Gay Marriage Gains Backer as Major Foe Revises Views

David Blankenhorn, a national figure in the movement against same-sex marriage, has recanted his opposition, saying “the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do.”

Mr. Blankenhorn, the founder and president of theInstitute for American Values, wrote an influential book that argued against same-sex marriage in 2007, called “The Future of Marriage,” and served as an expert witness against the constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which limited marriage to heterosexuals. On Friday, he said in an opinion article for The New York Times, published online, and in an interview on NPR that his concerns about same-sex marriage remained, but that “the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over.”

“I opposed gay marriage believing that children have the right, insofar as society makes it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world,” he wrote in the article. He said he still held that conviction. But he added, “Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.”

Mr. Blankenhorn’s onetime allies said they were troubled but unimpressed.

“He’s dead wrong,” said the Rev. Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, Calif. “I am a student of history. Christianity has made clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. And what we have seen is that when you change marriage for some, you change marriage for all.”

The focus on same-sex marriage has grown rapidly in recent years, both legislatively and legally. Two requests for review of same-sex marriage rulings in federal courts, including the Proposition 8 case, are headed to the Supreme Court this summer. Other cases are being argued in lower courts, and referendum initiatives will be on the ballots in November in four states — Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

Listen to an interview with Mr. Blankenhorn from last week.


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