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Blankenhorn: A Brief Summary

Timothy Kincaid

January 12th, 2010

blankenhornIt appears that David Blankenhorn will be the primary witness for the defense of Proposition 8. ProtectMarriage.com’s attorney, Chuck Cooper, has said that Blankenhorn will

  • show that the preponderance of historical and social leaders agree that this the naturally procreation sexual act that is protected, that it’s pro-child
  • show that if gay marriage is legal, it will lead to higher divorce rates and lower rates of marriage

So let’s look to some of Blankenhorn’s previous writings to get a sense of what he believes. I make no pretense that this is a comprehensive review of Blankenhorn’s positions, or that I have insight to his thinking or his testimony, but it can give us a bit of perspective and perhaps an inkling of what he will say.

First, let’s look at his credentials.

In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude in social studies from Harvard, where he was president of Phillips Brooks House, the campus community service center, and the recipient of a John Knox Fellowship. In 1978, he was awarded an M.A. with distinction in comparative social history from the University of Warwick in Coventry, England.

In 1994, Blankenhorn helped to found the National Fatherhood Initiative, serving as that organization’s founding chairman. In 1992, he was appointed by President Bush to serve on the National Commission on America’s Urban Families.

It was through his interest in the fatherhood movement – and his belief that families were best served when the father of the children was active in the family – that he began to advocate for heterosexual only marriage.

So he “spent a year studying the history and anthropology of marriage” before going on the lecture circuit as an expert on the subject. (In contrast, Nancy Cott spent about a decade studying marriage in America before writing her book).

Blankenhorn’s conclusions were rather similar to his starting points: that marriage is contrived primarily to tie parents to their children. In an LA Times op-ed, he stated:

Marriage as a human institution is constantly evolving, and many of its features vary across groups and cultures. But there is one constant. In all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood. Among us humans, the scholars report, marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children.

Blankenhorn is well educated and articulate. We should expect poise and confidence in his testimorny.

It would seem based on his writing and on the statements of Chuck Cooper that Blankenhorn is going to argue that society benefits by privileging and providing benefits for institutions that create a natural parental unit. However, as I see it, he has a number of challenges to hurdle:

1. Blankenhorn is not opposed to recognition of same-sex relationships. In February 2009 he argued in the NY Times, with Jonathan Rauch, for the federal recognition of civil unions provided that religious objection was protected.

It would work like this: Congress would bestow the status of federal civil unions on same-sex marriages and civil unions granted at the state level, thereby conferring upon them most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage.

Unlike many die-hard anti-gay activists, he does not argue that children are endangered by having same-sex parents. Indeed, if so then why would he argue for federal recognition of same-sex relationships? So all he can argue is that there is tremendous importance in the word “marriage” but not necessarily in the structure.

In other words, Blankenhorn does not see a benefit to refusing to recognize same-sex relationships. This leaves him in the position of arguing the distinctions between all the rights, and the name. His only consistent argument must be that same-sex couples should have rights but social disadvantage, a second-class recognition, a lesser status.

This could help establish the claims of Olson and Boies that the supporters of Proposition 8 are primarily seeking to enforce distinct social classes of relationships based on their content, a caste system.

2. Blankenhorn’s insistence that the primary purpose of marriage is to tie a child to its natural parents is not the same thing as the only purpose of marriage. Society has allowed many marriages for which that primary purpose is not applicable, elderly or infertile or intentionally childless couples. Blankenhorn will have to explain how these couples meet the standard of the primary purpose or admit that there are secondary purposes.

Blankenhorn must then argue that the secondary purposes for marriage – those which make marriage appropriate and worth social approval for those childless couples – are present in heterosexual sterile couples but absent in same-sex couples. This will not, I believe, be easy to accomplish.

3. Blankenhorn will also have to explain the exceptions that society and the law have made for heterosexual couples whose marriages do not meet the standard of tying natural parents to their natural children. Why, if a state recognizes divorce, second and third marriages, and adoption, then what is it about same-sex couples that more-greatly separates children from their natural parents?

He may argue that opposite sex couples, even those who are not natural parents, are more successful at raising children than same-sex couples and thus deserve preference and privilege. But, unlike in media campaigns, he’ll have to explain the evidence which does not agree with that assertion.

