Posts Tagged As: Glenn Stanton

Focus’ Glenn T. Stanton Speaks For Anthropologists

BoxTurtleBulletin Contacts Actual Anthropologists Who Surprisingly Are Able To Speak For Themselves

Daniel Gonzales

March 5th, 2008

From Focus’ Citizenlink publication:

Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said there’s a clear consensus among anthropologists.

“A family is a unit that draws from the two types of humanity, male and female,” he said. “Those two parts of humanity join together, create new life and they both cooperate in the legitimization of the child, if you will, and the development of the child.”

Stanton doesn’t give a source for claiming this consensus nor is Stanton an anthropologist himself. Stanton’s bio on Focus’ website only lists a master’s degree in interdisciplinary humanities with an emphasis in philosophy, history and religion from the University of West Florida.

I thought I’d see what an actual anthropologist had to say about the matter. To be specific, Bill Maurer, the anthropology department chair at the University of California, Irvine. I sent Focus’ article to Maurer who penned this response (reprinted in full) with a fellow professor:

Since its beginnings as a scientific discipline in the 19th century, anthropology has documented the historical and cultural variability of marriage and family forms. From ghost marriages to “female husbands” to polyandry, polygamy and cousin marriage, the cultures of the world exhibit incredible diversity in how they manage the universal problems of cultural transmission and the reproduction and care of the next generation. Indeed, Lewis Henry Morgan, one of the field’s forefathers, documented hundreds of distinct kinship arrangements. For over a hundred years, anthropologists have continually surprised themselves and other Western observers with the diversity of family and marriage arrangements deemed sacred, valuable, and morally necessary for the reproduction of society. The American Anthropological Association, the oldest and largest professional organization for anthropologists, affirms this diversity and noted its support for gay marriage in 2004-05. In fact, the Association requires academic recruiters who advertise with its service to state whether they provide benefits to same-sex partners and whether they forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It does this because the scientific evidence is on its side: there is not now, and there never has been, one single definition of marriage. Marriage may be universal; but what counts as marriage is not. The current American political debate is thus quite parochial when seen from the point of view of 10,000 years of human history.

For more information: American Anthropological Association; on the gay marriage debate, see this link.

Bill Maurer
Professor and Chair
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
President, Association for Political and Legal Anthropology

Tom Boellstorff
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
Editor-in-Chief, American Anthropologist, and
Former co-Chair, Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists

See also:
Now An Entire Association of Anthropologists Disagrees With Stanton
Another Real Anthropologist Speaks About Marriage
Focus’ Glenn T. Stanton Speaks For Anthropologists

Unfocused on the Family

Jim Burroway

July 26th, 2006

Glenn Stanton, of Focus on the Family, finally got around to responding to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ report on why same-sex marriage is important to children of gay and lesbian couples. (I reviewed that article here.) Unfortunately, he seems to have missed the entire point of the report:

“This report essentially says that research shows that gay and lesbian parents can be as loving and caring as heterosexual parents,” he said. “That is not the same as saying that children who grow up in homes in two-female or two-male adult homes do as well as kids who live with their mother and father in important outcome measures.”

The AAP is skirting some very important issues, he said. For example, the study claims “there are more similarities than differences in parenting styles and attitudes of gay and non-gay fathers.”

While sexual orientation does not seem to affect whether parents prefer their kids to eat healthy snacks, get plenty of exercise, read books, limit television viewing and be kind to their friends, Stanton said there are other important factors the study tries to play down or simply ignores.

Those who try to work with this line of reasoning miss a very important point, the very point that prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to commission the report in the first place. Gay and lesbian couples are parents. They have always been parents, and they will always be parents. There is simply nothing anybody can do which will ever change that. Like it or not, these children exist, they are growing up, and they will soon become adults themselves. This report is focused on their needs and how best to address them:

This analysis explores the unique and complex challenges that same-gender couples and their children face as a result of public policy that excludes them from civil marriage. In compiling this report it became clear to the contributing committees and section that the depth and breadth of these challenges are largely unknown to the general public and perhaps even to many pediatricians. As such, the AAP Board of Directors approved the broad dissemination of this analysis to assist pediatricians with addressing the complex issues related to same-gender couples and their children.

That’s why they wrote the report: To inform everyone what those challenges are, and why marriage is so important:

In all its work, the AAP is committed to calling attention to the inextricable link between the health and well-being of all children, the support and encouragement of all parents, and the protection of strong family relationships. This analysis was prepared to bring to light the legal, financial, and psychosocial ramifications of recent and proposed public-policy initiatives affecting same-gender parents and their children.

Civil marriage is a legal status that promotes healthy families by conferring a powerful set of rights, benefits, and protections that cannot be obtained by other means. Civil marriage can help foster financial and legal security, psychosocial stability, and an augmented sense of societal acceptance and support. Legal recognition of a spouse can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a nurturing and secure environment for their children. Children who are raised by civilly married parents benefit from the legal status granted to their parents.

