned statements or answers.

But all sides can be criticized for this sort of thing. Defining terms with greater care is important. That sometimes means discussing a subject on your terms; sometimes on the terms of the person with whom you’d disagree.

Your remarks about sex integration and responsible procreation illustrate those pro-SSM rules mentioned earlier. These seep into interpretation of the anthropological record. That’s why I have pointed them out more than once.

* * *

Timothy, I very much appreciate the attempt, but you have not put your finger on the actual disagreement regarding what we know about the nature of marriage.

You restated and I’ll confirm, correct, or clarify. If I have misread your comment, please respond in kind.

1. Marriage is a social institution manifested in cultures far and wide. The varitations have a core in common.

On this we’d easily agree, I think, and athropology would back us up.

The interpretation of the rarest of *apparent* exceptions provides ample opportunity to inject bias. Stanton and Chapman, both, acknowledge this implicitly.

I think that SSMers exagerate, purposefully, examples like the Tiwi and “ghost marriage” because they miss the normative power of marriage even in the context of those examples.

At times I think some SSMers (not all) reject the notion of marriage possessing the influence to make normative anything — with the promised exception of gay identity.

A social institution is coercive (more benignly in some cultures than in others) in ways that some may revolt against. A strong social institution will accomodate this without overturning its essentials. The accomodation does not always occur inside the bounds of marriage.

Again, this basic point is probably easy to agree with, but leads to divergent interpretations about the strength of marriage, its influence (for good and ill), and whether certain accomodations (within or outside of marriage) overturn the coherency of the whole thing.

2. Marriage has both public and private aspects; anthropologist try to make observations of both without arbitrarily severing one from the other.

General agreement on this point, I think.

But SSMers will eject far more of the public aspect *based on this or that private aspect*. This bias gets pressed into the interpretation of the anthropological evidence.

On this point, I have much in agreement with SSMer Jon Rauch, who provides the best SSM argument, I think. However, he ejects too much in his advocacy of the SSM-merger.

(Timothy, in your view, whose argument is the best from the side you disagree with? And what is the basis for your disagreement with it?)

3. Both “sex integration” and “contingency for responsible procreation” are manifested in the social institution of marriage across cultures even if the form of the combination varies. This combination is not divisible.

You agree with me, it would seem, on responsible procreation but not on sex integration. I think you agree for the wrong reasons and disagree for the right reasons.

The Stanton-Chapman exchange also examplifies this.

The combination is important — but your comment treated them as seperate and disunited. The evidence shows otherwise. I don’t think this is a matter for interpretation but we could discuss that further.

4. During the next several days, I will take up Timothy’s attempt to clarify the actual disagreement. I’ll write about this discussion at The Opine Editorials. Maybe we can “achieve disagreement”. The process may seem tedious but so is staring at a blankwall.

I’d rather clarify the actual disagreement, reach a common understanding of it, and then, if my argument is to loose, it would not be misrepresented. Wouldn’t SSMers hope for the same in the deliberative process?

http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/

Stanton and Chapman made the effort and even if flased both sides of the exchange appeared to at least expect to learn something from the other. It is time for the marriage debate to mature beyond the decade-old rhetoric.

John Howard
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Anthropology also speaks about what it observes, and what I am pointing out is simple and on topic. Every single marriage that has been observed has been allowed to conceive children together. Never has a marriage not been allowed to conceive children together. Anthropology says that same-sex marriage will either allow same-sex couples to conceive children together, or will strip conception rights from marriage if we don’t allow same-sex couples to conceive together.

That is the super-most relevant and most universal aspect of the anthropological record on marriage. Unmarried conception is irrelevant.

All I want is some acknowledgment that in asking for same-sex marriage, based on Stanton and every anthropologist’s observations, you are asking for conception rights, just like every other marriage always was. We don’t need to talk about how that might be accomplished, just acknowledge that marriage has always had them, every single one.

Timothy Kincaid
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Chairm,

Again you have written a very long comment… and said nothing.

If you intend to address my comments at some other venue, I think perhaps that would be best (though I won’t be participating there).

