The case against the case against gay marriage.
Blankenhorn may think this project futile. He is right to sound cautionary notes. But in recent years, as he points out, U.S. divorce rates have dropped a little and teen-pregnancy rates have dropped a lot, while “rates of marital happiness have stabilized and may be increasing.” States are experimenting with reforms to strengthen marriage and reduce unnecessary divorce, and the proportion of African-American children living in two-parent, married-couple homes has stabilized or increased. Those modest but heartening improvements come at precisely the time when gay Americans in the millions–the ordinary folks, not the academicians–have discovered and embraced marriage and family after years of alienation from both.
Blankenhorn and I could argue all day about whether gay marriage is part of the solution or part of the problem. But I feel I have learned a couple of things recently. From giving all those speeches, I have learned that the public takes a more individualistic view of marriage than either Blankenhorn or I would prefer. From his new book, I’ve learned that the public’s view of both marriage and society is nonetheless richer, wiser, and more humane than David Blankenhorn’s–and possibly, for that matter, than my own. Which gives me hope that, whatever the experts say the real purpose of marriage is or is not, the public can ultimately get it right.
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