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Round 2: Chapman Replies to Stanton

Patrick M. Chapman, Ph.D.

March 31st, 2008

Editor’s note: Last week, we began a discussion on anthropological views of marriage, with special attention to its implications on same-sex marriage. Patrick Chapman, biological anthropologist and author of the forthcoming book, “Thou Shalt Not Love”: What Evangelicals Really Say to Gays (Haiduk Press: 2008) began the discussion. That post was followed by a response from Glenn T. Stanton, director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus On the Family and co-author (with Dr. Bill Maier) of Marriage On Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting (InterVarsity Press: 2004). This week, Dr. Chapman replies and begins round 2 of the discussion.

The editors of Box Turtle Bulletin requested that Glenn Stanton and I continue our discussion about marriage. I recognize that Stanton is at a disadvantage in this discussion because I essentially have the “home-field advantage:” his comments will come under much greater scrutiny by Box Turtle Bulletin’s readers than mine. As such, I credit Stanton for his willingness to participate further. However, as an anthropologist I remain in disagreement with his “anthropological” assessment of same-sex marriage.

In a limited space and with limited time, it is difficult to address all of the issues raised in Stanton’s response to my critique. I am concerned about his unscientific methodology, disagree with his comments about the American Anthropological Association, find inadequate, given the context, his explanation for including Colin Turnbull’s biographical information, and find unconvincing his dismissal of anthropological authority: he does not consult artists when trying to rebut definitions of marriage! However, in this round of the discussion Glenn Stanton and I have agreed to focus attention on two important themes: the distinction between gender and sex and the definition of marriage.

Sex and gender
Upon reading Stanton’s response, I am of the opinion he does not comprehend the implications of, or difference between, sex and gender. Sex, a biological entity, and gender, the socially constructed roles we play in society, are not synonyms. The folk belief in American society, which recognizes only two sexes and two genders, is that a person’s sex determines his or her gender: all biological males are gendered masculine and all biological females are gendered feminine. Our language reinforces this “reality:” we say “he” and “she,” implying there are only two sexes and two genders. We have no pronouns for biologically intersex individuals (sometimes called hermaphrodites), or for individuals who are transgender. However, other societies do not necessarily accept our binary construct and interchangeable sex and gender categories.

In the initial critique, I described the five genders recognized by the Bugis of Indonesia.1 Unlike American society, which blurs the distinction between sex and gender, the Bugis separate biological sex (male, female, and intersex) from gender roles, creating the five gender categories. Stanton’s comment that the Bugis situation “Seems pretty binary to me and not very inventive when it comes to expanding the boundaries of the two genders,” demonstrates ethnocentrism: he imposes upon the Bugis an American understanding of gender, dismissing the Bugis’ recognition of the five genders being different. Contrary to Stanton’s belief, the calabai and calalai do not fit into the gender categories of man or woman and are not simply transvestites. While a calabai performs many tasks associated with women, it is the calabai who often provides economically for the husband: a calabai performs some tasks associated with women and others associated with men.

A compounding problem in understanding the difference between sex and gender is that heterosexuality is the most common expression of sexuality. As such, societies normally expect same-sex marriages to conform to the heterosexual model. This heteronormativity and the confusion between sex and gender help explain Stanton’s surprise or disbelief that the Bugis recognize five genders, and why he dismisses the nature of their same-sex marriages. I believe it also lends understanding to his comment that he has

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.

There are many individuals who are neither biologically male nor female; they are intersex. Unlike Mr. Stanton, I have met many intersex individuals and many individuals who are considered a third gender in their societies, including Tongan fakaleiti, Hawaiian mahu, and Native American two-spirit. That Stanton has yet to meet one of these individuals indicates to me that they are not comfortable “outing” themselves to him, that he is seeing people through a culturally-conditioned lens, does not accept that which does not fit his worldview, or that his social circle excludes individuals not fitting the socially prescribed categories.

Social construction of homosexuality
It is important to discuss the problems inherent in applying Western terms and concepts to non-Western cultures. We have a different worldview: the words and concepts we use to describe our physical and social environments are not consistent with the words and concepts others use. Generally speaking, when constructing sexuality Western society is concerned with the genitals. If a sexual pair has the same genitals, they are homosexual. If the genitals differ, they are heterosexual. However, most societies are concerned with the gender individuals perform, not the genitals. As such, there are often no recognized homosexuals in their societies, particularly if they accept gender-transformed marriages.

Our term “homosexual” does not fit the categories used in other societies for people who are same-sex oriented. While same-sex oriented individuals apparently exist in every culture, different societies channel them into different socially approved roles: how they construct “homosexuality” and how they categorize who we label “homosexuals” differs. Some societies prohibit the expression of same-sex attractions. Some societies accept it only if it follows a heterosexual gender model. Some societies view only the penetrated male as “homosexual:” the penetrating male is “heterosexual” because he is acting in a manner consistent with his gender norm. Meanwhile, American society is not accepting of gender transformation but is more accepting of egalitarian homosexuality, presumably because heterosexual relationships are commonly gender non-differentiated.

In Samoa there are no homosexuals; but there are fa’afafine. The fa’afafine are biological males who perform many of the tasks of women. However, unlike the gender category representing women, the fa’afafine do not necessarily dress as women and often perform traditional tasks of both men and women. Thus, the fa’afafine do not fit neatly into the gendered man or woman categories. They are a bridge between the two; they represent a third gender. Esera Tuaolo, a former Super Bowl lineman and author of Alone in the Trenches, explains how his American expression of homosexuality is not acceptable in his native Samoan culture because both he and his partner are masculine. While it is acceptable for a fa’afafine to have a socially recognized man as a lover in Samoa, it is entirely unacceptable for a socially recognized man to have another socially recognized man as a lover. Relationships must follow the heterosexual model.

Other Polynesian and Micronesian societies construct sexuality in a similar fashion. In these societies two biological males or two biological females fall in love, marry with full social recognition and acceptance, live together, raise children together, and are integrated into the kinship system. Martha Ward briefly discusses one such marriage in Pohnpei,2 while Alexandra Brewis discusses them on the island of Butaritari.3 Stanton will likely protest that these marriages include gender transformation, but this is irrelevant: the societies recognize the marriages as fully legitimate.

What’s love got to do with it?
Stanton demonstrates naïve realism, the assumption that every culture has a worldview identical to ours, when he demands that we provide examples of

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.

