Thursday, July 30, 2009

Definitions -- broad for family, narrow for marriage

Once again, I am fascinated by the responses of my students to my discussion questions on the topic of family in Introductory Sociology.

The overwhelming majority of students, about 95 out of every 100 who respond to the discussion, when asked what a family is provide a very broad definition that focuses on things like "love," "caring," "supportiveness," and other qualities of relationships. These students explicitly include homosexual couples living together, especially those with children, as qualifying to be included in the concept of "family." Sometimes students even will state, that while they do not approve of homosexual relationships, they are still examples of "family."

When the same students when asked about what constitutes "marriage," about sixty percent of them (in Kentucky), are adamant that a marriage consists of one man and one woman only. They reject homosexual relationships as qualifying for marriage, and they reject polygamy in any form as well.

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