4. Blankenhorn’s assumptions about marriage ignore history – fairly recent history.

Anyone who has done genealogical research knows that the nuclear family was rare until recently. I’ve traced my family back in this country for four hundred years and, at least in my lineage, a family of full brothers and sisters raised by their natural parents was an exception rather than the rule. Early death was not infrequent and second and third marriages with various step children was a common occurrence.

5. And finally, Blankenhorn’s assumptions about marriage ignore liturgy. Consider the vows made at a wedding. They generally go something like this (from the Anglican Church):

I take you to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part; according to God’s holy law.

In the presence of God I make this vow.

and

I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you,
within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In a Catholic wedding the priest will also ask the couple if they will “accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church”. But this is not the focus of the wedding. And I’ve never been at a protestant wedding in which the participants vowed to have children, to raise children, or even to consider the possibility.

It’s possible to argue that Catholic marriages are solely about children, but that is to argue that the State should establish religion.

I don’t know in what context that Blankenhorn will discuss the marriage rates of foreign nations, something that I think may be a difficult subject for him to tackle. As best I can tell, Blankenhorn is not particularly authoritative about analysis of recent European marriage trends, though I may be mistaken.

He will also tell us what “everyone thinks” about marriage. Except, of course, those who do not.

I’m beginning to wonder if Blankenhorn’s sole purpose for inclusion in the case is to say, “see, even liberals who don’t hate gays oppose gay marriage.” I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Herew’s what I wrote on david blankenhorn– I hope our Bois knows it:

“David Blankenhorn claims Prop. 8 should be supported because marriage is “primarily a license to have children.” and “children have the right to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world.” While we can all agree that children deserve to be loved and cared for, neither reason is true, or relevant to Prop. 8.

Nowhere in the initiative are found the words mother, father, child, family, child support, or, most tellingly: DIVORCE and ADOPTED. And far too many children are abused, molested, or abandoned by biological parents– married or not– who neither want nor are prepared for them.

Even assuming this “birthright” exists, Prop. 8 does nothing to further it. But then, Blankenhorn admits his real bias when he says that “Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits…the children being raised in those homes”. According to the Supreme Court, there are at least 70,000 of them, some biological, some adopted. Do not those children deserve the same protections provided by marriage that are afforded their counterparts in “traditional” families?

Or are only some children and some families important?”

AND

“Editor:

A week ago, you published a column by “liberal Democrat” David Blankenhorn, supporting Prop. 8 “for the children.” According to an article on salon.com, it turns out the Mr. Blankenhorn is president of an organization called The Institute for American Values, which according to IRS records, receives a great deal of money from ultra-conservative organizations promoting a conservative social agenda.

I find it highly unlikely that these organizations would give millions to a professed “liberal Democrat”. Not only were Blankenhorn’s arguments demonstrably incorrect, it appears that he is not who he says he is. True morality does not require deception and misrepresentation. In a recent editorial, the Chronicle took to task the proponents of Prop. 8 for using distortions and fear-mongering in their initial television advertising. Will the Mercury News do likewise? “

CPT_Doom
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Blankenhorn’s insistence that the primary purpose of marriage is to tie a child to its natural parents is not the same thing as the only purpose of marriage.

Ah, but to turn that on its head, the only way to sever, legally, a child from a parent (unless the parent voluntarily gives up his/her rights) is through marriage. Actually, “sever” is the wrong word, what marriage actually does is create a blockade between the child and his/her parents, as well as siblings and the person’s own children.

That is because marriage creates a unique relationship, one that supercedes all others. The spouse becomes your most important relative and your other relatives’ rights to inheritance or to participate in medical decision-making are inferior to the spouse’s.

Thus denying marriage and that unique relationship to LGBT couples leaves us in the position of never being able to create that blockade to our relatives’ rights, even when those relatives are intolerant or not accepting.

Gary
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

It’s in Blankenhorn’s book The Future of Marriage that you can find the laughable misunderstanding of bisexuality that Cooper used in the trial yesterday (loving two people, one of each sex, simultaneously) as a possible consequence of allowing gays to marry.

Blankenhorn makes a large deal about the meaning of marriage being changed (through allowing gays to marry) to marrying whomever you choose, which according to him, it never was the foundational tenet throughout history. He misses the obvious public understanding that this is what marriage already is, though I would add the caveat of “from whom you would likely choose” since even if gay marriage were allowed, I see no reason to expect that straights would suddenly marry members of the same sex and gays to marry members of the opposite sex.

