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Pro-Prop 8 witness David Blankenhorn now supports marriage equality

Prop 8 Prop 8 trial

By Scottie Thomaston

Edited and updated for clarification

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.”) 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.

Today 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.


  • 1. Lesbians Love Boies  |  June 22, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Wow! It takes guts to become a civilized human being…

  • 2. Bob  |  June 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.

    way to go Mr. Blankenhorn this is the point we all will arrive at

  • 3. Neil  |  June 23, 2012 at 2:54 am

    But he had to get in another dig against same-sex marriage. Maybe he really wants to help but just like the "reasoning" to discriminate against gays, I find his OP contrived.

    Meaning… I still don't trust him.

  • 4. Adam Bink  |  June 22, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Good for him. Next up when pigs fly: Maggie.

  • 5. Eric  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Maggie will never leave her current adulterous relationship and marry the father of her children.

  • 6. Carpool Cookie  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Maybe when her musical-theater-employed son comes out of the closet and want to raise her grandkids? (He did a show called Sodom with one of the Village People!!!)

  • 7. Scott Wooledge  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    The "marriage" God doesn't recognize because her "husband" is Hindu and she's Catholic? That isn't a marriage in God's eyes!

  • 8. Reformed  |  June 22, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Right you are!

    2 Corinthians 6:14 King James Version (KJV) (even 🙂 )

    Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers

  • 9. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    She shouldn't have much problem getting Pope Rat to annul the marriage, then.

  • 10. Reformed  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Views vary of course, but I've heard that there had to be a marriage before there could be adultery. So may the wrong term for her relationship.

    But this little gem came up while checking into it.

    Matthew 5:32 – But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

    (So, the man committs the sin, but the woman becomes the adulteress? What is the woman supposed to do then? Go live with her mother i guess.)

    Reminds me of how the "fall" (thorns on roses, wolves no longer vegan, man has to work, woman have painful child birth) gets used as an excuse for woman having to keep silent in the church. Ya see, she was deceived and "did eat" the appricot. The men do all the talking because Eve he only ate his part in direct disobedience to god.

    But I digress. With Matthew 5:32 on the books i think its a pretty slippery slope to base civil law on the bible. Thousands of year of plodding up the slippery slope need to be protected.

  • 11. John_B_in_DC  |  June 22, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Wow, and I mean WOW. This was the star witness–the STAR WITNESS–against same-sex marriage in the Prop. 8 trial. Heads must be exploding over at NOM right now. I wonder if they will even acknowledge it?

  • 12. Reformed  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    They still have Tam, that has to count for something.

  • 13. Misken  |  June 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Haha, that'll be the day. Didn't they practically disown him or something for being "too extreme"?

  • 14. MightyAcorn  |  June 23, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Tam may be the reason Blankenhorn made those statements about aminus.

    It really is kind of mind- boggling to see a professed believer who engages in sincere self-reflection based on Xtian values….to see one making the news, anyway. I too am tired of the culture wars but that is the current front, so I fight there.

    Whoda thunk that David Blankenhorn, whom we all mocked for being truthful on the stand about his doubts on Prop 8, might be the guy building bridges between persons of faith and the marriage equality movement? Apoarently Maggie doesn't care for Blankenhorn's proposal of peace and harmony though:

  • 15. AnonyGrl  |  June 22, 2012 at 9:07 am

    OK. Let me go pick my jaw up off the ground.

    Good for him indeed!!! Thank you Mr. Blankenhorn.

  • 16. Glen  |  June 22, 2012 at 9:07 am

    This is not uncommon. The more people actually learn about gay people and their struggles for equal treatment, the more they come around to supporting it.

    For some reason you never hear of anyone who was supportive of same-gender marriage equality having an epiphany and becoming opposed to it.

    That should tell ALL of those still wasting their time opposing equal rights for gay people what the ultimate outcome of this battle will be. Hopefully they learn that sooner rather than later and start putting their time, effort, and money to better use.

  • 17. Eric  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Obama was for same-sex marriage in 1996 and de-evolved until quite recently.

  • 18. _BK_  |  June 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Only publicly. Political shenanigans at their finest.

  • 19. Carpool Cookie  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I think it also has to do with being taken seriously in your profession, and employability.

    Blankenhorn looked like an utter, misinformed ASS during his testimony, and it put him on the radar in a really idiotic-looking way. Perhaps some of his changed viewpoint has to do with personal beliefs, but he also must have noted he was being looked at with scorn and disbelief in his sociology circles.

    At any rate, I am grateful for the public redacting of his stance….and I know he'll lead a more peaceful and serene life as he grows closer to his fellow Americans : )</b.

  • 20. Carpool Cookie  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

    What is that icon I just created??? I was trying to embolden a simple smiley face!

    Oh dear.

  • 21. Alan_Eckert  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:56 am

    You forgot to close the brackets.

  • 22. Carpool Cookie  |  June 22, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Must I do EVERYTHING ? ? ?

    I give and I give and I GIVE…..

  • 23. AnonyGrl  |  June 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I think the icon you have created is of a one legged smiley person in a dress. Which is good, because I have often struggled with how to show that very thing.


  • 24. MFargo  |  June 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    (And we love you for it, Carpool Cookie!)

  • 25. DaveP  |  June 23, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    It is obviously a smiley face wearing a bolo tie and a pocket protector.

  • 26. Sam_Handwich  |  June 22, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Wow. Stunning.

  • 27. AnonyGrl  |  June 22, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Interesting read, that article. He still thinks that marriage is important for keeping kids and their biological parents together, but realizes that being ANTI-same sex marriage is not the way to accomplish this.

