David Blankenhorn, a prominent figure in the national movement against same-sex marriage, has released an op-ed in the New York Times reversing his opinion saying, "the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do."
Blankenhorn, the founder and president of the Institute for American Values, wrote an influential book denouncing same-sex marriage called "The Future of Marriage," and he served as an expert witness against the constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8, which limited marriage to heterosexuals.
However, despite his new acceptance of same-sex marriage he still has concerns about its impact on marriage as a whole, but he says that "the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over."
Blankenhorn, who grew up in South Carolina and cites the civil rights movement as his "formative moral experience," never articulated his stance against same-sex marriage with an emphasis on anti-gay animus or a justification grounded in biblical or religious beliefs. He also did not oppose civil unions for gay men and lesbians.
Blankenhorn has no stomach for "culture wars" on this issue and is more interested in conciliation than in fighting.
Instead Blankenhorn previously focused his disapproval of same-sex marriage around the damage it may create for the already troubled institution of marriage in a society that sees increasing levels of "unwed childbearing, nonmarital cohabitation and family fragmentation among heterosexuals."
"I had hoped that the gay marriage debate would be mostly about marriage's relationship to parenthood," said Blankenhorn. "But it hasn't been."
In the spirit of comity and respect for the dignity of homosexual love, Blankenhorn now has a new agenda: Instead of fighting gay marriage, he would like to build new coalitions between same-sex and heterosexual married couples to strengthen the institution of marriage.
He does not know if it will work, but he wants to find out.
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