Public Policy/Advocacy

Statement on Marriage and the Family

Arlington, Virginia--The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association, the world's largest organization of anthropologists, released the following statement on February 26, 2004 in response to President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as a threat to civilization:

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.

The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

Media Coverage:

Scientists counter Bush view Families varied, say anthropologists by Charles Burress, AAA member Laura Nader was quoted, The San Francisco Chronicle, Feb 27, 2004

Gay Marriages Fit into This Adaptable Institution op-ed by Robert Myers, USATODAY, March 14, 2004

An Elastic Institution, op-ed by anthropologists John Borneman and Laurie Kain Hart discussing marriage, Washington Post, April 14, 2004.

Anthropologists Debunk "Traditional Marriage" Claim, by Adrian Brune, features AAA statement, Roger Lancaster and Dan Segal, Washington Blade, April 16, 2004