If other cultures construct sexuality differently than we do, we cannot expect to find exact equivalents to our expressions of marriage, heterosexual or homosexual. However, it is nonetheless possible to provide meaningful examples that fulfill Mr. Stanton’s basic requirements, as mentioned above with the examples from Pohnpei and Butaritari.

Stanton’s objection is that modern same-sex marriages lack strict gender differentiation. This objection is disingenuous because modern heterosexual marriages lack strict gender differentiation. Modern heterosexual marriages have no historical precedent: only in the last 50 years have they become common. Throughout history same-sex marriages mimic opposite-sex ones: that same-sex marriages in America do so once again is not grounds for banning them. If Stanton uses lack of historical precedent for gender undifferentiated marriages as the basis for rejecting same-sex marriages, then he must reject opposite-sex marriages.

Of interest, Stanton shape-shifts the definition of marriage. His report uses definitions from anthropologists that are inclusive of same-sex marriage because the central feature of marriage is the social and economic ties a marriage creates: biological sex does not matter. In the response to my critique he says: “as Christians, we define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. But biological connection is not a requirement.” If biological connection is not a requirement, then he has no issue with same-sex marriages provided one individual changes his or her performed gender. However, in his report he dismisses as legitimate gender transformed same-sex marriages, recognized by their societies as “one man with one woman.” Stanton then demands examples of same-sex marriage using falling in love, raising children, and living together as the important defining criteria for marriage. If these are the defining criteria for marriage, then most heterosexual marriages throughout history do not qualify. As historian Stephanie Coontz indicates, “not until the late eighteenth century, and then only in Western Europe and North America, did the notion of free choice and marriage for love triumph as a cultural ideal.”4 Historically, traditionally, cross-culturally, marriage is a social and economic union that creates social ties: love is irrelevant, in many societies biological sex is irrelevant, and in some societies even whether a groom is alive is irrelevant.

Stanton also demonstrates a strong predisposed bias. I mentioned that George Murdock’s definition of marriage, which Stanton uses in his report, omits the biological sex of the spouses. In response Stanton states that while Murdock does not specify biological sex when discussing marriage, he does so when discussing the family:

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.” 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.

However, Murdock does explicitly qualify his comment with “typically.” Such qualifications are common when modern anthropologists discuss marriage and families because each society constructs them differently and exceptions are inevitable. Furthermore, Murdock uses gendered terms, not terms relating to biological sex.

In addition, Stanton demonstrates ethnocentrism by requiring that marriage be defined on his terms: if a society recognizes same-sex marriages as equal to opposite-sex ones, he dismisses them because they do not match his definition of marriage. However, using his criteria, we must argue that no society in the world has ever had marriage.

We are family
Anthropologists find tremendous variation in how societies form families and households. Anthropologists working in the South Pacific have difficulty keeping track of households because the membership is constantly changing: children in particular frequently change residence. Of interest, one anthropologist reports that nearly 50 percent of children in Lamotrek were adopted.5 Same-sex couples typically adopt and raise children in these societies: there is no evidence of harm to the children or society.

Strangely, Stanton argues that same-sex parenting harms children because studies show that children do better in two-parent homes than in one-parent homes. The argument is a non sequitur: same-sex households are two-parent homes. The studies he uses do not compare two-parent same-sex households to two-parent opposite-sex ones and are therefore irrelevant to the discussion. Stanton’s personal example regarding his wife’s loss of her father when she was young is also a non sequitur. Her grief over the loss of her father is irrelevant to a discussion of two living same-sex parents raising children.

Of interest, Stanton says “Some of these studies indicated father-love was a stronger contributor than mother-love to important positive child well-being outcomes” (emphasis in original). This, of course, implies that children raised by two fathers in a same-sex relationship would fair much better than those raised in a heterosexual family. He argues:

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.

Opposing same-sex marriage does not prevent children from being raised in same-sex households: the 2000 Census reports over 25 percent of same-sex households have children. Focus on the Family’s opposition to same-sex marriage helps prevent these children from receiving the same financial, health, and emotional benefits children in heterosexual households receive: the opposition hurts innocent children. Stanton implicitly asserts that children with no parents, or with abusive parents, are better off than children with two loving same-sex parents, whose lives have been examined in minutia to ensure they will provide a healthy, stable, and loving home for any adopted children. Of tangential interest, but relevant to Stanton’s quote, Coontz references studies that indicate there is a 20 percent reduction in suicides by married women, a significant drop in domestic violence, and fewer murders of women in states with unilateral divorce.6 Apparently, divorce has its benefits.

Focus on the Family appears more concerned with its political agenda than its religious tenets. The organization opposes legislation benefiting children of same-sex parents. The organization wishes to restrict divorce, which has led to lower violence against women. The organization, generalizing from Stanton’s methodology and the recent article that began our conversation, is more concerned about fitting anthropological studies into its predisposed bias than an honest appraisal and reporting of the research. The organization deceives its readers and misrepresents a respected scientific organization: nearly one month later it has not corrected its claim that anthropologists agree with “traditional” marriage: the American Anthropological Association publicly stated the contrary in 2004.

References:
1. My discussion of the Bugis does not derive from the article referenced by Stanton, but from an ethnography by S. G. Davies, Challenging Gender Norms: Five Genders among the Bugis in Indonesia (Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007). [BACK]

2. M. C. Ward, Nest in the Wind: Adventures in Anthropology on a Tropical Island, 2nd ed. (Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2005). [BACK]

3. A. Brewis, Lives on the Line: Women and Ecology on a Pacific Atoll (Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1996). [BACK]

4. S. Coontz, Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage (New York: Penguin, 2005). The quote is from page 7. [BACK]

5. W. H. Alkire, Lamotrek Atoll: Inter-island Socioeconomic Ties (Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1965). [BACK]

6. S. Coontz: 293. [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

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Woozle
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

“Modern heterosexual marriages have no historical precedent: only in the last 50 years have they become common.”

This statement looks like a prime candidate for being taken out of context and held up as revisionist history with a “homosexual agenda”.

Can you elaborate further? Taken at face value, this even contradicts my own understanding, too — but in a positive direction, and I’d like to hear more.

Dr Patrick Chapman
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Woozel, my comment about the lack of historical precedent for modern heterosexual marriages deals with gender differentiation, but also basing marriages on love. You’ll notice the sentences that precede the part you quoted.

“Stanton’s objection is that modern same-sex marriages lack strict gender differentiation. This objection is disingenuous because modern heterosexual marriages lack strict gender differentiation. Modern heterosexual marriages have no historical precedent: only in the last 50 years have they become common.”

