A self-described liberal Democrat has explained his opposition to same-sex marriage in an opinion column for the Los Angeles Times. Arguing that marriage is not “simply a private love relationship between two people,” he argues that marriage unites the “biological, social and legal” dimensions of parenthood into the “pro-child” form of the married couple.
David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values and pioneer in the “fatherhood movement,” makes his case in the September 19 edition of the Los Angeles Times.
He writes that despite cross-cultural differences, the purpose of marriage is clear.
“Marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood,” Blankenhorn states. “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.”
The social institution of marriage ensures that children grow up with a secure family life and parents are accountable both to their spouses and to their child.
“Marriage is society's most pro-child institution,” he asserts.
Blankenhorn notes that the Child Trends nonpartisan research center supported this conclusion in a 2002 report, saying “family structure clearly matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”
The 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child also “specifically guarantees” children the right “to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world.”
“The last time I checked,” Blankenhorn adds, “liberals like me were supposed to be in favor of internationally recognized human rights, particularly concerning children, who are typically society's most voiceless and vulnerable group.”
“Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him,” the liberal Democrat continues. “Every single one.”
Changing the meaning of marriage, he says, “further and perhaps definitively undermines” marriage’s distinctive pro-child contribution to society.
Blankenhorn also voices his concerns about the constricted range of debate on same-sex marriage. People must “be careful” if they believe that every child deserves his mother and father, or believe that fathers and mothers are different from each other, or believe that biological ties matter to children, or believe that the best family has only two parents, he says.
If one opposes same-sex marriage, he adds, “More than a few grown-ups will be quite willing to question your integrity and goodwill. Children, of course, are rarely consulted.”
Saying he rejects “homophobia” and believes in the “equal dignity” of homosexual love, Blankenhorn concludes by emphasizing that society should seek “to maintain and to strengthen” marriage for the sake of children.