Thursday, March 6, 2008

One of these people is not an authority on this matter--can you guess which one?

Homophobe working for Focus on the Family:
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."

Actual anthropologists: "What? No, that's crazy."
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. ... In fact, the [American Anthropological] 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.

"I mean, really crazy."
Anthropologists often define marriage as a social, political, or economic contract between two individuals and their families – this does not imply monogamy, as a man with five wives has five separate marriage contracts. In fact, approximately 75 percent of the world's cultures view polygamy as the preferred form of marriage. Furthermore, anthropologists document that cultures on every continent, excluding Antarctica, have accepted and recognized same-sex marriages. For examples, the Azande of Africa used the same rituals and words for same-sex marriages as they did opposite-sex marriages; three percent of all marriages among the Nandi of Kenya were between two women; same-sex marriages were common in Micronesian cultures with the married couple often adopting children and raising them with no ill effects whatsoever.

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

"Seriously, how the fuck did they come up with that?"
Perhaps that is the definition the U.S. government wishes to employ for marriage, but that designation is by no means globally accepted. Even before 2001, marriage forms varied to include not only same-sex unions, but also multi-male or female marriages known as polygamy. In some cultures, it is even possible to marry the deceased!

Those who are against same-sex marriages often claim that allowing gays to marry would redefine marriage. However, stating that marriage is only "natural" between one man and one woman is more than overly-narrow. It's downright erroneous, given that more than 80 percent of all societies favor polygamy over monogamy.

"Were they drunk when they wrote that or something?"
What the study of world history will really tell you, Governor [Romney], is that pretty much any kind of sexual behavior can become institutionalized somewhere, sometime. You know that polygamy remains normal and legal in many nations, as it was among your Mormon forebears in Utah. In Tibet, polyandry has a long history, and modern Chinese law seems powerless to prevent marriages between one women and two or three men. Getting back to same-sex issues, the Sambia of New Guinea have traditionally believed that for an adolescent boy to grow into a man, he absolutely must fellate an adult male and chug the semen down. I'm not making this up; see Gilbert H. Herdt, Guardians of the Flutes (Columbia University Press, 1981). Now you and I would see that as a kind of child abuse, but to the Sambians, it's just common sense. It's been that way for well over 3,000 years of their history. (You might want to ask yourself: does that 3,000 year record make it right?) Some ancient Greek tribes had a similar notion of the necessary reception of semen to make a boy a man, only with them it was an anal-routed process. (See works by Jan Bremmer, for starters, on this practice as an "initiation rite" among various Indo-European peoples.)

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