Friday, June 22, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Switch Hitter

Via Gavin Newsom, this New York Times Op-Ed contribution by David Blankenhorn comes to my attention this afternoon. Mr. Blankenhorn claims he has switched sides, and is now in favor of same-sex marriage. My first reaction to the article was, "With friends like him... Oy... who needs a drink? I DO!."

After re-reading the article several times, my reaction has softened a bit. He reasons that societal stability is the main reason to support marriage equality and that human dignity is paramount. Another point he makes is for creating a more fair and civil society (Blankenhorn uses the word, "comity.") His last reason is because it's becoming very clear that the majority's opinion is moving very fast toward seeing opposition to same-sex marriage as wrong, and it's time to unite over this issue and move on.

All of that is good and right. My main objection is that he starts out with asserting that children have a right to "know and to be cared for by two parents who brought them into this world." He supports his notion by stating that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child met in 1990 and decided that the right to be brought up by birth parents should be a guaranteed right. Blankenhorn provides a hyperlink to the supporting document by UNICEF.

I've reviewed the entire UNICEF document and can find no assertion or preference to birth parents. The point of the document appears to be that society has a responsibility to make sure that all children are treated fairly without regard for sex, gender, origins, or birth status, and that they be given every opportunity to reach their full potential.
"Marriage is how society recognizes and protects this right. Marriage is the planet’s only institution whose core purpose is to unite the biological, social and legal components of parenthood into one lasting bond. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children," Blankenhorn theorizes.
If we're to assume that birth parents are superior to all other kinds of parents, then does that include birth parents who are untreated drug-adddicts, alcoholics, or pedophiles? What about birth parents who are narcissists, sociopaths, bi-polar, or suffer from any number of psychological disorders? Are they superior to well-adjusted and successful step-parents, adoptive parents, or gay parents?

After reading Blankenhorn's letter, I too am concerned that his arguments in favor of same-sex marriage still show a huge amount of ignorance. I understand and appreciate that his beliefs may still be evolving, but this letter is distasteful to me and as a litmus test of tolerance, fails completely.