Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pro-Proposition 8 Star Witness Now Supports Gay Marriage

In an amazing turn of events which must have some of the Christofascist crowd shrieking and spewing spittle, David Blankenhorn, the founder of the Institute for American Values and one of the anti-gay forces star witnesses in the Proposition 8 trial, has come out for marriage equality.  He not only was interviewed on WNPR but also authored an op-ed that appeared in yesterday's edition New York Times. The hate merchants must truly be beside themselves.  Among other things Blankenhorn concedes that opposing same sex marriage has done nothing to strengthen heterosexual marriage and that if indeed the anti-gay forces are truly concerned about children, they should support same sex marriage in order to provide stability and financial security to the children of gays.  Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown must be tearing their hair out as they have convulsions on the floor.  First, these excerpts from the Times op-ed:

I took a stand against gay marriage. But as a marriage advocate, the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do. I’d like to explain why. 

Marriage is how society recognizes and protects this right. Marriage is the planet’s only institution whose core purpose is to unite the biological, social and legal components of parenthood into one lasting bond. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children.  At the level of first principles, gay marriage effaces that gift.

But there are more good things under heaven than these beliefs. For me, the most important is the equal dignity of homosexual love. I don’t believe that opposite-sex and same-sex relationships are the same, but I do believe, with growing numbers of Americans, that the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over. Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness. 

As I look at what our society needs most today, I have no stomach for what we often too glibly call “culture wars.” Especially on this issue, I’m more interested in conciliation than in further fighting. 

A third good thing is respect for an emerging consensus. The population as a whole remains deeply divided, but most of our national elites, as well as most younger Americans, favor gay marriage. This emerging consensus may be wrong on the merits. But surely it matters. 

In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens. And to my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus. To me, a Southerner by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing. I had also hoped that debating gay marriage might help to lead heterosexual America to a broader and more positive recommitment to marriage as an institution. But it hasn’t happened. 

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. .   .   .   .   Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation?  .  .  .  .  Will this strategy work? I don’t know. But I hope to find out. 

In my view, Blankenhorn's shift reflects his understanding that religious belief cannot properly be forced on others.  He also seems to recognize that the war against gay marriage is going to be ultimately lost despite wins in some battles.  If the anti-gay animus continues, Christianity will be the loser (the under 30 crowd is leaving in droves with church opposition to gays being a significant factor) as will countless children who are denied stability and security simply so that self-righteous shrews like Maggie Gallagher and con-men like Tony Perkins can shake down the ignorant and gullible for money.

Here are a few additional excerpts from the NPR piece:

[T]he endless perpetration of a culture war over this is …. enervating … And so nothing has changed in terms of what I said at the trial. And nothing has changed in terms of what I wrote in my book … but, for me, the thing that has changed … is that, I think that, at least for me accepting this reform, accepting gay marriage and focusing on the good things it can do, I think the reasons for doing that, for accepting the change and focusing on the good things it can do … now outweigh the reasons for continuing to oppose it. So that’s the change for me.

And I look at it from the point of view today - we’ve been fighting about gay marriage for 10 or 15 years now? Is there any evidence that fighting gay marriage is contributing to a greater appreciation among  the broad society of the marital institution? Is there any evidence that the re-institutionalization of marriage is happening as the result of opposing gay marriage? … And the best answer I can give to that is no. It is not. If anything, the opposite is happening.
Will other opponents of marriage equality follow Blankenhorn's lead?  Some likely  will, but for others it's all about the money they are raking in or about forcing their own religious beliefs on all of society because their childish house of cards belief system cannot tolerate anything that might make them have to use their intellect and think for themselves.   Having to think for themselves and face the realization that they've been duped perhaps terrifies these sick people the most.

1 comment:

Jack Scott said...

What a refreshing piece of logic. Thanks so much for sharing it.

I have long said that contrary to the crazed cries of the Fundamentalists, it is not gays who have endangered the institution of marriage, it is heterosexual people who have done that with their disdain for marriage as a life long commitment.

Heterosexual people get married at the drop of a hat, knowing, even expecting, that it need not be permanent. The elite Hollywood set often don't even make it through the honeymoon before they are calling their divorce lawyers.

The majority of heterosexual men do not see marriage as a bar to their sleeping around with any woman they can bed.

Nope, in no way is it gays who have given marriage a bad name. They just might be the ones to save the institution and give it new life and new meaning to commitment.

Jack Scott