He might make big of cross-cultural investigations (Trobriand Islanders in particular), and law crafted in antiquity such as the Mosaic Code and Code of Hammurabi. Where he sees the ensurance of fatherhood and connecting children to parents, I saw the handling of resources.

He does cite population statistics from foreign countries, which I question his expertise much like you, but he admits that gay marriage is not the source but rather a symptom of what he calls the “deinstitutionalization” of marriage.

A part that bothered me greatly was his accusation of courts, legislatures, and gay marriage proponents refusing to talk about sex being a large component of marriage. In my experience it has been those against gay marriage who often neuter this aspect, comparing gay relationships to that of brothers, sisters, or friends (though I’m not too naive to understand that Blankenhorn means heterosexual sex).

There’s more…I could pull out his book with my notes plastered all over, but that’s off the top of my head.

Ben in Oakland
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

One of things that concerns me in all of this is how hard the issues of children, family, and religion are being pressed. and they MUST be pressed.

What is good ofr the children of heterosexuals must also be good for the children of homosexals.

Gary
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Jonathan Rauch did an excellent critique of Blankenhorn’s book here.

AJD
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

It’s hilarious that he plans to show that legalization of same-sex marriage causes divorce rates to increase, when Massachusetts still has the country’s lowest divorce rate, while many of the states banning same-sex marriage persistently have the highest rates.

Timothy Kincaid
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Gary,

Thanks for the commentary and the link. I’ve not read his book(s) and am not sure that I could get, read, and comment on his marriage book in a timely manner. So your perspective and link are appreciated.

Aaron
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Ben, have you attempted to E-mail these tidbits of info to Bois? Surely he has a website somewhere….

Aaron
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

And very good point AJD!

Ugh… I’m nervous. I hope our guys know all this stuff.

I want so badly for them to succeed.

Much prayer.

Timothy Kincaid
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

To those who are worried… I’m fairly certain that Olson/Boies have had staff for months that have been reviewing every word written by or written about David Blankenhorn and anyone else on the witness list.

We are talking about two of the nation’s top constitutional attorneys each of whom are attached to law firms (especially Olson) with huge staff arguing one of the most important lawsuits of their lives. This lawsuit is a career topper. If they win, this case will be remembered – along with their names – for decades.

There is no way that they haven’t pursued every possible approach and spent anything necessary to win. And considering the profile, you can be certain that their law firms put as much support into the case as could ever be wanted.

This case has raised Gibson, Dunn’s profile tremendously.

Priya Lynn
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Blankenhorn says marriage is primarily a license to have children. Putting aside what a scary thought that is (the government controlling who gets to have children), it is obviously not even remotely true. No one prevents unmarried couples from having children.

Richard W. Fitch
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

To add -Priya- the laws in some states make it nearly impossible for the father of children born out of marriage to have contact with them. When they decide to marry the child’s mother, everyone loses financial benefits that are put in place for low-income single parent families. -Timothy- I’ve said elsewhere that I am sure Olson&Boies have crowded conference rooms nearby teeming with their own staff and most likely LGBT organization reps monitoring every word and action/reaction of these proceedings. The historical impact of this case is beyond fathoming from this point in time.

Regan DuCasse
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Blankenhorn is also forgetting the obvious, nothing is STOPPING or in the way of opposite sex couples having children. If it’s THEIR primary goal, no gay person is prohibiting that.

However, he also is forgetting that neither gender, nor sexual orientation is an indication of qualities TO parent.
He’s assuming that a man or woman ALWAYS and without question CAN or WANTS to care for a child.

And in the state’s interests regarding marriage, the PRIMARIES in it, are the ADULTS first. After the adults are married, the state is done with you whether you have children or not.

And as others here have asked already, what of the children of gay parents?
Regardless of HIS OPINION on same sex parents, it’s their CHILDREN who they are responsible for, not Blankenhorn and his ilk.

So would he rather THOSE children’s status remain uncertain?

BTW, I’ve been running this by my friends who are married, but don’t have children.
I’m one of those people too.

And it’s way past old being spoken of as if we don’t contribute MIGHTILY to the general welfare and children too.
We are taxed heavier, work longer hours and are expected (and do) take up the slack in many areas of life as we know it.

So I really wish the argument would lay off the procreation issue as if gay people (or anyone else) NOT having children is a PROBLEM that needs solving by discriminating against gay people.

