Opponent of Same-Sex Marriage Recants His Position, Fails to Impress Stalwart Bigots

Illustration for article titled Opponent of Same-Sex Marriage Recants His Position, Fails to Impress Stalwart Bigots

On Friday, David Blankenhorn, formerly an outspoken (and completely secular) opponent of same-sex marriage, wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he explained how the homophobia that permeates the opposition to same-sex marriage has forced him to rethink his own views. Though he wrote that his "concerns" about same-sex marriage remain, he also thinks it's high-time that people stopped screening their bigotry behind debates about how sacred marriage is supposed to be.


Blankenhorn explained that he originally opposed gay marriage because "children have the right, insofar as society makes it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world," but because the opposition to same sex marriage seems to have taken an especially vitriolic turn, the only decent thing for America to do treat consenting adults exactly the same, regardless of their sexual orientation. "Whatever one's definition of marriage," wrote Blankenhorn, "legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness."

Predictably, Blankenhorn's former debate partners were upset, and seized the opportunity to voice their extremely erudite objections to same-sex marriage. Said Rev. Jim Garlow, history buff,

I am a student of history. Christianity has made clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. And what we have seen is that when you change marriage for some, you change marriage for all.

Let's not go into how much history Garlow is just ignoring — suffice it to say that neither he nor other like-minded bigots think too highly of Blankenhorn right now. In the wake of Blankenhorn's shift, the same-sex marriage opposition has lost one of its most notable secular allies. According to the Times, Blankenhorn, who wrote an influential book in 2007 called The Future of Marriage and also served as an expert witness against California's challenge to Proposition 8, stood out in the same-sex marriage debate because he didn't invoke biblical or religious justification when making his case. He employed, instead, the ever-popular "society is falling apart!" rallying cry, lamenting the deterioration of the marriage institution and trying to stop society's logically flawed tumble down a slippery slope of same-sex marriage.

Andrew Sullivan, writing for the Daily Beast, praised Blankenhorn's switch on Friday. Peter Sprigg, however, one of Blankenhorn's colleagues at the Family Research Council, made the charming quip that Blankenhorn had "thrown marriage under the bus for the sake of the homosexual movement." Ah, yes, that sinister homosexual movement aimed at providing equal rights for people regardless of what sort of genitals they're most attracted to — dangerous, that. It's a good thing marriage, that last obstacle to total gay domination, is being pummeled by the tires of the homosexual movement's bus.

Gay Marriage Gains Backer as Major Foe Revises View [NY Times]


I've always found the invocation of history to be a very, very poor way to make a point. Let's just ignore all the inherent fallacies in the statement that "marriage is between one man and one woman" and pretend to accept what he is saying is true.

So what?

Historically society has used slave labor, a practice openly condoned by the Bible. Historically woman have been nothing but the property of their fathers until they were more or less sold off to their husbands. Historically the children produced in a marriage were also the property of the father and the mother had no rights to her children beyond what her husband allowed. Historically brutal torture and genocide were not uncommon and, again, condoned by parts of the Bible. Historically people who spoke out against the Church were burned at the stake or drawn and quartered in the town square. Historically gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people were persecuted and murdered. Historically sending children to work in mines was accepted.

But, at various points in our history, mostly in the 19th and 20th centuries, we, as a society, have decided that historical precedent, regardless of what the Bible said, was no justification for the terrible way we have treated basically anyone that was not a heterosexual white male.

Just because something is in our history does not mean we should continue adhering to antiquated practices or beliefs.