FW: Spam (Message score):[ANTHRO-L] gay marriage
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Subject: Spam (Message score):[ANTHRO-L] gay marriage
From The San Francisco Chronicle
FEBRUARY 27, 2004, FRIDAY, FINAL EDITION
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. A19
HEADLINE: Scientists counter Bush view;
BYLINE: Charles Burress
The primary organization representing American anthropologists
criticized President Bush's proposed constitutional ban on same-sex
marriage Thursday and gave a failing grade to the president's
understanding of human cultures.
"The results of more than a century of anthropological research on
households, kinship relationships and families, across cultures and
through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either
civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an
exclusively heterosexual institution," said the executive board of the
11,000-member American Anthropological Association.
Bush has cast the union between male and female as the only proper form
of marriage, or what he called in his State of the Union address "one of
the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization."
American anthropologists say he's wrong.
"Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast
array of family types, including families built upon same-sex
partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies," the
association's statement said, adding that the executive board "strongly
opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual
The statement was proposed by Dan Segal, a professor of anthropology and
history from Pitzer College in Claremont (Los Angeles County), who
called Bush's conception of the history of marriage "patently false."
"If he were to take even the first semester of anthropology, he would
know that's not true," said Segal, a member of the anthropological
association's Executive Committee.
Ghita Levine, communications director for the association, said the
issue struck a nerve in the profession.
"They feel strongly about it because they are the people who study the
culture through time and across the world," she said. "They are the
people who know what cultures consist of."
Segal pointed to "sanctified same-sex unions in the fourth century in
Christianity" and to the Greeks and Romans applying the concept of
marriage to same-sex couples, not to mention the Native American
berdache tradition in which males married males.
UC Berkeley anthropologist Laura Nader, an expert in anthropology and
the law who played no role in drawing up the association's statement,
called it a "correct assessment."
Nader, who is an association member, said Bush's proposal "serves the
views of the religious right, and that has to do with getting votes."
Human Development Program
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, California 90840
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