    I will buy that. I have no objections to encouraging people who have children to marry and stay together and raise those children (where appropropriate, of course). And Mr. Blankenhorn acknowledges that same sex couples can help with the encouragement of opposite sex couples marrying too. Sure! Works for me!

    This article should be bookmarked by everyone and shared with ANYONE who tosses "responsible procreation" around as a threat.

  • 28. Reformed  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Of course, with marriage equality, same gender couples would still be connected to, able, and oligated to care for any biological children that their union produces. Am I wrong? It is highly unlikely that they will produce any, but should they . . . ability and intent isn't really an issue for the anti marriage equality folks.

    How do they say it . . . "Straight couples should be free to engage in a selfish physical relationship with no intent to have children because it is symbolic of a selfless physical realtionship that does produce children". Something like that.

    Awesome about Blankenhorn. I can't wait to go tell them if they don't know yet.

  • 29. Scott Wooledge  |  June 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    It's a state law thing, but most state laws presume children who are produced during the course of the marriage are legally, by default, the children of that union. And in some states, even if it ISN'T your biological child, you may not be able to relinquish your parental responsibilities. Yes, your wife can cheat on you, and legally hold you responsible for raising the child, in some states. (Which is both good and bad policy…)

    I kind of presume same laws will apply to same-sex couples, based on states various ways of dealing with non-biological parenthood within the confines of marriage.

    In some ways marriage equality is also forcing states to update their laws to address many grey areas associated with blended families (like second parent adoptions). Some states don't allow a child to legally have two moms. But our straight friends might want that option too, like a step-mom legally adopting a child who's mom is still alive. If everyone in the affected family is OK with it, what interest does the state have in forbidding it? It's more people assuming responsibility for raising a child, which SHOULD always be a good thing.

  • 30. Jamie  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    In CA, an infertile husband is the father of any child his wife has during their marriage. Even if he's infertile. Even if he had his tubes tied, and his balls yanked out. Even if he was born without any reproductive organs. Still the father.

  • 31. Steve  |  June 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    There is an interesting lawsuit about parental presumption in Iowa at the moment. Some agency refuses to give out birth and death certificates to gay couples although they are clearly required to.

    Anyways, a 1945 case is cited about a soldier returning from WWII who was legally his wife's child father, although there was no chance of him being the biological father.

  • 32. Drpatrick1  |  June 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Just a correction. Marriage does nothing to tie a biological child to his biological parents, his DNA does that. In, I'm quite certain, all states, a DNA test is sufficient to establish paternity, with no marriage license needed. This is also true for most if not all western countries. We no longer have bastard children! (a legal term for children born outside of marriage). Marriage can in some states legally tie children to nonbiological parents, but never to biological parents.

    The nonlegal argument about tying children to their parents has to do with the fact that children born to married parents are much more likely to be raised by both their parents than children born to non married parents. This has nothing to do with legally tying children to parents!

  • 33. Lymis  |  June 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Not a lawyer, but I am fairly confident that the DNA test thing only applies if there is no default legal father.

    In at least some states, if a man and woman are married, then by law, he's the legal father no matter what DNA testing would show. In states where that is the case, the couple cannot sue for child support from the unmarried biological father.

    I could be wrong, and I somehow think it isn't universal in all states.

  • 34. Scott Wooledge  |  June 24, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Your correction: "Marriage does nothing to tie a biological child to his parents, his DNA does that," is incorrect, legally, which is the perspective I was addressing.

    In many, even most states, children are tied legally to the people who were married at the time of birth (or adoption), regardless if there is any DNA involved.

    What good is it to be arguing biological essentialism of DNA is the only standard of what "ties" children to parents, and state laws that say otherwise are somehow invalid? No one wins in that scenario, least of all the gay community.

  • 35. Scott Wooledge  |  June 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    This is the real falsehood of NOM. Of course it's true that children thrive in stable environments which most often means a happy, well-adjusted home of two parents for the duration of their childhood.

    But stopping or banning same sex marriage does nothing to accomplish that goal. Because heterosexual people, for the most part are not divorcing to run off and get gay-married.

    If you look at the core reasons most people divorce, the most common problem is money.

    So, it would be so much more EFFECTIVE for these "family values activists" to work for policies that help families economically: better, more affordable healthcare access, living wages, childcare programs that will alleviate the need for sitters and high day care costs, etc, etc…

    This would help mom and dad spend less time working 3 or 4 jobs to make ends meet and more time at home, bonding with one another, and their kids.

    But they don't really care about using actual science to identify the stresses that real families are under. They like their made up boogeymen: it's the fault of the gays!

  • 36. MightyAcorn  |  June 23, 2012 at 8:47 am

    And I'll just chime in to say that even though I'm straight I would totally gay-marry Therese Stewart if she weren't already married and I didn't love my husband anymore and both our spouses were abducted by aliens or something. Because I LOVE HER.

  • 37. Lesbians Love Boies  |  June 22, 2012 at 9:42 am

    It really is sad that the world cannot see the actual trial tapes of David on the witness stand… I think that was the beginning of his becoming aware.

  • 38. Alan_Eckert  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Or to see David Boies say "Good God, man!" in reaction to his statements.

  • 39. Str8Grandmother  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Son of a B*tch!!! YEAH!!!
    I watched the full debate that Blankenhorn hosted for Corvino and Gallagher and I had an inkling watching that that he had changed. He seemed embarrassed by the debate.