I appreciate your concern about them taking things out of context. I always try to construct sentences that don’t permit that – but this one got away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t say much about the morality of people who do intentionally take things like that out of context for their agenda.

Thanks for your feedback and question, and for taking the time to read it.

cooner
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Woozle: I think that’s explained generally in the article by describing our cultural shift away from considering gender roles in defining and accepting a marriage. In most earlier cultures here and elsewhere, the male and the female partners had very specific roles and responsibilities as to which did what (example in the early 20th century: husband goes out and earns a living, wife stays home to take care of the housework and children). As the writer explains, in some cultures it was perfectly acceptable for biological same-sex couples to be involved in a marriage, AS LONG AS one of the partners fulfilled a male gender role and the other fulfilled a female gender role.

In our modern culture, marriage has shifted to a more equal arrangement where the two partners share responsibilities, and gender roles are more variable: the wife can go out and work; the husband can stay home and raise the kids; or both parents can work; etc. Under this system, there does not need to be a particular gender role assignment, which effectively removes the requirement that the partners have to be opposite sexes. (If a man can go out and work to support the family, AND if a man can stay home and raise the kids, then why shouldn’t two men be able to raise a family, as long as between them they fulfill all the responsibilities of raising a family?)

This isn’t, I think, just a twist of rhetoric; it’s a function of how society perceives marriage and gender roles. It’s hard to imagine in the early 1900s, or even in the 1950s when this change was beginning to take place, that two men raising a child could have been accepted by their community or found the support they needed or the ability to share necessary gender roles between them. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, it happens all the time. Society (in a gradual, patchwork sort of way) is accepting and integrating the change; marriage laws just haven’t caught up to the change yet.

Hope this helps.

cooner
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Oops! I didn’t realize Dr. Chapman would be reading and commenting, and so quickly. :)

Dr. Chapman, thank you for taking the time to write this article and engage in this dialog. I really enjoyed reading it, and found it a wonderful summation of many of the issues drifting around. Thanks.

MirrorMan
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Take THAT, Stanton!

Ephilei
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Dr Chapman,

Thanks for addressing my concern about gender vs sex. I think you’ve shown undeniably the case for same-sex marriage cross culturally; is there a cultural precedent for same-gender marriage? I don’t mean gender roles or gender norms as in the modern West, but same gender identity. Ie, two women or two men regardless of sex or two third gender people who both do not identify (or are identified by others) as only women or men.

Jason D
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Not to mention that the notion of woman and men being equal in the relationship is a new idea. Notice how many women refuse to have “love, honor, and obey” as part of their vows and have replaced it with something along the lines of “love, honor, and cherish.”

Steve M.
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Thanks for stating so clearly and succinctly things I was thrashing around in and taking wild amateur stabs at in my correspondence with Chairm in the comments section of the last post on this topic. I learned a lot reading this post.

Steve M.
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

By the way, Dr. Chapman, is your book available for preordering anywhere? I was unable to find it on Amazon.

Martin Lanigan
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Dr. Chapman writes:

“(Focus on the Family)…is more concerned about fitting anthropological studies into its predisposed bias than an honest appraisal and reporting of the research.”

I could not agree more. The misuse of science to fit pre-conceived positions with respect to many SoCon issues is disturbing. Classical small “c” conservatives should be opposed to the corrosive affect that such tactics employed by “social conservatives” have on many social institutions (eg. attacks on the judiciary for being “activist courts”).

Steve M.
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

Finally, I look forward to reading Mr. Stanton’s reply to this article, though the fact that this open discussion is happening here rather than on Citizenlink says a lot in and of itself.

Woozle
April 1st, 2008 | LINK

cooner: your comments did help clarify things for me; I was having difficulty (exacerbated by environmental distractions and a head cold) parsing both what Dr. Chapman said in the original context and his direct answer to my question.

Dr. Chapman: I’m completely with you on your characterization of the morality of those in opposition to gender equity. The more I look at their claims and the way they discuss such issues, the more I must conclude that the basis for their views has very little to with morality or rationality as we understand it.

I also applaud your participation in this dialogue. It may (unfortunately?) be necessary for more scientists to come forward and clarify the scientific findings on various issues, in lay terminology, in order to prevent more and more meritless “alternative” views (as in the attacks on evolution and global warming) from being given equal billing against the very best and most accurate knowledge available.

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Unfortunately Chapman could do better.

“Upon reading Stanton’s response, I am of the opinion he does not comprehend the implications of, or difference between, sex and gender.”

The off-hand belittling aside, (though it is no small thing to note) the choice of distinction is more likely seen as a stretch rather than not understood.

To line this up in a binary table we have something like the following

Sex
| M | F |

I believe the essence of Chapman’s reply is that this is too tight to understand the complex reality? Yet biologically there are two sexes, in the technical sense they are defined in their capacity to reproduce.

The argument that there are intersexed in the biological sense is, itself a misunderstanding. There is no in-between sex though there are people who share aspects of both sexes. There is no third sex.

One does not look at people without an arm, and call them a new race. One does not look at someone with elephantiasis, and declare a new species. Just as what a species can encompass these differences, so does gender and sex. Chapman directly misunderstands that the biological construct of gender/sex is not so rigidly defined that these exceptions disprove the rule.

A person may defy the binary categorization, but not the gender or sex itself. One can be, male, female, both, or neither (neuter). That is true for gender also. Thus there are four possible combinations in a single person.

But neuter, for the same reason as argued above about species, is not observed much anymore. Our understanding gender can be marked in ways much more intrinsic than the presence of organs.

Chapman argues that genders are even more diverse because the social understanding of gender as roles to take in society. Unless, of course, he argues that gays should start cross dressing and consider them a different gender in order to access marriage.

You see, you can’t have your cake and eat it too in this discussion. Either gender and sex mean something (and it appears it did in these cases) or it does not. Either you construct more genders and integrate them, or you don’t. In the case of the proposal to neuter marriage, the answer is you don’t. You specifically neuter marriage, remove its gendered nature entirely, and expect that it covers in a one-size-fits all manner.

Anthropologically, these different genders are translated and understood, not just in a ethnocentric way as Chapman assumes, but also to translate to our understanding of biology. We see these constructs as mixtures and combinations of gender. And that is not limited. Of course each person has a distinct personality, and each subculture and culture. It is good to know them directly to better understand them. It is better to read the Illiad in its original tongue. But that does not keep science from understanding them through the elemental atoms and constructs in the combinations they all share. This isn’t culturally centric, it is technically centric.