Let him have at it, it’s a weak and stupid argument.

Pete H
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Poised and confident, perhaps, but why can I envision the eyes of the learned Judges glazing over during his “testimony”?

Alan
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

I believe Blankenhorn has also said that single men naturally turn to crime unless they’re either married or join a profession like the priesthood.

Hardly the position of a liberal Democrat, even if he does claim to support civil unions.

Ben in Oakland
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Aaron: I emailed everything I have directly to Olson and to Boies. i never heard back from them, so i have no idea.

Timothy and Richard: i hope you are right. But my concern is here: netiher they nor Dennis herrera are gay, and frankly, they don’t really have a horse in this race, however good their intentions. I would rather see Regan or myself testifying

Richard W. Fitch
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

By Olson & Boies being the voice of this case it presents a face of a certain “Enlightened Disinterest”. The transcripts I have seen so far convey the passion of the O&B team to win the decision. Granted, the legal principles are not LGBT, but that is to their advantage – IMHO. The two couples that formally filed the suit should be a sufficient witness to that aspect of the case.

Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Perry v. Schwarzenegger: Proposition 8 on Trial
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

[…] date of the marriage equality issue, with both sides calling and cross-examining expert witnesses. (David Blankenhorn will be appearing for the anti-gay side.) One interesting question is whether or not the trial will […]

fannie
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

I also read and critiqued Blankenhorn’s book a couple of years ago, if others are interested in learning more about his argumentation.

In general, although Blankenhorn intelligently and admirably does not fall into the tendency of ranting about the depravity of homosexuality, his book makes a pretty poor case against recognizing same-sex marriage. That he begins it by boasting that he studied the history of marriage for a year (wow, a whole year!!!) before writing the book is not a good prelude.

joe
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

It should be noted that the language from the Catholic nuptial Mass (“…accept children lovingly from God….”) is to be omitted where it is not appropriate, e.g. where one or both parties is either beyond reproductive age or physically incapable of it. The Church has never to my knowledge limited marriage to those capable of bearing children.

Amicus
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

More on Blankenhorn.

He’s Catholic and I could find nothing in his views that are outside current Catholic doctrine. Can you connect the dots, yet? In any case, this is the context for his views, and “liberal” is just ancilliary.

Maggie Ghallagher was an analyst, working for him, at the Institute, before she started her own gig (there is a huge difference between what you make as an analyst writing about women and marriage to running primarily a homo-put-down cabal…).

I suspect that the stylized anthropology that took him a year to research is responsible for people saying all this crazed stuff about marriage predating mankind, etc…you know, 4,000 years of one-man and one-woman.

I believe his anthropology to be radically incomplete. I can think of many alternate thesis to explain the import of marriage than his, during various civilizations and so forth. Sadly, I’ve resented having to learn yet another field of study, as part of groveling for basic human rights in my lifetime …

Amicus
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

some comments:

Many, if not most, of Blankenhorn’s assertions are aspirational, not descriptive.

Today, in America, try having a child out-of-wedlock and running away from your responsibilities. No state in the union will let you, that I know.

Therefore, from a public policy perspective and from an assessment of the current state of the law, it is no longer marriage that ties biological children to their parents.

One might have a desire, or a faith-belief that it *should*, but that is not a fact, but an opinion. The courts are required to apply equal treatment under the _laws_, as they exist, not as Blankenhorn or scared voters imagine they should exist.

Blankenhorn falls into fallacies on “pro-child”, yet, he remains persuasive among the easily led and the choir he sings to.

*Good parents* are pro-child. The state has an obvious interest in generating good parents, clearly. How do you ‘create’ good parents? Well, there is no indication that a marriage contract produces good parents, is there? Good parenting is related to a host of factors, none of them obviously a function of penis-vagina.

The “stability of the household” is good for children, by much empirical evidence, as he will likely say. However, stability – enduring “intactness” of the family unit – is a question of the divorce laws, not of marriage laws.

[on #3 above – the court does not have to require he explain these exceptions, if it does not accept a standard of strict scrutiny.]

Amicus
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

more comments:

Blankenhorn worries about a drag on marriage, because of allowing gays their natural place inside the institution of marriage, are speculative.

He looks at correlations of “liberal beliefs” with the decline in marriage (divorce, out-of-wedlock births, and cohabitation) and gets alarmed.