  • 40. Manuel Nelson  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:11 am

    While I applaud Blankenhorn's new position, it also turns my stomach that this guy after seeing the opposition side losing jumps ship and as his last statement: "Blankenhorn says he wants to move forward and work together to build coalitions with gays and straights alike, to strengthen marriage" tells me he is just following the money trail! Blankenhorn and the like should get out of paid advocate positions, sell real estate ( I do) and advocate as most of us, unpaid from the sidelines.__

  • 41. karen in kalifornia  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

    " don’t believe that opposite-sex and same-sex relationships are the same"

    Pretty much says it all. Not impressed. He still doesn't get it. His damage has already been done and will play forward too. This quote won't help.

  • 42. Steve  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:22 am

    It's a typical religious position. Religion enables cognitive dissonance like nothing else: the ability to hold to contradictory concepts in your head at once. He has come around on the practical side, but his religion still tells him that gay relationships are worse, so that it what he has to believe.

  • 43. Eric  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:41 am

    He has a valid point, same and opposite sex relationships are not the same. Same-sex couples don't have irresponsible procreation and kids they can't afford nor want. And data from the Netherlands and Massachusetts shows that same-sex couples have lower divorce rates. Using the NOM backed Ruth Institute's data on ten years of same-sex marriage in the Netherlands, the divorce rate for male same-sex couples is 50x lower than the divorce rate of opposite-sex couples, female same-sex couples also had lower divorce rates than opposite-sex couples, but not as low as male same-sex couples.

  • 44. Carpool Cookie  |  June 22, 2012 at 11:02 am

    What I've always secretly thought was striking about many opposite-sex relationships is the ammount of basic disagreement that comes with the teritory of being female v. male. (The whole "Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus" business.) It seems a lot of straight people spend time COMPLAINING about their opposite sex partner's basic, genetic mindset and behavior, and sounds like a constant source of subtle conflict.

    This is a generalization, but at least a same sex couple starts off on a shared wavelength merely because they are the same gender, and share a cultural upbringing, and some biological urges and traits. There are usually similarities that can be built on, while opposite sex couples have to learn to occomodate each other.

    Like I said, this is a generality….but also, I believe, often an interesting aspect.

  • 45. Straight Dave  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Very good point, Cookie. I agree with that. Coming from the "opposite" side of the fence I can confirm it has taken decades (Gack!) to come to grips with those differences and learn to live with them without being mortally offended at their existance. Nobody teaches you this stuff. "Men are from Mars…" should be required high school reading for everyone — except gay kids, for whom it is pointless 😉

    Have a nice weekend, everyone, and don't take me too seriously.

  • 46. Carpool Cookie  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    "Have a nice weekend, everyone, and don't take me too seriously."

    Yes, you have a nice weekend, too! : )

  • 47. Scott Wooledge  |  June 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I have to wonder if the low male-male numbers reflect that adultery isn't as big a deal for so many male-male couples.

    Typical exchange: "OMG! You cheated on me?!

    How was he?!"

    Doesn't happen in hetero relationships.

  • 48. Jamie  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    About 75% of opposite sex marriages will be affected by one or both partners having extramarital affairs. This has been pretty constant for decades. They just won't admit that it's an issue.

  • 49. MFargo  |  June 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I can't speak for every same sex couple, Scott, but, trust me, in my household, "How was he!?" wouldn't be the response.

  • 50. Michael in Portland  |  June 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Same here. That would be grounds for divorce. No kidding

  • 51. Lymis  |  June 23, 2012 at 4:04 am

    I think you are misrepresenting a fundamental point. There is a significant difference between non-monogamy and infidelity. "Cheating" is breaking the agreements that the couple has made between themselves.

    I'll agree that it's more common in gay male relationships for the couple to choose to make agreements that don't involve strict monogamy than it seems to be for straight couples. And if one of the partners follows the rules they've agreed on, then, yes, "how was he" could easily be part of the discussion, as could, "Lets have him over again!"

    But I guarantee you, cheating is as big a deal in gay couples as it is in straight couples. If one partner breaks the rules that were agreed on, that can be extremely big, especially precisely because discussing it in advance and setting rules about it is a potential option.

  • 52. Str8Grandmother  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Eric, by any chance would it be to much trouble to find a link to that low divorce rate Netherlands data? Thx

  • 53. Eric  |  June 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Here's the link to the raw data:

  • 54. Lymis  |  June 23, 2012 at 4:17 am

    I don't think you can use the data in the Netherlands and Massachusetts that way, at least not yet, and not without doing some careful slicing.

    Remember that while marriage is relatively new in those areas, the relationships that they represent aren't. In the early years that same-sex marriage is available, it's going to include a huge percentage of established couples who have already weathered life's ups and downs together and established bonds that most straight newlyweds can't imagine – because they won't form those bonds until years into their own marriages.

    To make a meaningful claim, you'd have to compare the divorce rates of same-sex couples who have only known each other as long and been in relationships as long as the comparable straight group.

    You can't even compare the divorce rates of gay couples who have been together for 50 years with those of straight people who have been together for 50 years, because of the different societal stresses on those relationships, including for the gay couple, having to hide that they even HAD a relationship for much of their lives together.

    I think it's very safe to say that there's no indication that same-sex couples take marriage less seriously or divorce at a higher rate, but I don't think it's safe to imply that same-sex couples form more stable bonds. People who form bonds that aren't supported by law and survive in them against all the odds that society threw against them and are finally allowed to marry are certainly going to have more stable bonds than a young couple who are marrying hoping to form those bonds. And people who grew up not considering marriage an option aren't as likely to marry if they don't feel they already have those kinds of stable bonds than someone who takes marriage as a given.