Fannie
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

On Lawn,

Your post is an interesting study in semantics and ethnocentrism. For one, it is reasonable to refer to an intersex person as either “both sexes” (as you do), or as a “third sex.” That is, the classification of sex is not an objective absolute. Intersexed people, historically, have been referred to as a “third sex” or as a “hermaphrodite.” We can label it what we will, but which one of us has a monopoly on objective reality?

Which, of course, leads me to this: You have stated your belief about the binary nature of sex as though it is the objective truth. Where you look at sex and see an obvious binary, people with other worldviews and in other cultures look at sex and see it as otherwise. Exhibiting the very same ethnocentrism of Stanton, you go on to state your binary view of sex even though people in other cultures recognize a third sex. And

We all have a worldview, On Lawn. You are just as limited by your cultural assumptions as I am, and as other people are. Anthropology is useful in illuminating these assumptions about the world that we take for granted.

And to be a bit nit-picky here, to maintain respectful dialogue we would do better to save the knee-jerk assignations of sinister “off-hand belittling” motives. Reading through Stanton’s response, I too wondered if he made or acknowledged a distinction between sex and gender. It’s a valid question that does not automatically indicate that an insult was intended.

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Fannie,

This is not an appeal to absolutism. Your comment, “We can label it what we will, but which one of us has a monopoly on objective reality?” is irrelevant.

But the one above it has interest, “Intersexed people, historically, have been referred to as a ‘third sex’ or as a “hermaphrodite.””

Entymologically, hermaphrodite does not mean third sex. It is a reference to, “son of Hermes and Aphrodite, who, in Ovid, was loved by the nymph Salmacis so ardently that she prayed for complete union with him and as a result they were united bodily, combining male and female characteristics.”

That is not a third sex, it is a combination of sexes as mentioned above.

It is also, technically not a third sex. Historically we know that people thought the world was flat. We use that context in understanding (falsely, but that is beside the point) the tale of Christopher Columbus. We now know differently that the world is a sphere, or in other words that construct is adequate to explain everything we see.

You make the continued fallacy that a person is a gender or sex, which is not true. Technically one can look at a person and see gender/sex as an attribute. Thus there is no third gender, no flat earth. Though there are people who are not absolutely male or female, that does not prove the exception to the understanding.

And that is the heart of the matter. Chapman’s sophomoric belittling is itself untutored. The construct of the binary gender is not “ethnocentric” any more than a spherical earth is. They involve different disciplines, and contrary to his supposition the more technical one is perfectly capable of understanding his exceptions.

Steve M.
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

On Lawn writes:
“A person may defy the binary categorization, but not the gender or sex itself. One can be, male, female, both, or neither (neuter). That is true for gender also. Thus there are four possible combinations in a single person.”

In what mathematical system does 4×4=4?

There would be 16 possible different combinations in a single person given the setup you decide.

“You see, you can’t have your cake and eat it too in this discussion. Either gender and sex mean something (and it appears it did in these cases) or it does not.”

Plural much?

Since gender and sex are two things, your second sentence must read “Either gender and sex mean something (and it appears it did in these cases) or *they* do not.” But, of course, those aren’t the only two possibilities. Since one could matter and the other not matter, there are at least four possibilities. And, according to Dr. Chapman, that’s what we see: In some cultures, gender has mattered but sex not, while in contemporary MSM marriage, sex matters, but gender doesn’t, so from there, allowing neither to matter is not really a great leap.

It certainly sounds like there’s enough wedding cake for everyone to have some at the reception and take some home for the kids, too.

Fannie
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

On Lawn wrote,

“[Insert presumptuous explanation as to where the term hermaphrodite came from].”

LOL. “Thanks” for the lesson. (What was that about belittling?…. )

But since I already knew, On Lawn, that a hermaphrodite means “both sexes” that was actually my point. Read closely: Historically, intersexed people have been referred to as either a “third sex” OR as a “hermaphrodite” (both sexed). Yet displaying your ethnocentrism, you go on to state your belief as an absolute: “it is not a third sex.”

But see, here is your “fallacy,” unlike statements like “the Earth is flat,” labeling genders is a more subjective call. We can prove that the Earth is round. How, pray tell, can you prove that an intersex person is either a hermaphrodite or a third sex? An intersex person could plausibly fit into either label/category. THAT is my point, and it is one that you seem to have completely missed.

Moving on, please explain this “fallacy that a person is either a gender or a sex.” Such a statement does not exactly speak for itself. Clearly, we are operating under different worldviews here, and as such, what you take as a fallacy, everyone else in the entire world does not. :-)

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Steve,

You asked, “In what mathematical system does 4×4=4?”

I’m not sure where you get that number. I did say, “four possible combinations” but that could be easier rendered as “four possible outcomes”.

Lets chart this…

| | M | F | N |
| M | M | MF | M |
| F | FM | F | F |
| N | M | F | N |

The three by three square could have nine possibilities (I’m not sure where you got it as a 4×4?). However M+M and M+N are both just “M”. Likewise for Female. Further MF=both, and FM=both. So we have four different outcomes.

This mathematics is simple “combination”, and is seen often when you deal with outcomes of creating combinations such as this.

To jog your memory in statistics, from here you could find out how often (out of nine times) each combination comes up to deliver odds, for instance. But that wouldn’t be practical here since the mechanisms which decide each are not equal probability like a coin toss. You could also say that MF and FM are meaningfully distinguished (which I did not) and find the magic five genders.

Also, I will render, “Either gender and sex mean something (and it appears it did in these cases) or it does not,” more clearly.

Either the distinction between sex and gender means something, or it does not.

Thanks for your input.

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Fannie,

You are upset, and we have a history of you getting upset. But it is easy to resolve this. You said…

“We can prove that the Earth is round. How, pray tell, can you prove that an intersex person is either a hermaphrodite or a third sex? An intersex person could plausibly fit into either label/category. THAT is my point, and it is one that you seem to have completely missed.”

You mentioned yourself that the third gender is a cultural construct from the past. Which is much like the flat earth. I showed how the understanding if gender adequately describes these possibilities without employing a third sex. It is you who are lacking proof of a third sex.

Fitz
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

This conversation on concerning Anthropogy reminded me of the forces aligned against the fight to preserve marriage. …

Ya see, he started on topic in the first five words, but then veered off topic for the remaining hundreds or so.

