- Written by Scottie Thomaston
26 Jun 2012
CIVIL RIGHTS - David Blankenhorn, who founded the Institute for American Values, testified in the Prop 8 trial as a witness in favor of Proposition 8. He is the witness who, when cross-examined by attorney David Boies with questions on how marriage equality would harm heterosexual marriage, replied “The safest answer is: I don’t know.”
(Later attorney Charles Cooper, defending Proposition 8, told Judge Walker the same thing: “I don’t know.”) [LINK] He is also the witness who said we would be “more American” on the day marriage equality is legalized.
He evolved a bit further when he came out against North Carolina’s anti-gay Amendment 1 earlier this year.
Friday in an op-ed in the New York Times, Blankenhorn says he now supports marriage equality:
IN my 2007 book, “The Future of Marriage,” and in my 2010 court testimony concerning Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, 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.
He says that he has some reservations about gay relationships, but under the law these relationships should be afforded equal dignity:
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.
Another good thing is comity. Surely we must live together with some degree of mutual acceptance, even if doing so involves compromise. Sticking to one’s position no matter what can be a virtue. But bending the knee a bit, in the name of comity, is not always the same as weakness. 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.
Importantly, and surprisingly – especially coming from a pro-Proposition 8 witness – Blankenhorn admits outright that much of the opposition to gay relationships isn’t based on the things others have suggested: honest disagreement or respect for tradition or religion; rather it’s based on anti-gay animus:
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.
Blankenhorn says he wants to move forward and work together to build coalitions with gays and straights alike to strengthen marriage.
(Scottie Thomaston posts at prop8trialtracker.com where this article first appeared. ) –cw
Tags: Prop 8, same-sex marriage, civil rights, equal rights, gay marriage, David Blankenhorn, gay and lesbian, Judge Walker, California Prop 8
Vol 10 Issue 51
Pub: June 26, 2012