Monday, June 3, 2013

Former opponent David Blankenhorn: why fighting equality is wrong

David Blankenhorn was one of the two "expert witnesses" who testified in favor of Prop8. He subsequently reversed his view and came out against it. From an Op/Ed in the LA Times: 
A very few years ago, most Americans (including me) viewed the idea of gay marriage as both undesirable and wildly improbable. Today, most Americans (including me) believe that permitting gay and lesbian couples to marry is the right thing to do, a matter of simple justice. ...

It may sound trite, but for me the key was the gradual breakthrough of empathy. I found that as friendships develop, empathy becomes at least possible, no longer kept at bay by a wall of fixed belief. Put simply, becoming friends with gay people who were married or wanted to get married led me to realize that I couldn't in good conscience continue to oppose it.

But another reality was also becoming clear. At the same time that gay and lesbian couples and their supporters are struggling for the right to marry, millions of straight couples are abandoning marriage entirely, with tragic consequences for them and their children. Further, this abandonment is occurring among our once heavily married middle and working class.
This class-based marriage divide is not only large, it's constantly getting larger. Scholarship shows that it's contributing significantly to the rise of economic inequality. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it's threatening the American dream.

....: The goal of marriage equality is to make marriage available and achievable for all who seek it — gay and straight, the upscale minority and the non-upscale majority. And the strategy for achieving full marriage equality is a strategy of strange bedfellows: social conservatives and gay rights liberals, a coalition that could put an end forever to the conflict between gay rights and family values.

That coalition is waiting to be born, no matter what the Supreme Court decides.


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