Then the rest of us can get back to the discussion about the merits of Stanton’s argument about the exclusionary nature of social recognition of marriages and whether or not it stands up to the anthropological record as presented by Chapman.

Chairm
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Martin: “Until you admit your numerous fallacies and your errors, you deserve no serious response. You are a time waster.”

You have made a bogus accusation. Responding point-by-point to your mud-slinging would be a waste of time and pixels.

And off-topic, here.

However, you can bring your claim to Opine where I’ve left a blogpost where you might spell-out your claim with care.

http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/2008/04/bogus-accusation-by-ssmer.html

I’d respond to you there, if warranted. Thanks.

Chairm
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy, your earlier comment did not accurately state the actual disagreement on marriage.

The exchange between Stanton and Chapman are likewise discussed via misrepresentations by SSMers in this thread.

If that is not on-topic, then, you are demonstrating the bias which was illustrated in the comment you have deleted.

Your participation is welcomed at Opine. You ought ont be fearful of clarifying the actual disagreement.

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

First, I too would be interested in people sharing their arguments or flaws at that thread Chairm pointed out. Just saying…

If I could inject on a few points too:

1) A logical fallacy does not make something untrue. It is a common colloquialism on the internet, those that discover argumentation without really understanding the logic behind it. A logical fallacy, instead of pointing to a conclusion being false, instead points to logic being inconclusive to that conclusion.

In this debate I’ve seen people claim that pointing to marriage’s past as “appeal to tradition” — an attempt to claim that discussing tradition makes something untrue. It is actually much deeper than that, and expressed in various ways in different logical pursuits. In the legal system there is appeal to tradition, and then something very much like it — appeal to precedent. Marriage’s definition is a precedent, it is the context and understanding people have employed in writing policy and decisions.

The preservation of this precendent is common among dictionaries. I give one easily accessible example from m-w.com,

“1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage ”

Note that there is not a one-size-fits-all definition, but a precedent and a likeness provided.

2) Marriage as an endeavor of gender integration is not disprovable. Marriage as a policy and culture around our common humanitarian experience encompasses many aspects of this debate. Polygamy (which means multiple marriages, not multiple spouses in the same marriage), dowry, consanguinity, and age of marriageability are all cultural protocols built around the core of marriage.

Gamos, conjugal, they all relate to our human conception. How two people share their identity in creating a new identity. How those two people are in prime roles of responsibility to that child, by nature of their biological acts. Culturally this can go this way and that, how people sometimes put the responsibility all on the woman (which is simply the man being negligent in my estimation), or it can tie the man inseparably to being able to sell or trade the child as he wishes. Culturally, understanding and expressing our own humanity is a many varied enterprise based on a many varied conditions. But the core, is there.

Marriage as a cultural expression of mating is indisputable. As the understanding of that mating experience is expressed in cultural symbolism of other relationships, we see that things change and remain the same. The roots of at least our most western words to denote marriage all mean “to mate” and have reference to specific procreational biology. Gamos, Conjugal, etc…

Chairm
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

–> “the exclusionary nature of social recognition of marriages”

What does that mean?

Jason D
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

“Marriage as a cultural expression of mating is indisputable. As the understanding of that mating experience is expressed in cultural symbolism of other relationships, we see that things change and remain the same. The roots of at least our most western words to denote marriage all mean “to mate” and have reference to specific procreational biology. Gamos, Conjugal, etc…”

Mate does not necessarily mean procreate—

From Merriam-Webster dictionary online

One of several definitions of the word mate:
3mate
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Middle English, probably from Middle Low German māt; akin to Old English gemetta guest at one’s table, mete food — more at meat
Date:
14th century

1 a (1): associate, companion (2)chiefly British : an assistant to a more skilled worker : helper (3)chiefly British : friend, buddy —often used as a familiar form of address barchaic : match, peer2: a deck officer on a merchant ship ranking below the captain3: one of a pair: as a: either member of a couple and especially a married couple b: either member of a breeding pair of animals c: either of two matched objects.