    Time will tell. That sort of "early adopter" bias is going to settle out pretty rapidly. Then we'll be able to see how things stack up.

  • 55. MFargo  |  June 23, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I think the presumption that gay men are more or less inclined to form stable long-lasting monogamous relationships is skewed. Without societal support for a couple, gay or straight, you're going to have more problems forming a stable relationship. I would hazard that heterosexual men have as wide a display of unreliable to reliable "marriage material" as do homorsexual men. But any marriage that doesn't have the support of family, friends, religious institutions is going to have more stressors. That's not rocket science. There's a report in "The New Yorker" about the rape/murder of lesbians in Africa. Try to form a "stable" relationship in a climate like that.

  • 56. Str8Grandmother  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:20 am

    We can nit pick and say that he didn't say it the way we would have liked but son of a gun he came out for it and that is what matters.

    Send Blankenhorn a THANK YOU. I called and got his e-mail address. [email protected]

  • 57. Carpool Cookie  |  June 22, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Yes. I give him a big THANK YOU, too.

  • 58. Alan_Eckert  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Well color me tickled rainbow! Should we stop using blankenhorny as an adjective now?

  • 59. Steve  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:35 am

    More of his religious and right-wing bias:
    "No same-sex couple, married or not, can ever under any circumstances combine biological, social and legal parenthood into one bond"

    And he is still wrong about the changes marriage has undergone in the last century:
    "marriage’s steady transformation in both law and custom from a structured institution with clear public purposes to the state’s licensing of private relationships that are privately defined"

    In reality, it's the exact opposite. Especially when you go back further. In the late 19th century, marriage's legal significance was largely confined to family law and interpersonal finances. Since then, the state has used it to distribute financial benefits and manage social programs to an almost ridiculous degree.

  • 60. echamberlain  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I've never understood how those that accept the virgin birth of Christ can't accept that it is possible for lesbians to procreate.

  • 61. Steve  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Never mind that they do a huge disservice to adopted children and their parents. The upheaval of a divorce and remarriage later in life is one thing (though I don't buy into the prevalent opinion that's is *always* a bad thing with huge negative effects either), but if someone is adopted as a baby and has only been with those parents that's not any different from being with one's biological parents.

  • 62. Sagesse  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    A massive disservice. In their ideal world, every child has a 'right' to be raised by his/her biological married parents. Except. For children of divorced parents, single parents, deceased parents, adopted children, children in foster care, that ship has sailed. Their option of living in a 'NOM ideal' family is not available to them. Surely those children have a 'right' to have society support the families those children actually live in?

  • 63. Bob  |  June 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    it is a very good point,,,, in the end it is about the children,,,, everyone concedes to that honoring the children,,,, creating a society that is healthy and safe for all children,,,,, that is the natural order , we are striving for,,,,,

  • 64. Lymis  |  June 23, 2012 at 4:20 am

    "I've never understood how those that accept the virgin birth of Christ can't accept that it is possible for lesbians to procreate."
    Because it's always all about the Dad.

    Since women don't matter, it ticks them off if two women try to "pretend" they are "just as good as" men and "don't need a man."

    And of course, gay men aren't real men anyway, so we don't count.

  • 65. Steve  |  June 23, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Exactly. It's all about their extremely narrow view of gender roles. They demand that everyone fit into tiny boxes and hate on everyone who deviates even the slightest bit.

  • 66. Matt N  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

    So, if Prop8 is heard by SCOTUS, can we get Blankenhorn to recant most of his testimony? How does that work?

  • 67. Alan_Eckert  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:55 am

    The lawyers could add this additional information to support Judge Walker's findings that Blankenhorn is not a credible witness and that all of his testimony in support of Prop 8 should be ignored. Of course, he did such a great job for our side, who wouldn't want his testimony still included?

  • 68. Scott Wooledge  |  June 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Exactly, LOL, which part of Blankenhorn's testimony would we want stricken? The part where he said kids of same-sex couples benefit from marriage equality? Or the part where he said we'd be more American when same-sex marriage is legal? Let it stay.

  • 69. Lymis  |  June 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    There isn't testimony as such at the Supreme Court level. He could submit an amicus brief stating the changes to his testimony, or another group could submit one, including his more recent statements on the matter.
    As others have said, it doesn't seem likely to matter in the specifics of the case.

  • 70. Tyler O.  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I still remember cringing when listening to his "testimony". However, I welcome his change with open arms – even if it is somewhat politcally motivated.

  • 71. echamberlain  |  June 22, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Anyone catch the SBC resolution against equality? It references Perry v. Brown incorrectly, claiming it's about DOMA and that the DOJ is a party to the case.

    If they can't understand case law, what makes them think they understand the bible?

  • 72. Steve  |  June 22, 2012 at 11:31 am

    More ironic is that this comes immediately after they picked their first African American leader. The SBC was founded solely to defend and continue slavery, then heavily supported segregation and it took them until around 1995 to decide that slavery is wrong.

  • 73. AnonyGrl  |  June 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Better still, the guy they put in as their first African American leader was UNAWARE of the roots of the SBC. Errr…. how do you get to be the head of something you don't know anything about??? Who thinks THAT is a good idea????

    Additionally, the SBC apparently does not require any actual theological schooling for their pastors… so this guy may not have ever had to learn any formal theology or history or anything to become ordained. Which is, in and of itself, a bit scary.