I would also not that Fitz, Chairm, and On Lawn are all three from the same web site. Interesting that they chose to argue here with multi-hundred word comments rather than post on their own. Interesting too that in their very own sidebar they too have a comments policy in which they plead: “Disputes of fact and of opinion are why we are here. Please try to stay on topic and respect requests to take up topics in more topically appropriate posts.” and “meta-topical comments are restricted to explicitly labeled a meta-topic threads.”

Let’s keep in mind that this is not a meta-topic thread. It is a thread to discuss Dr. Chapman’s response to Mr. Stanton. How about giving these two gentlemen the respect, feedback and criticisms they deserve, and not bring in arguments that neither gentleman has introduced.

Thanks,
Jim Burroway

cooner
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

I almost wonder if On Lawn read the same responses between Mr. Stanton and Dr. Chapman. I didn’t read Dr. Chapman’s response as “off-hand belittling” (certainly no more than Stanton’s was) nor that his argument is fundamentally flawed.

It would seem to be that the very existence of intersexed individuals (whatever we choose to call them) that sex is not at all binary, but rather graduated along a scale. Yes, the majority of people are completely or at least mostly physically pure male or pure female, but there is a range of people with varying amounts of male and/or female characteristics, many of whom cannot, as much as you might like to, be neatly and arbitrarily categorized as ‘male’ or ‘female’ to fit a worldview. Gender, assuming it involves psychological and social attributes, is even more finely graduated.

If the question here is what the anthropological view of marriage is, Dr. Chapman (and others) have reported a wide and varied range across cultures and times, in which (biological) sex and (sociological) gender have played roles with varying importance. Mr. Stanton responded with, essentially, “Ho ho, I’ve never met anyone who’s neither male or female, therefore they don’t exist!” Which firstly is presumptive, assuming that limited anecdotal experience trumps an entire field of in-depth research; and secondly grossly oversimplifies the data to an absurd degree, particularly by ignoring the difference between sex and gender, which is exactly something that anthropologists study as a part of their field!

All things taken, and considering Dr. Chapman chose to only address two main points to respond to Mr. Stanton with, I’d say he did a fine job.

Fannie
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

On Lawn,

It would be appreciated if you stayed on topic and refrained from commenting on me personally. Please try to focus on my arguments rather than my alleged state of mind.

Thanks.

Everything you continue to write demonstrates that you fail to understand the objectivity or the concept of ethnocentrism. You have failed to substantively respond to my argument. Perhaps you were distracted by my tears? ;-)

Here’s another opportunity to respond appropriately and revise your style of argumentation:

But see, here is your “fallacy,” unlike statements like “the Earth is flat,” labeling genders is a more subjective call. We can prove that the Earth is round. How, pray tell, can you prove that an intersex person is either a hermaphrodite or a third sex? An intersex person could plausibly fit into either label/category. THAT is my point, and it is one that you seem to have completely missed.

And again, please explain this “fallacy that a person is either a gender or a sex.” Such a statement does not exactly speak for itself. Clearly, we are operating under different worldviews here, and as such, what you take as a fallacy, everyone else in the entire world does not

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Cooner,

You mentioned, “I didn’t read Dr. Chapman’s response as ‘off-hand belittling’ (certainly no more than Stanton’s was) nor that his argument is fundamentally flawed.”

You obviously have different standards.

You then mentioned, “It would seem to be that the very existence of intersexed individuals (whatever we choose to call them) that sex is not at all binary, but rather graduated along a scale.”

Well, it is in good company then because binary implementations are simply a threshold of such gradients. In other words, that won’t matter as far as calling it binary or not. But it is a good observation.

Later you wrote, “Dr. Chapman (and others) have reported a wide and varied range across cultures and times,” which isn’t in dispute from what I can tell. There are no doubt many varied cultural aspects of marriage.

But then you say, “in which (biological) sex and (sociological) gender have played roles with varying importance”. Well, they have had varying importance but have still been at the core of the understanding of marriage. Also, just to note that either you have a biological distinction or you don’t. If it is purely sociological, then we look at this through the sociological construct of gender and it would appear we find no same-sex marriages still. They merely constructed different genders to mimic (as Chapman puts it) marriage. Chapman only finds same sex marriage by anachronistically applying our notion of biological sex to their gender as he derides Stanton for later. Or as you say, “there is a range of people with varying amounts of male and/or female characteristics, many of whom cannot, as much as you might like to, be neatly and arbitrarily categorized as ‘male’ or ‘female’ to fit a worldview. Gender, assuming it involves psychological and social attributes, is even more finely graduated.”

On those same lines you say, “Mr. Stanton responded with, essentially, ‘Ho ho, I’ve never met anyone who’s neither male or female, therefore they don’t exist!'”. Which is not the case. Mr Stanton’s use of gender is capable of explaining and understanding these constructs. And is no different in application than the marriage neuterist who looks at these ancient situations and “finds” they are really the same sex after all.

This is an artifact of calling the proposed marriage combination “same-sex” when it is probably more accurate to call it “neutered marriage” as a whole. Since not all of the marriages are same-sex inside the institution, and since that does not describe at all the change it undergoes from one step to the next.

But you do concede, “All things taken, and considering Dr. Chapman chose to only address two main points to respond to Mr. Stanton with, I’d say he did a fine job.” Well done indeed!

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Fannie

I don’t think I’m the only one who sees the following hypocrisy:

“[a)] Please try to focus on my arguments rather than my alleged state of mind. […] Everything you continue to write demonstrates that [b)] you fail to understand the objectivity or the concept of ethnocentrism.”

You claim, “You have failed to substantively respond to my argument.” When in reality it did. I’m not sure where your disconnect is, but continuing to hold up what you note as a historical artifact as a valid paradigm to be understood with the current understanding is simply not washing. Not in any re-iteration you are making.

Again you say, “You have failed to substantively respond to my argument.” Actually labeling the earth as flat was very subjective. It was subject to being so close to the earth that it looked flat. Just as your construct of a third gender requires being without the current understanding of biology which sees gender as an attribute, and mixed gender as a mix of associated attributes.

Lets go at this another way, you ask “How, pray tell, can you prove that an intersex person is either a hermaphrodite or a third sex?” What I’ve done is show that the understanding of both sexes is complete enough to understand exceptions where someone is either one or the other. What you have not done is prove any construct above flat earth style historical artifacts that there is indeed a third sex. Where, in any form of biology, has anyone observed three sexes? There are genderless, meaning asexual. Mixtures of asexual and sexual. But where is a third sex at all? Allusions to historical curiosities aside.

