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June 25, 2012

Blankenhorn switches sides, supports marriage equality

This news is a few days old, but is worth noting as the latest sign that we have passed a turning point in the struggle for marriage equality in America. David Blankenhorn, who was the most civil and reasonable of opponents of marriage equality, has changed his mind — partly because so many other opponents disturbed him by their lack of civility.

Blankenhorn explains himself in NYT:

I had hoped that the gay marriage debate would be mostly about marriage’s relationship to parenthood. But it hasn’t been. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say that I and others have made that argument, and that we have largely failed to persuade. 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.... [I]f fighting gay marriage was going to help marriage over all, I think we’d have seen some signs of it by now.

So my intention is to try something new. 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.

Dale Carpenter comments. Andrew Sullivan comments. Blankenhorn's reasons for his earlier position still do not persuade me; but his change, based on how the debate and political battle have played out, is rooted in decency and is most welcome.

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