Monday, June 25, 2012

David Blankenhorn changes his mind

During the Prop8 trial, one of the two (count 'em) Pro Prop8 witnesses was a man named David Blankenhorn, who exasperated the judge and actually admitted that marriage equality was probably good for the children of gay couples. yes, he was on THEIR side.

Well, Blankenhorn actually has come out in favor of equality. Knock me over with a feather boa. From the NY Times:
Mr. Blankenhorn, who was raised in the South and attended Harvard, had long stood out among opponents of same-sex marriage because he did not invoke a biblical or religious justification and did not oppose civil unions for gay men and lesbians. Instead, he argued that marriage was society’s most important institution and had in recent decades come under attack, and that same-sex marriage was only adding to its decline.

He said that he had long hoped the debate over same-sex marriage would center on parenthood, not private relationships, but that in the public’s mind today the issue was simply about equality for gay men and lesbians — in other words, civil rights.

“And to my deep regret,” he wrote, “much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying antigay animus. To me, a Southerner by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing.”
So, he too has been put off by the anti-gay ferocity, and feels that the anti-equality side has hurt itself with that. Blankenhorn writes,
Instead of fighting gay marriage, I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. For example, once we accept gay marriage, might we also agree that marrying before having children is a vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace? Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation?
Yes, I can go there, at least part of the way. Many of us in the LGBT community who want marriage want it precisely for the same reasons that BLankenhorn values it, in terms of stability and family (even if we may disagree on his extremism). Many of us are as concerned about the sexualization of society as Blankenhorn is.  Maybe this will be a way to start that conversation and find a productive way to move ahead.

1 comment:

Want Some Wood said...

As someone who has long advocated the idea that the best case for gay marriage has to be a case for marriage, I think Blankenhorn's statement is mostly spot-on. I also think that, as a marriage advocate, he came logically to the inevitable corollary, which is that if you're the slightest bit honest with yourself, a case for marriage has to be a case for gay marriage. Reading his Times column makes me even more convinced of this.

Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I think the day is coming, and it may be as soon as five or ten years from now, when we'll all wonder why letting LGBT people who want to get legally married to do so was such a big deal. This strengthens my belief.