As noted above, and you still haven’t dealt with in your arguments, is that lack of attributes or presence of additional attributes does not in and of itself constitute a new species, gender or anything of the like. Losing an arm does not make you a new species or gender. Having three arms does not make you a new species, even if this mutation carries on to subsequent generations.

I understand your point. It was simply refuted even before you presented it.

On Lawn
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Jim,

Interesting that they chose to argue here with multi-hundred word comments rather than post on their own.

Except this one, and this one?

Fannie
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

On Lawn said

“I understand your point. It was simply refuted even before you presented it.”

Now that is magical. No need to even discuss the issue, is there?

LOL.

I’m sorry On Lawn, but it sort of seems like we are operating under fundamentally different worldviews (not to mention vocabularies) that only leads to mutual misunderstanding.

Rather than continuing this futility, I am going to go back to lurking for the time being.

Thanks.

cooner
April 2nd, 2008 | LINK

On Lawn,

When I said “biological sex and sociological gender have played roles with varying importance,” I meant sex and gender have played roles separately, and “varying importance” ranges from much to very little. With that point in mind, we DO either have the biological distinction or not, and likewise with the sociological distinction. As Dr. Chapman explained, in many older societies, sociological gender roles were the prime consideration, while biological sex could go almost any way. In the past fifty years in Western culture, biological sex has become the primary factor. Probably, I would guess, specifically BECAUSE gender roles have been shifting: men don’t have to be the ones to work; women don’t have to stay home and raise the kids; husbands don’t own their wives as property anymore. Realigning the general determinant from gender to sex was the most obvious way to sort things out.

The problem, it seems, is that we’re approaching this from two different world views. (Obviously, I suppose.) In the one you and Stanton are writing from, the fact most forms of marriage have involved opposite-sex (or opposite-gender) relationships seems to indicate that THAT is the one lynchpin that defines “marriage.” From that, then, you seem to extrapolate that society will somehow fall apart if that lynchpin is removed.

From the other side of the fence, we see marriage as a changing institution that evolves to fit the needs of society. In the past few centuries, marriages have been arranged, marriages have united tribes or families or kingdoms, marriages have been used to consolidate land and property holdings, and so on and so on. In the last fifty years or so, marriage has become a lot more about choice: choosing the person you want to spend your life with, because you love them, or because you can get a tax break, or because you got drunk in Vegas and went a little wild. (Not saying those last two are good reasons, but hey, they happen, and they’re considered legal and valid.) At the same time, gender roles have shifted and equalized, so that women can work, men can do housekeeping or raise kids, husbands don’t own wives as property, and so on. Marriage has become an equal partnership, where the two share responsibilities and benefits. Looking at it from this point of view, we see no reason marriage can’t be expanded to include more people, and share the benefits of companionship, security, and so on. (I’m leaving out the “for the children” element here because that’s a whole other debate.) And we fail to see the “threat:” Heterosexuals will stop falling in love and getting married? Suddenly stop having children? Stop caring for them?

I think the very fact that same-sex marriage is being discussed today is a result of these cultural changes. Fifty years ago or a hundred years ago, homosexual couples may have shared a covert fling or a secret affair, but it’s hard to imagine many pairs of hard-workin’ men or homemakin’-women would have tried to build a life together, much less pronounced it publicly with a marriage commitment. The fact is that now, with gender roles equalized so that any couple can share the responsibilities of living together and even of raising children, these couples ARE making lives together, buying homes, raising children, etc. I0t makes sense to them that they should be able to make the same commitment to each other and to society, and share the same benefits as anyone else.

Anyway, if by “neutered marriage,” you mean a marriage in which it is not required by law that the couple procreate, and it’s their choice whether they have kids, conceive kids, or adopt kids, then I’m all for that. I’d just call it ‘equal marriage,’ though. :)

soc 101
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Wow, I feel like I am in an intro class listening to a bunch of students quote things they heard on the radio… what do we call the people who refrain from sex? We need a new gender class for them as well. Oh that’s right they were born that way, I mean its there choice not to date. I mean they are ugly and should pay for a hooker… j/k

Sex and gender- Is the little boy wearing pink on “the office” gay? no his mom dressed him that way, no matter how you “dress” the external issues the internal issues are still the same. Regardless of how it is packaged male is male and female is female. Go read
Gilman or Marx, it’s all a reflection of Social control for $$$$. Yes $$$$$ If a man stays home, he is considered feminine because of a social role regarding inheritance. Men needed money to get the wife, to have kids, to pass down the surplus they made in their life. So if you are making money you are male and if you are nurturing then you are female? Whatever.

From a social statistical side, and I say this with all due respect, statistically there is only male and female, everything is so small that it would be thrown out, due to margin of error. It’s a numbers game. The phenomenon may exist but at such small ratio.

Tasks. Oh man if people are defined by tasks then I am gay one minute and not the next. WE would all be homo-hetero’s. Chapman goes on to state, “Thus, the fa’afafine does not fit neatly into the gendered man or woman categories. They are a bridge between the two; they represent a third gender.” Sounds like a marriage councilors are all third gender, and court mediators, and umpires…oh where does it end…

Cultural relativism vs. ethnocentrism, the classic “intro to cultural anthropology” debate. Has anyone who posted ever actually read nest in the wind…it’s a pretty lame book. Interesting but has little relevance to the issue at hand. The who tribal group idea, of all being adopted has to do with matrilineal societies, sister exchange and survival of a small non-industrial society. The argument is a square peg in a round whole.

As historian Stephanie Coontz indicates, “not until the late eighteenth century, and then only in Western Europe and North America, did the notion of free choice and marriage for love triumph as a cultural ideal.”4 Historically, traditionally, cross-culturally, marriage is a social and economic union that creates social ties: love is irrelevant, in many societies biological sex is irrelevant, and in some societies even whether a groom is alive is irrelevant.- Hello, read Marx. This has to do with the “base” and the super structure” again surplus or $$$ is the issue. The idea only began in these societies because of the Industrial revolution. It would be interesting to see how the tribes from nest in the wind are doing now, after capitalism has been established on the island.
Marx goes on to say that true love is a illusion, and that a society that is single is better for capitalism because it breaks the family unit down to increase spending. For all those non Marxist- he was a conflict theorist who believed we fought for resources. Durkheim a functionalist would counter his argument.

