Answering the Claim that the Repeal of DOMA Will Force Military Chaplains to Perform Gay Marriages

In response to claims that the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will force military chaplains to perform gay marriages, a defense official told me today that chaplains are not required to perform marriages which violate the tenets of their religion.
The day DOMA was repealed, David Barton opined to Glenn Beck that military chaplains will now have to perform weddings for gay service members.  Barton said DOMA had protected “the rights of chaplains not to have to perform gay marriage against their will.” He then predicted that chaplains would be under renewed pressure to perform these ceremonies.
However, according to a defense official, nothing has changed because of the repeal of DOMA. The official told me “a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion or personal beliefs.”
Given this stance, it seems quite unlikely that gay people will join the military just to get married, as Barton predicted Monday. A more efficient route for someone who lives in a state which does not recognize gay couples would be to go to a state without a residency requirement (e.g., Massachusetts). In any case for now, DOD is on record as saying chaplains can refuse to perform private ceremonies if those activities violate the tenets of their religion.

Monogamy gene focus of Karolinska Institute

The Karolinska Institute in Sweden continues to make news with genetic and sex research. Now they come forward with a study in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences which finds a link between relationship stability and a gene variant. Here is the KI news release:

Link between gene variant and relationship difficulties
[PRESS RELEASE, 2 September 2008] Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have found a link between a specific gene and the way men bond to their partners. The results, which are presented in the scientific journal PNAS, can lead to a better understanding of such problems as autism and social phobia.
“There are, of course, many reasons why a person might have relationship problems, but this is the first time that a specific gene variant has been associated with how men bond to their partners,” says Hasse Walum, postgraduate student at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
He stresses, however, that the effect of this genetic variation is relatively modest, and it cannot be used to predict with any real accuracy how someone will behave in a future relationship.
Hasse Walum and his colleagues made use of data from The Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden, which includes over 550 twins and their partners or spouses. The gene under study codes for one of the receptors for vasopressin, a hormone found in the brains of most mammals. The team found that men who carry one or two copies of a variant of this gene  allele 334  often behave differently in relationships than men who lack this gene variant.
The incidence of allele 334 was statistically linked to how strong a bond a man felt he had with his partner. Men who had two copies of allele 334 were also twice as likely to have had a marital or relational crisis in the past year than those who lacked the gene variant. There was also a correlation between the mens gene variant and what their respective partners thought about their relationship.
“Women married to men who carry one or two copies of allele 334 were, on average, less satisfied with their relationship than women married to men who didnt carry this allele”, says Hasse Walum.
The same gene has been previously studied in voles, where it has been linked to monogamous behaviour in males.
“The fact that the corresponding gene has proved important for similar behaviour in voles makes our findings even more interesting, and suggests that the thoroughly studied brain mechanisms that we know give rise to strong bonds between individual voles can also be relevant to humans”, Hasse Walum concludes.
The team hopes that greater knowledge of the effect of vasopressin on human relations will one day give science a better understanding of the causes of diseases characterised by problems with social interaction, such as autism.
Hasse Walum, Lars Westberg, Susanne Henningsson, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, David Reiss, Wilmar Igl, Jody M. Ganiban, Erica L. Spotts, Nancy L. Pedersen, Elias Eriksson and Paul Lichtenstein
Genetic variation in the vasopressin receptor 1a gene (AVPR1A) associates with pair-bonding behavior in humans, PNAS Early Edition, 2-5 September 2008.

Ah, the mysteries of human behavior. I think there is probably something to this. Men who look to bonding problems with their parents for the reason they do not feel connected to their mates might better look elsewhere. None of this is destiny but it makes some sense that the mechanisms underlying bonding are variable in their application due to DNA. Furthermore, none of this suggests that monogamy is not valuable or attainable — it just means some must work harder at it.

Mankind Project on marriage: Is this good or bad advice?

Jim Belushi is a funny guy. He apparently is also into “the men’s movement.” He gave an interview to the Mankind Project’s journal (which normally is password protected) you can read via a link on the MKP website. The interview was conducted by MKPer Reid Baer and contains what is portrayed as wit and wisdom about true masculinity in the context of relationship with a woman. The title of Belushi’s book is “Real Men Don’t Apologize” and there are some rules he recommends:
Here are Belushi’s 5 Commandments for his wife:

Thou Shalt Not Shush Me
Thou Shalt Not Steal
Thou Shalt Never Banish Me to the Couch
Thou Shalt Not compete With me
Thou Shalt Not Expect an Apology for Something I am Not sorrieth For

There are many more tributes to the frat guy approach to masculinity. Here is another:

“Women say they want a man who is kind, gentle, compassionate, polite, considerate and nurturing,” Belushi intoned. “Bullshit! They just described a chick! Women really need a man who is mysterious, powerful, passionate, confident, unpredictable and a little dangerous. That’s the guy they will sleep with … the most interesting person in the world to a woman is someone they know nothing about. The stuff they come up with in their own head is a lot more interesting than you. That’s why so many women out there have a crush on Tony Soprano. He cheats on his wife, works in an illegal business and kills people.”

And then more specific to the masculinity work of MKP, Belushi advises:

“I’ve been doing men’s work for a long time because I’ve had to … to survive,” he said. “There’s a lot of healing that we men need because we’ve got some wounds to deal with. Women may want to fix them, but they can’t. We have to use the tribal approach and let the men work with the men.”

So women cannot help men be men. This is a common theme in the MKP stuff I have read. Women are of some other tribe and the coming together is apparently not for companionship or for mutual completion. In fact, I am not sure what (other) role women play for men when I read

“Love without sex is friendship, sex without love is spring break, and if you want companionship, get a dog.”

Ok, let me open it up. Does this look like a respectful, winning approach to heterosexual relationships? This is one of two featured interviews on the MKP page, so they must think this is good stuff. I am wondering what wives think reading this interview — (“Is that what my husband will come home expecting?”). Readers, chime in here…
PS – This is the thought for the day (7/23/08) on the MKP website:

Thought for the Day:
When a man finds his own heart, he outgrows his unreal romanticism about women, as well as the neurotic need to please them.

Call me neurotic but I like to make my wife happy. And besides, I do not know what that even means. To me, it sounds like, when a man gets self-centered, he puts himself first. Is the MKP vision of manhood a guy who finds some great thing to conquer and then puts that mission in first place?