  • 74. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    There are some Protestant denominations that don't require ministers to be ordained in order to be ministers. However, to be considered ordained, almost all require seminary and/or theological school training, and in religious studies (specifically in Xian studies).

  • 75. Glen  |  June 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was a calculated move to mitigate the announcement by President Obama in support of marriage equality, so as to shore up African American opposition to same-gender marriage equality.

    They themselves have admitted how very effective the anti-gay bigotry has been for their coffers and to get people to the polls to vote against not only that but for their political candidates. That more than anything they desperately want to keep alive. So it's important to them to not lose the African American opposition to gay people and their equal rights.

    Even though the SBC is not known for being very racially inclusive, they likely do hope that electing an African American leader will stoke the fires of African American anti-gay bigotry and continued losses for gay rights at the polls. This would explain why after elected he immediately expressed his opposition to same-gender marriage.

  • 76. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    If I recall the history correctly, in the SBC, they elect a (I believe they call him/her) moderator, and a 'vice-moderator' (aka Vice-President, assistant, etc.). The moderator serves a one year term, and the 'vice-moderator' takes over when 'elected' at the annual convention. At that same 'election', the SBC then 'elects' a new 'vice-moderator'.

    And the cycle repeats.

  • 77. Straight Dave  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I'm not so sure they do think they understand the bible.
    And it probably doesn't matter to them whether they understand it.
    And it probably doesn't matter to them whether they even read it.
    The only thing that matters is that they can get away with using it to beat up people they don't like and then to hide their cowardly asses behind.

    And, yes, I'm in a very good mood today. How nice of you to ask. Actually, I really am. It's Friday, the weather is nice, I get to spend the weekend with my family, and Lowe's just called – my deck lumber has come in.

  • 78. Scott Wooledge  |  June 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Blankenhorn was always known as the "kinder, gentler" homophobe.

    He was a disaster on the stand for Prop 8 proponents. Olsen and Boies made mincemeat of him and he became OUR star witness. Likely because he has always had misgivings about the position he initially took in this fight, and clung to it for too long to save face.

    But, like a lot of people, the longer he sat with the topic, the more he has evolved and came to see reasoning. Apparently he has a brain and is capable of critical thinking, not blind faith and ideology. Which is what distinguishes him from his former friends at NOM, who will now doubtlessly ignore him (even though they used to tout him as a family "expert") or they will now actively work to tear him down.

  • 79. Str8Grandmother  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    That is what I think. And I think what finished him off was the Gallagher/Corvino Book and then debate. I just don't think he could look Corvino in the eye and deny him his humanity. I think that was probably the last straw.

  • 80. Sagesse  |  June 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Do you know if that debate is online anywhere? It was webcast live, but I missed it.

  • 81. Str8Grandmother  |  June 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Sure here is the link to the debate.
    Blankenhorn & Gallagher & Corvin
    The sound is a little messed up in the beginning and then once in a while throughout but hang in there. Notice Blankenhorn I don't think his heart was in this debate.

  • 82. Sagesse  |  June 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks. Still picking my jaw up off the floor. You said "I just don't think he [Blankenhorn] could look Corvino in the eye and deny him his humanity." Maggie certainly feels no such constraints. I couldn't believe some of the things she said 'to his face'.

    I've reposted the link above in QuickHits.

  • 83. Bob  |  June 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    thanks so much for that link,,,,, great discussion,,,,,

  • 84. Bob  |  June 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I see a crack of light dawning in Maggie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 85. Str8Grandmother  |  June 23, 2012 at 4:09 am

    I am not so sure about Maggie Bob. I think she knows she is wrong, because same gender marriages takes nothing away from straight marriagess. I but I don't think Catholic Maggie will change.

    I read as a comment that Blankenhorn is Unitarian. Now see that would make a difference between Maggie and Blankenhorn. Why he can evolve and why she never will.

  • 86. Bob  |  June 23, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Blankenhorn, did a good job orchestrating that discussion,,,, I learned a lot about Maggie,,, she was once an atheist,,, a feminist,,, I think she sees her salvation as being the perfect women according to Catholic teaching,, she says she is doing this from the good of that place,,, not because she hates gays,,, (????dig deeper on that one) this is Maggies form of repentance to her prior life,, all the ways she wasn't perfect,,, her hearts desire is to take it all back to the first creation story,,

    And she wants society to implement rules to prevent other young girls from going astray,,,,, I think they did a pretty good job of showing her that is not possible,,,

    Maggie admits things have changed,,, loved Blankenhorn saying if we look back we will never know what caused the change,,, (divorce, out of wedlock children, etc)

    Maggie agrees that we need to focus on the children,,,

    Maggie has moved away from NOM,,,, she couldn't stomache that activist role,,,,

    by opening herself to express her doubts about her position,,, i..e. women can still fulfill the roles she sees in marriage,, gays won't impact that,,,

    Maggie is expressing her own desires and fears of where she went wrong in life,, and projecting that out on every other women,,,, would love to juxtapose that with other catholic women,,,, the nuns on the bus , pro equality,,,,,,,, Maggie was once on that side,,,,,

    She was brave to do this interview with Blankenhorn,, she knew he was changing his stance during the process,,, and she is left now with digging deeper to the core trusting in the God she esposes,, instead of being HER,,,,,

