The Corner

Gay Marriage Book

If you’re interested in the gay marriage debate, David Blankenhorn’s new book The Future of Marriage is where the action is. The other day I had some positive things to say about Blankenhorn’s book, and about a new article reporting on some of the book’s key empirical findings.

I also noted that while I’m on largely the same wavelength as Blankenhorn, we might have a minor methodological quibble. Well, Blankenhorn speaks to methodology, and other important points about gay marriage, in a fascinating post at Family Scholars Blog (here). Given that post, I can’t see that I’ve got any substantial differences with Blankenhorn on methodology. What I do see is a broadly shared framework. And what I very much continue to recommend is a look at Blankenhorn’s original, important, and beautifully written new book on the same-sex marriage debate, The Future of Marriage.

By the way, the fact that Blankenhorn himself is a liberal, a life-long Democrat, and only a very reluctant and anguished opponent of same-sex marriage is part of what makes his book so interesting and important. Blankenhorn does not approach the same-sex marriage issue as someone with traditional religiously-based views on homosexuality. His concern is rooted in the institutional importance of marriage.

Here’s how Francis Fukuyama puts it in his blurb for The Future of Marriage (Blankenhorn’s got back-cover blurbs from Fukuyama and Mary Ann Glendon, among others): “David Blankenhorn enormously deepens the current debate on same-sex marriage by recovering the historical understanding of marriage as a public institution designed to promote and foster procreation and the raising of children, and understanding based not on religious conviction but on observation of how our species has evolved over time.” Not that religious folks will have much, if anything, to disagree with in Blankenhorn’s take on marriage. The point is simply that Blankenhorn’s argument itself is liberal and secular, yet clearly opposed to same-sex marriage.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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