While I do see the words “Breeding pair” in that definition, the surrounding definitions are non-gender specific, and do not refer chiefly to procreation, breeding and or even sex.

Seems to me that “mate” refers to one of two objects or people involved in a relationship.

Do not the british commonly use the word “mate” to mean “friend”?

This, along with the reference above to a “matched pair” suggests that homosexual relationships might not be so far off the mark to begin with.

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,

Talking past someone is no substitute for real discussion. Allow me to line up points, just so you can see better when you’ve been thoroughly routed…

Timothy: “First, there does not appear to be any anthropological evidence that the purpose of function of marriage has ever been to integrate the sexes. Indeed, some societies have (or had) very strong segregation of sexes, but we are (for the most part) talking about Western culture and society and there does not appear to be a tradition of segregation in the Western world.”

Chairm noted specifically that, ” Both ‘sex integration’ and ‘contingency for responsible procreation’ are manifested in the social institution of marriage across cultures even if the form of the combination varies. This combination is not divisible.

“You agree with me, it would seem, on responsible procreation but not on sex integration. I think you agree for the wrong reasons and disagree for the right reasons.”

Lets ponder this a bit more directly. Chairm is not saying that marriage is to make sure there is gender integration in all aspects of society. While he discusses the use of marriage in sex-integration and even kindly points to it as indivisible from the responsibility of their procreation, you argue about sex segregation in general in society. That is an apple-orange mix that deserves a bit more insight.

Often societies have employed sex segregation to drastic extremes. Aesthetic orders, and strict cultures have forbidden touching for the strict reason of engendering sex-integration in marriage. Aestheticism in keeping one pure of physical pleasures or manipulations is a lifelong goal. Keeping oneself pure (and in our current understanding of diseases this has even more poignancy) to marriage is a goal in and of itself. Do you disagree with this? Because both note the gender integration, or biological mating aspect to marriage which you claimed Chairm said nothing about in his reply.

Going further down that rabbit hole, the fallacy becomes even more apparent as you draw spurious conclusions based on our common current experience. You said, “Even the most casual of glances at our society will demonstrate that there is no segregation of the sexes in our society.”

Dorms, bathrooms, changing areas, all deal with our common privacy. All are very gendered contexts of our privacy, and speak volumes in law, public signs, and our sexuality in that gender segregation. And anthropologist looking back on the ruins of our society would no doubt find such signs of gender segregation and accurately interpret them as such. Perhaps you simply misspoke.

In general we see a common ground of regulating exposure and contact of genders. And, most importantly, the common execution of our gender integration as understood in marriage and family life through the ages. And that is what we call marriage. It speaks deeply to our common biology, our common humanity. And it is not properly dismissed.

On to another point you make: “Most everyone will agree that in our current society, the creation of a genetic heir is not the highest – or even the lowest – priority in a marriage. Procreation may be deliberately avoided, adoption or assisted fertility methods may be employed, or step children may incorporated into the family.”

I don’t believe that an axis of personal priority intersects well enough with Chairm’s thesis to contradict it. Indeed, the common rhyme “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…[and we all know how it ends'” as well as your comment lend room to it being a common priority of marriage. While the personal priority may vary, it is difficult to avoid how this priority has affect on public policy. As Chairm replied:

“Marriage has both public and private aspects; anthropologist try to make observations of both without arbitrarily severing one from the other.

“General agreement on this point, I think.

“But SSMers will eject far more of the public aspect *based on this or that private aspect*. This bias gets pressed into the interpretation of the anthropological evidence.”

And so what you call nothing, hit the nail on the head. Our common understanding of marriage value takes on different priorities from public to private. Publicly we share the interest in making sure that children have a quality to their upbringing that recognizes their basic rights to their heritage and their parentage. The nature of responsible procreation is assignment of responsibility, to the parents who are the link to their heritage and who’s relationship that child inherits. The UN recognizes the right to heritage from its review of our global human condition over many cultures and protocols.

I will highlight some of this inline as you reach for your conclusion:

“Instinctively we all recognize that this is the core of marriage – the creation of one out of two. But what some are failing to recognize is that if we sever marriage from this meaning it will lose its usefulness and relevance.”