  • 87. Bob  |  June 23, 2012 at 9:49 am

    the most amazing part of the discuassion was John Corvino,,,, he makes me very proud to be a gay man,,,,,, he is an example for me,,,

    that's the take away here,,,, the truth and the powerful expression of it

  • 88. Rich  |  June 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I spent this morning watching the "debate". It was very civil and Blankenhorn was civil as well. This is what struck me most. The core of the discussion seemed to center around the idea that the issue is more about to what extent do we recognize that gay couples can love, respect and bond in the same ways that straights can absent childbirth. I loved that Blankenhorn asked that Maggie and John, each, put themselves into the mindset of the other at the opening bell. In short, we're I someone just checking in on this issue via a debate, here is what I might surmise: Society has come a long way if only that, here, on this stage we have a straight women and a gay man who genuinely respect each other as human beings and want to argue the acceptability of marriage equality beyond the stereotypes of bigotry and animus. Now, I have read other posts by Maggie so I know she has gone to the dark side in her descriptions of gays and their relationships but I sensed in this exchange that it is possible that, with time, she could come to a point where she can settle for acceptance of gay marriage if the evidence continues to show that children will be okay and that the problems with marriage in general are not exacerbated by gay marriage. I suspect Blakenhorn's most recent reevaluation of the merits of gay marriage have shaken her in ways that this debate revealed that her own position on the merits is softening not so black and white.

  • 89. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Maybe a better question would be which relative (or relatives) just came out to Blankenhorn?

    Maybe just prior to the Prop 8 trial?

    (Remember, most times an extreme point of view takes time to change, even just a few degrees, let alone 180 degrees.)

  • 90. Bob Barnes  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Maggie is going to tear him a new one later, but in the meantime she can only express regret.

  • 91. Mackenzie  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    may her hot mess of a self will re-examine her own stance on the matter. It is always a reality shock when people you hold in high regard reveal something you don't agree with them on. All I can do is smile about it.

  • 92. Steve  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    That's for wider consumption. NOM's reaction on their blog will entirely different

  • 93. Scott Wooledge  |  June 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    They tend to ignore all contrarian voices. I wouldn't be surprised if Maggie and NOM never type the word "Blankenhorn" again.

    They'll probably only attack if they feel they must, because he's getting too much attention, or actively starts working for us (unlikely).

  • 94. Fred  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    He, like so many others, has finally realized that not only is heterosexual marriage unaffected, at least not negatively, by same-sex marriage, but it is unnecessarily harmful to gays and their children. It must have been hard for him to look at same-sex marriage critically and throw off his biases. I commend him.

  • 95. Sagesse  |  June 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm


  • 96. dtwirling  |  June 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Seems like a publicity stunt to me; the NYT article promotes his book. But, hey. More voices calling for tollerance and equality usually puts a checkmark in the Win column.

  • 97. Jon  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    If you're for marriage, you're for it for everyone.

  • 98. MFargo  |  June 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Mr. Blankenhorn probably did more for us with his testimony at the trial than he'll do with his change of heart, but it's welcome news when you hear this from anyone (particularly a past adversary).

  • 99. Rich  |  June 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    The crack that has always been in the wall of resistance to equality just fractured once again. Don't you just feel it? It won't be long and the whole damn wall will collapse under it's own weight of hypocrisy. I have a sense the momentum is building and the rate of acceleration is increasing. It won't be pretty but it's going to happen.

  • 100. Lymis  |  June 23, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Part of it is because, despite NOM's efforts, the conversation is turning. Most people never looked past "but they're perverts" and bought into the "attack on traditional values" idiocy, because it was convenient to do so, and to go along with others who did.

    But now, with more and more openly gay couples, and more and more visible children of those couples, the question "If you don't support marriage for these families, what exactly do you support?" and more telling, "If gay couples don't deserve all of the benefits, privileges and responsibilities of marriage, exactly which ones don't they deserve?" are causing people to actually think about it, and realize that they don't have any answers and never did.

  • 101. Michael  |  June 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    The whole rotten, immoral, evil foundation of the anti-gay agenda is crumbling and shifting. When will it collapse? Don't know, but when it's weakening, it's more dangerous. An example is the Salvation Army person in Australia who just advocated murdering gay people. What anti-gay activists who say these things don't get is that they are just helping us win equality by being so blatantly hateful. God is hardening their hearts.

  • 102. Sagesse  |  June 23, 2012 at 3:55 am

    I keep coming back to this passage:

    "A third good thing is respect for an emerging consensus. The population as a whole remains deeply divided, but most of our national elites, as well as most younger Americans, favor gay marriage. This emerging consensus may be wrong on the merits. But surely it matters. "

    'People' favour gay marriage, Mr. Blankenhorn. All kinds of people you never heard of, not just young people and public figures whose names you find in a Google News search. Using the dog whistle 'elites', he's casting some vague negative shadow over the supposed authors of this consensus… young people and President Obama and George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneris… and Dick Cheney and Ken Mehlman and Scott Grinell… are misguided but a consensus? Everyone (especially Republicans and Brian Brown) know that young people are impressionable and impetuous and excitable and have poor judgment and need to be guided?

    It's the only place in the article where he indulges in standard right wing message framing.

  • 103. bayareajohn  |  June 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Be careful how you equate consensus with correctness.

    When the consensus was that gay was a disease, that blacks were 3/5's human, that women could not think, that the world was flat, that an old shirt would turn into mice in 3 days, it was nonetheless the consensus.

    "Consensus" has earned a vague negative shadow. But it also is the underpinning of legality (aka "votes"), and yes, it matters. I don't see anything here but a man being honest about how he is witnessing society taking a turn without him, and recognition that maybe he's the one who needs to move with it, despite being less than personally convinced.