“typically.” English 101- never use absolutes no matter how small the margin, scientific method 101 nothing is absolute… common community college prof…Get in the game…

Are children hurt more from financial loss or emotional loss, now make sure to answer in a non ethnocentric
Capitalist way….

Compare oranges with oranges, if there are two couples, one hetero and one homo with all things equal what is the best for the child. Again intro level argument from an 18 yr. old freshman.

How does Chapman even begin to critic Focus for being political when the majority of what the Gay agenda does is political? So that is where the debate has to occur. He has to be kidding with divorce and violence… It’s like someone saying they are against driving because it causes too many accidents.
and if Focus is deceiving its readers then so is the majority of gay websites and organizations that drastically bloat statistics and write articles that only support their messages. Again English 101 remember your audience. Does anyone know a gay organization that is helping heterosexuals, or writing articles supporting heterosexual unions…..?

anyway fun debate, from your hetero-homo she-man

Jason D
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

“From a social statistical side, and I say this with all due respect, statistically there is only male and female, everything is so small that it would be thrown out, due to margin of error. It’s a numbers game. The phenomenon may exist but at such small ratio.”

That’s nice, but what do we tell those people? “statistically, you don’t exist, so no marriage for you.” Like it or not, our laws have to apply to all people, they have to be fair to all people, regardless of their statistical probability for existence.

“if Focus is deceiving its readers then so is the majority of gay websites and organizations that drastically bloat statistics and write articles that only support their messages.”

Please provide sources.

“Again English 101 remember your audience. Does anyone know a gay organization that is helping heterosexuals, or writing articles supporting heterosexual unions…..?”

If heterosexuals found themselves threatened, you bet your tuckus we would, but since no one is trying to pass amendments to keep heteros out of something, your point is ridiculous.

Gay rights organizations present ourselves as just that: pursuing gay rights, we don’t hide behind vague words or trade on the notion of protecting “family values”(while ignoring most family issues, including gay families) the way FOF et al, do.

Fannie
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

“Soc 101,”

You’ve done a lot of “Sociology 101″ name-dropping, but your comment includes simplistic thinking like:

“How does Chapman even begin to critic Focus for being political when the majority of what the Gay agenda does is political?”

The criticism is not that Focus is being “political,” it is that FOF mis-uses research and spreads untruths about gay people.

When you refer to the “Gay agenda” are you speaking specifically of a group, a person, gay people who are political, or what? In other words you speak of the “Gay agenda” as though it is an entity that exists in and of itself, as though it is creature that walks around and “does” things.

It is true that many gay organizations are “political,” but can you provide examples of these organizations mis-using research? Since you claim that the “majority” of such organizations do so, you should have no problem backing up your claim. :-)

That’s all that really stands out to me in your comment. I don’t know what you were getting at much of the time. For instance, where are you going with this?

“Does anyone know a gay organization that is helping heterosexuals, or writing articles supporting heterosexual unions…..?”

Heterosexuals already, um, have unions. It’s called marriage. Is there a large constituency of heterosexuals unaware of this privilege that are advocating for it?

Ben in oakland
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Of course, the Gay Agenda (TM) is being pursued politcally– and culturally, and politically, and anything else you can think of. Because it is about all of those things.

What the Gay Agenda (TM) is about is enduing this stupid, wasteful prejudice once and for all– you know, the one that says that because we prefer people of our own gender for sex, love, and romance, that we can AND should be treated differently than people who prefer the opposite sex.

But back to politics. Of course it is politically pursued by both sides of the issue, because politics is all about power, and as we learned in the 60’s, the political is personal, the personal is political.

But let’s talk about the Agenda for Heterosexual Hegemony Subjugating Other Legitimate Enquiry– AHHSOLE for short.

Sodomy laws– there’s a political statement central to AHHSOLE.

Don’t Ask don’t Tell– compromising our country’s security, using the law to enforce a prejudice that stands no scrutiny EXCEPT as prejudice.

Anti-marriage laws– you don’t think that passing constitutional amendments which, like the one in virginia, could be used to invalidate wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, thereby denying gay people event the contractrual basis to preserve their fmailies and estates?

honey, this has been nothing but political since the first gay activist over 120 years ago dared to stand up to the establishment and say: ENOUGH!!!

Ben in oakland
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

sorry, left this out.

Anti-marriage laws– you don’t think that passing constitutional amendments which, like the one in virginia, could be used to invalidate wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, thereby denying gay people event the contractrual basis to preserve their families and estates–don’t you think that that is a political attempt to use the coercive power of the state to attack people as a means to gain political advantage?

soc 101
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Jason D-
Here is the point with the stats. it is not saying that people born with a penis and ovaries can not marry. These cases make up such a small percentage that it would be irrational to be included. When conjoined twins are born they are not a new species are they? How about a man with two heads? No, these scenarios are exceptions to science. To comment on the concept of laws for marriage. The law was originally man and woman, so if you truly respect the concept of law then do not change it. Contract of marriage was created using the vocabulary of man and woman. So if you want to stick to laws then create new laws with new definitions, but do not try to reword and re package them. Call it what you want but do not change a definition to fit your standards. Other wise it comes down to relativism and I have just as much right to call myself a lesbian, when I am clearly not.

Source for stats- Any Gay/ Lesbian website stating that the population is 10% Gay/Lesbian.

On your comment about heterosexuals being threaten, this is where you are blind. You do not see that you or the Gay/Lesbian concept of marriage is threatening, my or the heterosexual concept of marriage. You are trying to pass amendments trying to keep heterosexuals out of their definition of marriage. If laws change the definition of marriage then you steal my legal right to be married because it no longer means the same thing. But that is the point of trying to change the meaning right? Its not that you, want something for yourself, but you want to take from someone else. If marriage is not one man one woman like you say, then leave it alone and create something else. Do you see it now? When our democratic system began, Republicans did not try to join the Democratic Party? They create their own party.

Again, Focus has the right to fight for their idea of family just like you have the right to fight for your idea of family. No one is hiding, both sides only accept their versions. What do you mean by most family issues? Explain. Again, a Gay family, I would assume is not within the definition of a family for Focus. I believe it would be considered destructive or against their definition or the original legal definition of the word family and marriage.