You can’t find a stronger endorsement of family values than that.

So, given the very real existence of these children in gay- and lesbian-led families, what exactly would Focus on the Family suggest we do to remove the many roadblocks that these parents face every day so they can provide the best care for their children? We know that Focus on the Family would like gays and lesbians to go away — that’s why they promote and finance ex-gay ministries. Do they have something in mind to make their kids go away too?

What does Focus propose for the children who are already being raised by gays and lesbian couples now and in the future? Don’t these children count? Was Glenn Stanton’s boss really serious when he backed extremely limited domestic partnership benefits in Colorado? James Dobson sure seems to have lost his voice since then. Maybe he took too much heat from fellow conservatives.

Or maybe Focus on the Family can only focus on one kind of family?

Marriage Is for Children

Jim Burroway

July 19th, 2006

Glenn T. Stanton, senior analyst and Director of Global Insight for Cultural and Family Renewal at Focus on the Family, offered some thoughts on same-sex marriage in a book review on Christianity Today’s web site. In his review of The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market and Morals (Robert P. George, Jean Bethke Elshtain, eds.), Mr Stanton discusses one of the chapters:

Don Browning and Elizabeth Marquardt, self-described religious and political liberals, assert that “same-sex marriage is unjust in many ways and that liberals should be cautious about endorsing it.”

Unjust? Yes, by changing the focus from the needs of children and the larger society to the desires of adults. They warn that civil marriage for homosexuals would change marriage from being concerned about raising a community’s next generation to being concerned about close, personal adult relationships.

After which he adds his own thoughts:

We are moving from this natural, universal model to a greater embrace of what I call “disembodied procreation” in same-sex unions, where sperm and egg meet only in a Petri dish and foreplay is a legal contract.

This has become a growing argument among opponents of same-sex marriage, that gays and lesbians who want to marry are elevating their own desires above the needs of children, especially since, on their own, they cannot have children biologically as a gay and lesbian couple.

Yet gays and lesbian couples become parents through many different means; most of them are the result of a previous heterosexual marriage. The American Academy of Pediatrics note that according to the 2000 census:

— Same-gender couples are raising children in at least 96% of all US counties.

— Nearly one quarter of all same-gender couples are raising children.

— Nationwide, 34.3% of lesbian couples are raising children, and 22.3% of gay male couples are raising children (compared with 45.6% of married heterosexual and 43.1% of unmarried heterosexual couples raising children).

— Six percent of same-gender couples are raising children who have been adopted compared with 5.1% of heterosexual married couples and 2.6% of unmarried heterosexual couples.

— Eight percent of same-gender parents are raising children with special health care needs, compared with 8.3% of heterosexual unmarried parents and 5.8% of heterosexual married parents.

— Of same-gender partners raising children, 41.1% have been together for 5 years or longer, whereas 19.9% of heterosexual unmarried couples have stayed together for that duration. …

It is difficult to determine exactly how many children are being raised by a gay or lesbian parent or parents because of many of the same factors that impact the determination of the number of same-gender couples. Estimates range between 1 and 10 million. The majority of these children were born in the context of a heterosexual relationship.

These statistics are instructive. They point out that the impulse to marriage and to raise children is a distinctly selfless impulse. Not only are gay men and lesbians more likely to adopt children who don’t have homes, they are more likely to adopt hard-to-place children than heterosexual couples overall. Gay parents don’t blithely choose to raise children as if they were deciding to take in a homeless puppy — nobody adopts hard-to-place children on a lark. Instead, these couples have demonstrated a selfless willingness to do the hard work and make the commitments necessary to take on the arduous task of raising a child who needs a family. You can bet that these couples are very much “concerned about raising a community’s next generation.”

But what’s more, the impulse to marriage is also a distinctly conservative impulse. Even though these couples are not bound together by a marriage license, they are much more likely to stay together than heterosexual couples who are not bound together by a marriage license. And we know that marriage is a stabilizing influence in a family. Think of how much more stable these gay- and lesbian-led families would be if they were supported by the same civil protections, rights, and responsibilities afforded to and expected of heterosexual couples.

Mr. Stanton’s arguments willfully ignore the simple fact that gays and lesbians have always been parents and they will always be parents. There is nothing in history that says otherwise, nor is there anything in the future that will ever change that reality. And as much as we like to talk about the importance of marriage to gay and lesbian couples, we cannot ignore how vital it is for their children, the vast majority of whom, unlike those of Mr. Stanton’s imagination, were not conceived by the “disembodied procreation” of a petri dish. And because marriage is vital to these children, it is, in the end, a tremendous benefit to society overall — especially the society that our community’s next generation will inhabit.

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