    I think millions of white AND black parents made that same decision when integration came to their children's schools. Many were unsure this was the best way to correct what most agreed needed correction, but they went with it… and hoped. It mattered.

  • 104. Sagesse  |  June 23, 2012 at 4:27 am

    About marriage… which is 'code' for family. I was raised in a traditional family, Mom, Dad, and two kids, one of each. After 25 years, both of us had moved away from home. For five years, their marriage was about (responsible) procreation, and for 25 years it was about childrearing (although for the last few years we were adults living at home and going to college, so there really wasn't a lot of childrearing going on). My parents' marriage carried on, just the two of them, to this day. My dad actually passed away in 1999, but my mother is 91 and still wears her wedding rings, so let's call them married. So, 25 years of responsible procreation and childrearing, and 40 years of companionship. Through it all, we are still very much a family.

    My brother moved 1,500 miles west, and I moved 1,500 miles east. My brother's is a traditional family, mine not so much. Between us we have three twenty somethings who are in various stages of leaving home…. maybe… someday. Like most grandparents, my parents didn't raise our kids, we did. And we're all a family.

    So where did the idea come from that marriage is about responsible procreation and childrearing? Marriage is about family (and yes you can have a family with no children).

  • 105. bayareajohn  |  June 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Marriage is the magic word, the last bastion, the secret sauce that could make gay "ok", and frightened, ignorant, and religious people think that if we get that too, their world ends. Battered wives believe they are loved by their abusers and won't leave them. I bet people clung to non-floating deck chairs when the Titanic sank. When you think there is nothing else, you form irrational attachment to what you think you have. And make any excuse and tortured logic necessary to convince yourself and others that it's rational. And then block rational discussion as it undermines the lie they base their life view on.

  • 106. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    My father died when I was 2-1/2, my brother was 3-1/2.

    Eight years later, my mother remarried. Five months later, my first step-father died, six months later my (half-)sister was born.

    When I was almost 15 (my brother almost 16), our mother remarried again. I went to college three years later (effectively left home) and my brother left home less than four years later.

    According to the haters, all three of the children should have turned out homosexual. After all, none of us had our 'natural' father when we were growing up.

    Eventually, I determined I was a gay homosexual, my brother and sister determined that they were heterosexual.

  • 107. Kate  |  June 23, 2012 at 6:32 am

    I'm reading Louis's book (Hi Louis!), "A Change of Heart." I especially love the image of Maggie demanding that the air conditioning in the bus be run all the time so she could drink her iced tea in the cool air while everyone else was outside in the sweltering heat "rallying" at their various summer tour stops.

  • 108. AnonyGrl  |  June 23, 2012 at 8:53 am

    LOL! I should probably read that… some of it would probably work well in my "On The Bus" sketches.


  • 109. Gregory in SLC  |  June 24, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Love your bus sketches! 🙂

  • 110. NancyH  |  June 23, 2012 at 8:20 am

    This @$$-hat doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of history. Shame on this guy.

  • 111. Kate  |  June 23, 2012 at 9:20 am

    testing, testing; why is p8tt blocking me?

  • 112. Str8Grandmother  |  June 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Hmmmm Here is an NPR Radio interview on the day he declared his support for same gender civil marriage. I gotta be honest with you I am NOT impressed. I especially don't like how he ends his comments. Maybe others will feel differently. Here is the link.

  • 113. Steve  |  June 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    He seems like even more of a tool.

    The whole premise for his life's work is extremely simplistic and short-sighted. If we could somehow find a way to force fathers to stay with their wives, things would magically be better. That's it! No thought given to the circumstances of their lives or any external factors. But if somehow marriage became more attractive or more legally restrictive maybe, all problems would go away.

    And again you have the problem of some hack setting up a one-man organization with a grandiose name, writing one or two books who is then paraded around as some kind of expert. That happens far too often in the US. And his hubris of thinking that some talks and books could somehow change social trends and make things like he wants them to be.

  • 114. Bob Barnes  |  June 24, 2012 at 7:27 am

    SGM, I catch a hint of heterosupremist from Blankenhorn. In this interview and his NYT op-ed, he has to remind us that HE is right about male-female only marriage but he is willing to concede since the inevitability is going to rule against him. How magnificent of him to concede.

    The biggest wins we have out of this is:

    1) The pro-Pro 8 side loses its star witness, what fun repercussions could happen when reviewed by the SCOTUS?
    2) NOM lost their center-left, secular voice pushing them even further right, make that fringe right.
    3) Blankenhorn has many followers on the marriage front that may follow him over the line.

    The next year should prove to be interesting, I do believe Blankenhorn is following the Obama/Democrat trail on this, let's see who else joins this pact.

  • 115. MightyAcorn  |  June 24, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Wow, has it really been a whole year since New York voted in marriage equality? Time flies! Happy Anniversary, New York….and many more!

  • 116. Serenifly  |  June 24, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Oh, there is another ridiculous part in his op-ed right at the end:

    "For example, once we accept gay marriage, might we also agree that marrying before having children is a vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace? Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation? Can we discuss whether both gays and straight people should think twice before denying children born through artificial reproductive technology the right to know and be known by their biological parents? "

    How about no, no and no? Still clearly an idiot with archaic views. He merely made a business decision.

  • 117. Str8Grandmother  |  June 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Did you listen to his radio interview? And they nicely transcribe the interview also. I did not think he hit a home run in his op-ed but I think he strikes OUT in this radio interview which seems like it was on the same day.