Yet, somehow, marriage continues to defy the worst expectations of these prognosticators. In Massachusetts, opponents have been reduced to saying, ‘wait a little longer, please, for out dire predictions to come’.

In Scandinavia, things have gone in the exact opposite direction of even well intentioned worriers. Rather than nongays in a massive exodus to “civil union” or no-wedlock, Sweden went ahead and gave gays full access to marriage, eliminating this small part of the population from being a focus for ongoing, vicious scapegoating.

Indeed, this is where a trial lawyer should go for the jugular.

Various religious groups in America and others have started to refuse to perform marriage ceremonies, in sympathy with the ongoing second-class status given to gays.

It is the naysayers, who opined without sufficient discernment, who have ended up doing damage, isn’t it, David B?

Amicus
January 13th, 2010 | LINK

My point, now, for going on at length (three posts) is this: Do you honestly believe that Boies is adequately prepared for all of this?

I hope so…

Anyway, I surely hope he presses Blankenhorn’s stylized-anthropology on polygamy, asking him how, if marriage is about tying kids to their fathers, even primarily, does “anthropology”, in the view of this expert, rule out polygamy (notice polygamy doesn’t come up in Jon Rauch’s notes, linked above…is it omission by design by DB, because JR doesn’t miss much?).

Remember, technically, polygamy is a series of one-man, one-woman marriages.

g’nite and good luck.

Hunter
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

On at least one occasion, Blankenhorn has completely fabricated a justification for his position in favor of “biological families,” which I noted myself. He stated:

For these reasons, children have the right, insofar as society can make it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world. The foundational human rights document in the world today regarding children, the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, specifically guarantees children this right.

I read the Convention, and unfortunately for Blankenhorn, there’s no such guarantee. In fact, the Convention repeatedly uses the phrase “parent(s) or Guardians” in its discussion of those charged with providing for the wellbeing of children, which leads me, at least, to a very different interpretation of the Convention’s intent.

So on top of being misguided, he’s been dishonest.

David Blankenhorn
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

Mr. Kincaid’s article contains a great deal of partial information and misinformation about my views. He can say anything he wants, of course, just as readers leaving comments are free to call me stupid, dishonest, etc. etc. to their hearts’ content. I’m sure that all of this can all be very satisfying for those involved.

For my part, whatever the flaws in my views, I have tried as best I can to engage in serious, respectful conversation on this issue, even and particularly with those with whom I disagree. That’s why, for example, I invited Jonathan Rauch to write the introduction to the paperback edition of my book, The Future of Marriage, which he kindly did, using the opportunity to state in very forceful terms why he disagrees with me. I appreciate that. I would be happy to explore the possibility of having that kind of disagreement-clarifying conversation with Mr. Kincaid, if he is interested. It will probably have to wait til after the trial, but the trial will be over in the next couple of weeks.

Or alternatively, everyone can just continue with name-calling, accusations of bad faith, and delivering knock-out blows to straw-man opponents.

Amicus
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

David,

For my own part, I believe you sincerely hold your views, but not that they were arrived at by an independent spirit. For instance, everytime you write “deinstitutionalize”, all I hear is the Pope talking about people willfully remaking what God has ordained (or even Robbie P. George who goes on about marriage being “objective fact”).

As you note, your character, by example, is so much different than either Maggie Ghallagher or Robbie P. George, to name two of the world’s furies. (I feel justified in calling them that, because NOM in Maine and New Jersey and New York has spent millions, yet not helped a single marriage from dissolution – not a single one!, a child in distress, or a family in need). By their fruits, you shall know them, right?

Yet, here you are in a high-profile case as a witness for the defense, associated with people who spewed some truly vile hatred (see Tam, et. al). These people who do not want to have their own ads shown in court. These people who go to court to hide their finances. These people who would OPENLY tell the courts one thing and the general public another, just so long as they “win”.

If you believe you are winning these people over or yours is an attempt to moderate their views, you must be mistaken, Instead they have not only co-opted parts of your work, the parts that fit their “agenda” and make nice soundbites, they have actually co-opted you, or at least your most visible public persona or representation, as you go to sit for trial in the next to highest court in the land!

And if you think this is nonsense and you will walk away from all this with you integrity intact, no matter what context you are put in or choose to participate in, then let me ask you this, because I have nieces and nephews who understand gay-couple more profoundly than the white-washed tombs like Robbie P. George, “Civil Union. Explain that to me like I was a five-year old.”