Even your terminology “two become one” speaks directly to the child incarnation of the relationship. Yet your next paragraph “sever[s] marriage from this meaning and will lose its usefulness and relevance”. In light of the meaning of two becoming one you say:

“There is no question that same-sex couples are becoming one. They are doing so through civil unions, through backyard committment ceremonies, through private promises or through the gradual melding of their lives.”

I celebrate their banding together, I fully appreciate and wish to support the fact that they have mutually brought on each others cares and needs. Yet they are not becoming one. It is better to describe them as two banding together.

I submit the difference being the nature of unity or simple standing together for a common cause.

Consider how a child makes “two into one” or how the completion of the complementary aspects of our biology make the reproductive unit a complete organism. These meanings of “two become one” are not only severed from their meaning by you, they become more platitudes and place-holders. Yet you continued:

“If society refuses to confer the title of marriage on such units, it does so to the detriment of its own definition. For if marriage does not mean the union of two people into one, then it really doesn’t mean anything at all.”

You start with a misunderstanding, you will tautologically wind up with that same misunderstanding. Just to let you know. But perhaps you better distinguish and argue that point, which I would appreciate reading.

Timothy Kincaid
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

“Stanton’s argument about the exclusionary nature of social recognition of marriages” refers to Stanton’s claim that anthropologists identify marriage (or identify social recognition of marriage) only between opposite-sex couples to the exclusion of same-sex couples.

This is, after all, the topic of this thread.

Timothy Kincaid
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

On Lawn,

Do you have any opinions that relate to either Chapman or Stanton or the topic of the thread?

TJ McFisty
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

I’m sorry, On Lawn, but I believe you mean “asceticism” not “aesthetic”. Given both your attempts to maintain clarity of language and all, I’d think you’d want that cleared up.

Jim Burroway
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

John Howard

The only “rights” we’re talking about are the 1,049 rights, benefits, responsiblities and obligations that come with marriage. What you are doing is creating a strawman, and hijacking this thread toward your favorite subject.

Since you insist on behaving this way, I will place you on moderation until I see that you are actually interested in participating in the discussion that is taking place, and not the unrelated one you want to take place. For that, you have your own web site.

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,

In reply to your latest comment, “Do you have any opinions that relate to either Chapman or Stanton or the topic of the thread?”

It is a good attempt to dismiss, much like you tried to do with Chairm. However, it will likely only get people to read the comment for themselves, and no doubt they will wonder why you are unclear on the matter. Just saying.

The answer, assuming your ingenuousness, is that it is a stirring debate so far. Its been a very fun read, and as always so are the comments that followed. Is there anything specific you feel has strayed in the conversation?

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

TJ,

Many thanks, you are correct. I meant asceticism, not aesthetic. I hope providing the usage, “in keeping one pure of physical pleasures or manipulations” helped.

Jason D
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

On Lawn,

Do you have any opinions that relate to either Chapman or Stanton or the topic of the thread?

looks like he doesn’t.

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid: comment was off topic

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid: Comment was off topic

Jason D
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid: Comment was off topic

Fannie
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Back on topic, the respectful dialogue between Chapman and Stanton has been an overall refreshing and fun read. I am confident that we can rest assured that neither of these gentlemen will resort to using the notorious Argument from Silence to declare victory or assign dodgy motives.

[Moving along to read Chapman’s latest installment]

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid: Comment was off topic

Joel
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Ill eventually read CHairms extremely long debate with some extremely long replies… but the one thing i read was prety much answered on Chapmans sequel.

chiMaxx
July 6th, 2014 | LINK

Interesting that in this debate, Chairm invites someone to continue the discussion over on his blogging home at Opine Editorials, but that now, six years later, the blog has been made private, and indeed, has had its content erased from the archives.org Internet Wayback machine. These threads and a few you can find over at volokh.com (moved to the Washington Post) provide some of the only evidence left online that Chairm and Opine Editorials were ever part of the public debate around same-sex marriage.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.