Equal rights, does not mean an all inclusive utopia. Oh and we Christians want the rainbow back, but again this was a chance to steal something that belong to another culture, change it from its original meaning and make it your own

Timothy Kincaid
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

I’m not going to refute anything soc 101 says. I’m just going to list my favorite parts:

When conjoined twins are born they are not a new species are they? How about a man with two heads?

The law was originally man and woman, so if you truly respect the concept of law then do not change it.

Source for stats- Any Gay/ Lesbian website stating that the population is 10% Gay/Lesbian.

You are trying to pass amendments trying to keep heterosexuals out of their definition of marriage.

When our democratic system began, Republicans did not try to join the Democratic Party? They create their own party.

Oh and we Christians want the rainbow back, but again this was a chance to steal something that belong to another culture, change it from its original meaning and make it your own

WOW. That’s just astonishing.

soc 101
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Fannie-
Here is what you said, “The criticism is not that Focus is being “political,” it is that FOF mis-uses research and spreads untruths about gay people.
I can not speak on behalf of Focus, but I can say a majority of the stats that I read from Gay sites, omits key arguments to highlight their point. Just because some of the reports they use goes against your belief does not make it a lie or an untruth. When looking at data you cannot focus in on the 5% to counter the 95%.

The gay agenda is a social term like Republican or Californian or heterosexual, Its seems that you have been in the debate long enough to know that it is a category that represents the thinking of a larger groups agenda.
When I said, “Does anyone know a gay organization that is helping heterosexuals, or writing articles supporting heterosexual unions……” The point is that we each are standing behind our own definitions, you are a gasp at focus for not supporting gay family yet no gay organization is trying to support same sex families.
I thought it was great when you said “Heterosexuals already, um, have unions. It’s called marriage.” Sweet so I guess civil unions are the answer we have been looking for…We get ours definition and you get yours. I guess that ends the debate…

soc 101
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

WOW. That’s just astonishing.

thats the whole point, when you see the argument in a different light, its a little harder to rationalize.

Jason D
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

“On your comment about heterosexuals being threaten, this is where you are blind. You do not see that you or the Gay/Lesbian concept of marriage is threatening,”

How on earth is expanding a definition to include other consenting adult pairs threatening?

“my or the heterosexual concept of marriage.”

Not all heterosexuals agree with your concept. Not all feel threatened by change.

“You are trying to pass amendments trying to keep heterosexuals out of their definition of marriage.”

That is patently not true. No major gay rights group is fighting to keep heterosexuals out of marriage. This is a boldfaced lie.

“If laws change the definition of marriage then you steal my legal right to be married because it no longer means the same thing. But that is the point of trying to change the meaning right?”

And there we have the crux of the argument: heterosexual privilege.

A boy on the playground with a red ball feels special. He’s the only one with the red ball. He is special. Until another boy on the playground has a red ball. Then the first boy feels threatend, feels it’s unfair, feels his red ball is diminished because he’s no longer the only one with a red ball!

(ben, you always manage to be right about this, don’tcha?)

They object not because they are being threatened, not because actual physical or legal harm, but because they object to gay equality, they object to loosing the special privileges associated with being in the ruling class, the majority. They fear equality because it takes away the cudgel you have to beat upon others. If we have not people below us on which to elevate ourselves, our whole way of life is threatened!

Can not the two variations on marriage coexist?

If you can create an identical institution for the gays that would embody all of the same attributes, responsibilities, and legal recognition, and would not run into the same problems we experienced with “seperate but equal”, we might be inclined to consider it. However if the institutions were exactly identical, except for the gender of the couples participating, it would beg the question “why would we need two?”

soc 101
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

hey I have a random question, why is it that a heterosexual can come out of the closet and say he is gay but when a homosexual says he is a heterosexual that doesn’t go over to well? If we were all being PC then we would want everyone to be able to do everything right? hmm. I will read your comments above, after class…lol

Fannie
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Soc 101 makes an interesting point:

“The gay agenda is a social term like Republican or Californian or heterosexual, Its seems that you have been in the debate long enough to know that it is a category that represents the thinking of a larger groups agenda.”

So are you saying that the “Gay agenda” represents the monolithic view of all gay people? Please explain. See, I’ve been in this debate long enough to know that when people use the term “gay agenda” it pretty much means whatever the person using it wants it to mean.

Please let me know the platform of the “gay agenda” when you locate it. You know, similar to how the Republican Party has a platform and the Democratic Party has a platform. And, what did you mean by your implication that heterosexuals have an agenda? If so, what is the heterosexual agenda?

As for my point about heterosexuals already having marriage, I am sure that someone as well-versed in the field of sociology as you are is familiar with the concept of heterosexual privilege and how that relates to the fact that gay rights organizations limit their activities to advocating for the rights of an oppressed group.

Timothy Kincaid
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Guys,

Let’s not let Soc 101 hyjack this thread. (yeah, I was guilty of getting sucked in, too)

The debate between Chapman and Stanton is too important to let it ALL of the threads become the same.

Clearly Soc 101 isn’t here to engage in serious discussion… so let’s not allow ourselves to be tempted to respond.

Ben in oakland
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Soc- it always astonishes me when I enter into what I think of as the fundamentalist mindset.

First, you totally missed Timothy’s point, which was sarcasm, not assent. then you say this:

“If laws change the definition of marriage then you steal my legal right to be married because it no longer means the same thing. But that is the point of trying to change the meaning right? Its not that you, want something for yourself, but you want to take from someone else.”

I don’t even know where to begin. I am stealing what? By asking for the same rights, the same responsibilities, that you and enjoy and undertake, to have exactly what you have, nothing more, nothing less, is stealing from you? You lose something?

We demand an end to this prejudice against us that denies us equal treatment before the law, and somehow, YOU end up being the victim?

Ben in oakland
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

I’m sorry, Timothy. i wrote that before i saw your post. I promise. I WIL NOT FEED THE TROLLS.

Ben in oakland
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Thanks, Jason. I meant to say that earlier, but i got so caught up in my posting to soc. i mean, the guy didn’yt even recognize a sarcasm.

Fannie
April 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Ooops. Sorry Tim. :-)

Emproph
April 7th, 2008 | LINK

Oh and we Christians want the rainbow back, but again this was a chance to steal something that belong to another culture, change it from its original meaning and make it your own

That damn rainbow. Will God never stop putting it in the sky to taunt us with His approval of His creation of gays?

David G
November 16th, 2008 | LINK

Well, as you can see, These days…

…Months…Y?

I think not,…BITCH!!

Talk is cheap, ..What’s happening now it TRUE ACTION!!

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