Ben in Oakland
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

I’m willing to engage in that “respectful dialog” Mr. Blankenhorn. you can start with the very first posting on the top of this page. you don’t even have to look it up.

“But then, Blankenhorn admits his real bias when he says that “Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits…the children being raised in those homes”. According to the Supreme Court, there are at least 70,000 of them, some biological, some adopted. Do not those children deserve the same protections provided by marriage that are afforded their counterparts in “traditional” families?

Or are only some children and some families important?”

Ben in Oakland
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

And here is your second question:

I am nearly 60, my partner nearly 50. We don’t have children, and at our age, don’t want them. Since any man and woman of non-child producing age can get married, why can’t we?

Actually, we are legally married.

Ben in Oakland
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

Sory, I hit post without meaning to.

Actually, we are married.

So how is our marriage, which has nothing to do with procreation– obviously– any different from any other marriage which likewise has nothing to do with procreation– old people, infertile people, intentionally childless people?

Why is it that our marriage harms marriage and fatherhood and all the rest, but their marriages do not? I was a sociologist, so perhaps you oculd explain the finctional difference.

could it be because we are queer?

Ephilei
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, you make an excellent point about the lack of children in wedding liturgy. In Protestant weddings, I’ve never heard ANY mention of children.

Amicus
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

For the record, one should note that David’s book is not peer-reviewed research.

I’m not usually a hard-ass on such things, but holding out Rauch and Sullivan as debating partners ought not to give the same patina as a peer review.

Neither of them are anthropologists and, again, I remain deeply skeptical of DB’s assertions about cross-cultural marriage facts.

chiMaxx
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

I think it’s terrific that David Blankenhorn replied here, and I think a “serious, respectful conversation” here after the debate would be terrific. The debate you had a couple of years ago between Glenn Stanton and Patrick Chapman shed a great deal more light than heat, even in the comments.

In fact, when the conversation begin, I wonder if it would be possible for you to enlist Dr. Chapman again to join the conversation when it turns to the anthropology of marriage.

Mr. Blankenhorn: I’m disappointed that you started your comment by criticizing Mr. Kincaid for the fact that his post included “partial information.” Of course it does: It is a blog post and not a book-length essay. And he admits the limitations of his research in a number of his replies. I hope the conversation here that you have suggested happens soon after the trial, and while I look forward to you clearing up any misinformation about your views, I hope you will at that point refrain from trying to slap around the other participants for limitations that are inherent to the blog medium itself.

Amicus: Though I disagree with Blankenhorn in the same ways you do, and like your characterization of Gallagher and George as “furies,” I don’t think it’s fair or beneficial to anyone to accuse Mr. Blankenhorn of bad faith or imply it for his role in this case. He is arguing as an expert witness on the issue, not as a character witness for Tam, Gallagher or others.

Richard Rush
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

David,

My partner and I have been together for 28 years. If I walked away from him today, and then persuaded some woman to marry me after knowing her for 28 days (and while not revealing my gayness), the marriage would be perfectly legal.

While some anti-gay fanatics would applaud me for walking away from homosexuality, sane people would rightly be aghast.

So why, specifically and precisely, do marriages between two people have virtually no legal barriers as long as they have different sex organs and are not close blood relatives, while two people who love and care for each other are banned from marriage merely because they have the same sex organs? And by the way, I use the term “different sex organs,” in part, because heterosexuality is not a legal requirement for marriage.

And we need to keep in mind that a marriage does not require the bearing of children, and the bearing of children does not require a marriage. So, from a legal standpoint, it seems that children are not part of the issue at all. And from a non-legal standpoint, and given the vast number of children raised in miserable circumstances by heterosexuals, it should be embarrassing for anyone to argue that homosexuals are somehow uniquely unqualified to raise children.

Don’t the secular arguments for restricting marriage to opposite sex couples really boil down to #1) that’s the way it’s always been, and #2) animus against homosexuals? And then religious people add #3) “my favorite deity doesn’t like it” to validate #1 and #2.

Timothy Kincaid
January 14th, 2010 | LINK

I have responded to David Blankenhorn taking him up on his offer to clarify his position. I recognize that he is very busy at present preparing for trial, so this conversation will have to occur weeks from now.

Thank you all for your polite responses to Mr. Blankenhorn.

I’m now closing comment on this thread.

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