    "Blankenhorn: I didn’t even know the history of the gay rights movement. So they would say things like…they would quote court cases…and I’d say “Can you just tell me what that is?”…because I was just ignorant. I used to get mad when people would come up to me after talks and they would always wanna say — these gay and lesbian advocates– come up to me and show me pictures of their family, saying “I want to tell you that were just like ordinary people. You must think we have horns, but here’s a picture of my daughter.” That really used to bother me, because I felt like saying, “Do you want to see pictures of my children? Do you want me to tell you that I’m a good person?” How am I supposed to respond to this? But now, in retrospect, I can kind of get the point a little bit. It’s the difference between knowing something and really knowing it. … I just don’t think I knew everything about it on the basis of personal relationships … This is the danger for intellectuals in general – they view the issue through the prism of words on a page by prominent people who’ve gotten book contracts … and who are professors at universities… so it’s this kind of crystalline, kind of ideologically coherent argumentation … but you walk out the street, you bump into somebody … you don’t get ideologically coherent argumentation, you just get people trying to make their way through life."

    How arrogant! Who the heck actually refers to themselves as "an intellectual" ? And he admits that he didn't really know any people who are gay and when sexual minorities approached him to educate him he refuses to connect and learn. Instead he thinks, That really used to bother me, because I felt like saying, “Do you want to see pictures of my children? Do you want me to tell you that I’m a good person?” So here is this so called "Intellectual Giant" with no intellectual curiosity at all. Just a complete blanked rejection when approached.

  • 118. bayareajohn  |  June 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I think he nailed the mainstream view of minority issues, and bravely admits that it is smug and isolated even while he clings to the last of it. And that he's had to make an effort to go further to understand something he, by his nature, didn't have to understand, and had previously taken what the culture handed out as shorthand for understanding. He's still far from enlightened, but he's suspecting that might be the case, and has spotted a path to it that he didn't know was there.I call that growth I would wish on the masses.

    This is the same for mainstream "shorthand" for so very many issues and prejudices. Prejudice, in its simplest form, is a value judgement without evidence, usually second hand, usually to avoid details of something far deeper than it seems. There's more detail in real life than anyone can ever attend to; people require Cliff-notes versions of 95% of everything in order to operate. Straight people make ignorant assumptions about gays, whites about blacks, Christians about Muslims, boys about girls, botanists about physicists.

    I didn't see anywhere the so-calling of anyone being an "intellectual giant", that's your hyperbole. His reference to intellectual review vs. emotional epiphany is, I think, honest and positive.

  • 119. Str8Grandmother  |  June 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I took him to see himself as an intellectual giant, first off because he actually refers to himself as "an intellectual" second when he talks about how he testified at the prop 8 Trial. Now obviously I did slap the Giant label on him, but it was simply my impression of what he thinks about himself. I didn't see much humility in either his op-ed nor his radio interview.

    I do agree with you it is my hyperbole. I think we are making different interpretations as I do not see so much an epiphany as a resignation that opposing same gender civil marriage was NOT helping opposite sex marriage. While you see epiphany I see surrender. FWIW I hope you are right and I am wrong, but this is the way I see it so far. I was more willing to give the benefit of the doubt jsut reading his op-ed I am less so after listening to the radio interview. So we will see what the future holds.

  • 120. bayareajohn  |  June 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I'll take surrender. George Wallace had to surrender before he could evolve on race.

  • 121. Steve  |  June 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I don't see anything wrong with his self-characterization there. It's certainly true that people living in ivory towers tend to have a disconnect from the issues they are studying and writing about. Especially when it comes to sociology. It's why many of their ideas can seem so outlandish. You can quibble about the choice of the word "intellectual", but it's immediately obvious what he means.

  • 122. MFargo  |  June 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Off topic: Happy Pride Day here in San Franciso and an article of great optimism in The New Yorker:

  • 123. John_B_in_DC  |  June 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    NOM's supporters are working themselves into a frenzy denouncing Blankenhorn. The comment I submitted, which I'm pretty sure will not be allowed by the moderator as I appear to be blocked from posting there:

    "Blankenhorn never had the stomach for this fight."

    I think Rick is actually correct here. Dr. Blankenhorn never had the stomach to demonize gay people, vilify their relationships, or treat them unequally under the law. He's truly concerned about supporting and strengthening marriage, and finally realized that opposing marriage rights for gay couples doesn't accomplish that goal.

    You people are your own worst enemies, and what you continue to post here is exactly what drove him away from your cause, and continue to drive decent, fair-minded Americans away from it. While I'm frustrated that 99% of the comments I submit here are blocked, I'm happy to see what the moderator allows to be posted here by NOM's supporters because it so amply demonstrates the animus that the opponents of same-sex marriage claim doesn't motivate them.

  • 124. Reformed  |  June 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    This is exactly why he changed his mind. Nothing more than the animus posted in the comments by NOM regulars.

  • 125. Seth from Maryland  |  June 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Really good News: Largest Latino Group Backs Marriage Equality, (La Raza), Just days after LGBT groups joined activist groups of color to protest laws that penalize immigrants and people of color, the country’s largest Latino civil rights organization unanimously passed a resolution in support of marriage equality. Eric Rodriguez, vice president of public policy for the National Council of La Raza, told the Washington Blade that there was very little opposition to the vote, which came just weeks after the NAACP passed a similar measure.

  • 126. Str8Grandmother  |  June 25, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Maggie Gallagher has a new piece out about Blankenhorn
    Maggie Gallagher has a new piece out about Blankenhorn.
    Somebody might want to put this in quick hits

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