Last week, the gay internet was understandably thrilled that one of the few anti-marriage equality activists who could in any world be referred to as “intellectual” had changed his mind and decided to support marriage equality. Partially, he was repulsed by the anti-gay religious bigotry that motivates that side, but he also sees that marriage equality is in no way hurting traditional marriage, which is his ostensible focus. Digby would like us to remember a few things about David Blankenhorn, please:
So, the allegedly liberal, “pro-fatherhood”, anti- marriage equality David Blankenhorn has decided that gay marriage is a-ok now. In fact, he now wants to recruit gay people to his first principle: stigmatizing single mothers and slut-shaming women.
She quotes this bit of his New York Times piece:
Instead of fighting gay marriage, I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. For example, once we accept gay marriage, might we also agree that marrying before having children is a vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace? Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation? Can we discuss whether both gays and straight people should think twice before denying children born through artificial reproductive technology the right to know and be known by their biological parents?
Will this strategy work? I don’t know. But I hope to find out.
As Digby adds, “let’s hope it doesn’t.” David Blankenhorn was one of the star witness for the anti-gay side during the Prop 8 trial, so his turnabout is significant, but it’s important not to miss what he’s actually saying here. He’s attempting to co-opt gay couples into his conservative vision of marriage — which is not, as they would have you believe, simply about two people loving each other monogamously:
[N]obody should be all that surprised about this coming from him. He’s always thought that the real problem is the selfish women who insist they know how to raise kids. He was only worried about gay marriage making that situation worse. Now he can get back to the real business at hand.I’m doubtful that he’ll be able to find many married gay couples to buy into that, however. Like most of the rest of us married people they’ll almost certainly be happy to be able to make families and have society acknowledge their commitment in the traditional way, but I’d be shocked to see more than a handful become conservative marriage fetishists and insist that everyone adhere to a restrictive definition of sanctioned relationships. They spent way too much time on the other side of that equation to be so easily co-opted.
Indeed. Gay relationships aren’t really inherently different from straight relationships, in that all relationships are unique. Perhaps a byproduct of the growing acceptance of gay people is that some straight people are noticing that some of the roles they’ve long assumed in marriage are simply a matter of custom, and that they’re not always the best roles for each relationship. Gay couples, for one thing, tend to be much more egalitarian in relationships, which is a good thing. For conservatives though, that’s a scary proposition. Women may be allowed to vote and own property, but conservative men know where they stand in the hierachy, and I think that’s kind of what this is about.
I suppose this is one of the new frontiers in the fight for full equality for LGBT people. As it becomes more and more mainstream for people to support equality, more and more people from the traditional Right will come over to our side, and that’s a great thing. Except that some of them are going to bring some really really antiquated BS with them. We already know that there’s a contingent of the gay community that traffics in white privilege, sexism, chauvinism, slut-shaming and the like. We should be careful to both accept the support of all who provide it, for whatever reason, but at the same time, remember our principles, and I’d hope that, for the great majority of the LGBT community, slut-shaming isn’t one of them.