Love and Marriage
New Slants on the Slippery Slope: The Politics of Polygamy and Gay Family
Rights in South Africa and the United States
Judith Stacey & Tey Meadow, Politics & Society, forthcoming
This article investigates the often cited and dismissed, but rarely examined, relationship between legalizing same-sex marriage and polygamy. Employing a comparative historical analysis of U.S. and South African jurisprudence, ideology, and cultural politics, we examine efforts to expand, restrict, and regulate the gender and number of legally recognized conjugal bonds. South African family jurisprudence grants legal recognition to both same-sex marriage and polygyny, while the United States prohibits and resists both. However, social and material conditions make it easier to practice family diversity in the U.S. than in South Africa. Our analysis of the very different histories of polygamy and same-sex marriage in the two societies suggests the centrality of racial politics to marriage regimes, yielding paradoxical narratives about the implications of legal same-sex marriage for the future of polygamy and sexual democracy. If there is a slippery marital slope, we argue, it does not tilt in a singular or expected direction.
Anthropometry of Love: Height and Gender Asymmetries in Interethnic
Michèle Belot & Jan Fidrmuc, Oxford Working Paper, January 2009
Both in the UK and in the US, we observe puzzling gender asymmetries in the propensity to outmarry: Black men are substantially more likely to have white spouses than Black women, but the opposite is true for Chinese: Chinese men are half less likely to be married to a White person than Chinese women. We argue that differences in height distributions, combined with a simple preference for a taller husband, can explain a large proportion of these ethnic-specific gender asymmetries. Blacks are taller than Asians, and we argue that this significantly affects their marriage prospects with whites. We provide empirical support for this hypothesis using data from the Health Survey for England and the Millenium Cohort Study, which contains valuable and unique information on heights of married couples.
New Evidence of Genetic Factors Influencing Sexual Orientation in Men:
Female Fecundity Increase in the Maternal Line
Francesca Iemmola & Andrea Camperio Ciani, Archives of Sexual Behavior, June 2009, Pages 393-399
There is a long-standing debate on the role of genetic factors influencing homosexuality because the presence of these factors contradicts the Darwinian prediction according to which natural selection should progressively eliminate the factors that reduce individual fecundity and fitness. Recently, however, Camperio Ciani, Corna, and Capiluppi (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 271, 2217–2221, 2004), comparing the family trees of homosexuals with heterosexuals, reported a significant increase in fecundity in the females related to the homosexual probands from the maternal line but not in those related from the paternal one. This suggested that genetic factors that are partly linked to the X-chromosome and that influence homosexual orientation in males are not selected against because they increase fecundity in female carriers, thus offering a solution to the Darwinian paradox and an explanation of why natural selection does not progressively eliminate homosexuals. Since then, new data have emerged suggesting not only an increase in maternal fecundity but also larger paternal family sizes for homosexuals. These results are partly conflicting and indicate the need for a replication on a wider sample with a larger geographic distribution. This study examined the family trees of 250 male probands, of which 152 were homosexuals. The results confirmed the study of Camperio Ciani et al. (2004). We observed a significant fecundity increase even in primiparous mothers, which was not evident in the previous study. No evidence of increased paternal fecundity was found; thus, our data confirmed a sexually antagonistic inheritance partly linked to the X-chromosome that promotes fecundity in females and a homosexual sexual orientation in males.
Automatic inattention to attractive alternatives: The evolved psychology of
Jon Maner, David Aaron Rouby & Gian Gonzaga, Evolution and Human Behavior, September 2008, Pages 343-349
There can be important reproductive benefits to maintaining a long-term romantic relationship. As a result, humans may possess evolved psychological mechanisms designed to help them maintain their commitment to a long-term mate, particularly when faced with attractive alternative relationship partners. The current study identifies a relationship maintenance process that involves being inattentive to alternative relationship partners. Experimentally eliciting thoughts and feelings of romantic love — an emotion thought to have evolved for the purpose of relationship maintenance — reduced attention to alternative partners at an early, automatic stage of visual perception. Consistent with evolutionary models of mate selection, this reduction in attention was observed only for opposite sex targets displaying high levels of physical attractiveness. This research illustrates the utility of integrating evolutionary models of mating with theory and method from cognitive science.
(Nod to Kevin L)
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