David Blankenhorn has been among our nation's staunchest and most prominent marriage boosters for years. Now, just days after a major new study is released confirming that tradtional marriage is better for children, he's changed his mind. His reasoning reinforces my growing impression that defenders of marriage will have to shift gears if we hope to succeed in persuading a majority to oppose the legalization of SSM. It won't be enough to prove that traditional marriage is better for kids. If it were, then Blankenhorn would still be on our side. He articulates the gist of that argument as well as anyone.
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.
He still believes all this. And yet, he has come to support SSM. Why? Because he thinks our laws ought to recognize the "equal dignity" of homosexual love.
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.
If we want to defeat the SSM lobby, we will have to take it on on this point. We will have to make the case not only that traditional marriage is better for children, but (even more fundamentally) that the love between two men or two women is not the moral equivalent of conjugal love.
And, to make this case, we will have to look more closely at "the thing itself". We will have to look, I believe, not only at same-sex attraction (as Mike Healy does below), but also at the nature and structure of same-sex acts.