Same-sex controversy

By
March 11, 2004

Mills College Weekly

Mixed reactions followed President Bush’s endorsement of a
constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage last week.

In what seems to be a growing trend, Portland, Ore. and Nyack,
N.Y. joined New Paltz, N.Y. and San Francisco, in issuing marriage
certificates to same-sex couples.

Last week on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger said, “If the people change their minds and they
want to overrule [Prop. 22], that’s fine with me.”

However, the movement also has faced challenges.

New Paltz mayor Jason West was charged with 19 misdemeanors last
week for marrying 25 same-sex couples and the clerk of Sandoval
County, N.M., the first to follow in San Francisco’s footsteps, was
halted by the state attorney general, who put an end to the
same-sex ceremonies and nullified those already performed.

In the midst of the reaction to Bush’s announcement, the
California Supreme court rejected State Attorney General Bill
Lockyer’s request to stop same-sex marriages in San Francisco. Yet,
the Social Security Administration announced that marriage
certificates from San Francisco will not be accepted nationwide as
identification for newlyweds. The change applies to both
heterosexual and homosexual couples who married after Feb. 12.

Bush has said that, “Ages of experience have taught humanity
that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one
another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of
society.”

The executive board of the American Anthropological Association
said in response, “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,” said
the AAA.

Anthropology Professor, Ann Metcalf had a similar response to
Bush’s statement.

“While it does appear that marriage as an institution is
universal, it is also the case that it is enormously varied in its
cultural forms. And, since each variation produced a viable human
culture, I do not see how we can call one form more “natural” than
the others. If George W. Bush ever took a cultural anthropology
class at Yale, I can only conclude that he slept through the
lecture on kinship and the family,” said Metcalf.

However, some are skeptical as to whether the recent statement
from the AAA will have any effect on supporters of a constitutional
amendment.

“From what I know of Middle America, with the war going on and
other problems, they’re more likely to listen to the president that
any educated opinion,” said Jack Lukasewyiz, senior. “People elect
a president to have a moral guide. If anyone was looking for it,
right now is the time.”

While the latest statewide Field Poll, released Feb. 26 reveals
that 50 percent of Californians oppose same-sex marriage and 44
percent support them, voters oppose an amendment to the
Constitution, 54 to 41 percent.

The poll revealed an interesting trend among younger voters. A
notable 58 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 support
same-sex marriage, whereas only 26 percent of voters aged 65 and
older support it.

Many feel that the results represent a growing trend among
younger people to be more accepting to gay rights issues.

“I hope so,” said Lukasewyiz, senior. “My girlfriend and I are
engaged and plan on getting married in five years and our hope is
that it will be legal by then. I think it’s headed in that
direction.

“It wasn’t as publicized of an issue before,” said Allison
Navone, graduate student. “Young people and people in our
generation have had more time to think about this issue.”

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Field Poll
director Mark DiCamillo stated that trends among younger voters
point to “what the future will hold.”


Same-sex controversy was published on March 11, 2004 in News

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