David Blankenhorn: Don't give up on marriage now

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  • jrcurtisjr Atlanta, GA
    Oct. 19, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    Those who champion marriage are missing a HUGE opportunity to address those folks who need to hear the message the most.

    We have been losing the culture war for marriage for decades. BUT, how about turning the tide by of battle by finding and engaging highly visible and highly credible MARRIED baseball, football, basketball athletes; rock, country, rap musicians; race car drivers; TV sit com stars, talk show hosts, DUCK Dynasty, etc. and mount a multi-media, multi-year, multi-million dollar campaign of public service announcements for a MAKE MARRIAGE "COOL" AGAIN Campaign.

    Kids, teens and young adult see NO ONE standing up for marriage who they know and relate to.... but daily they are bombarded by images of their favorite stars making a mockery of the institution of marriage.

    We are NOT engaging the right people. Academicians, researchers, scholars, authors, therapist talking to one another is nice but the audience we need to engage are NOT EVEN IN THE TENT.

    We can do better!

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 16, 2014 5:35 p.m.

    Marriage isn't just about having children, and you know it. I think it is safe to say that people get married to commit themselves to each other and to make their relationship official. This includes those who have no children! I find it ironic how much religious people talk about the importance of marriage and put gay people down for wanting it. This article mentions deviancy when talking about unwed couples. You just can't help yourself, can you! Why do people feel such a need to puff themselves up, while they put others down? Why is it that people want to deny some of us something that is so important to them. You want to know why people are changing? Take a look at all the hypocrisy. Maybe your so called wonderful marriages haven't been as good as you think.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 13, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    Dammam, Saudi Arabia

    Marriage is about procreation. If it was about celebrating a loving long-term relationship why can't a man get married with his mother, or why can't someone marry their aunt and uncle?


    No, it is not.
    It is ALL about loving long-term relationships.

    If it is about procreation --

    Why can impotent couples marry?
    Why can older people GET married?
    and furthermore,
    Why should older people get to STAY married?

    THAT is why I disagree with you, and the others who make these same sort of silly comments.
    IMHO -- You have it all backwards.

  • tomof12 Provo, UT
    Oct. 12, 2014 10:50 p.m.

    David, you had a more compelling voice back in 2008. Now you seem to be asking kindly that the historical transformation of social mores that enabled the recent redefinitions of marriage magically turn into its opposite. Yes, history can take strange turns, but the pre-political foundations that made marriage an "enchanted" institution have been fundamentally compromised, at least outside of (some of) the churches. Marriage is now one more willful construct of rational-scientific reason. Like nature, culture is to become completely malleable in the hands of the self-making cogito. It is symptomatic that you are now basically asking pretty please that marriage remain what you would like to to be. The institution now rests on nothing but these pretty-pleases that humanity addresses to itself. Good luck.

  • Demiurge San Diego, CA
    Oct. 12, 2014 10:21 p.m.

    Marriage isn't about procreation. It never has been.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Oct. 12, 2014 6:44 p.m.

    Marriage is society's way of fighting out of wedlock births. It sends a message that men are responsible for their procreative actions. Because of this it is a powerful tool to fight poverty. We've diluted its importance by defining it as something it is not.

    Why not give everyone a marriage along with their tax return? Or at least half a marriage. Then we could say we are strengthening marriage and we've reversed the decline in marriage.

    Marriage is about procreation. If it was about celebrating a loving long-term relationship why can't a man get married with his mother, or why can't someone marry their aunt and uncle? Why is same sex love a better kind of love than family love? That determination is based on an irrational value judgment.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Oct. 12, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    I don't see this as an either/or issue but an *and* issue.

    Since I view marriage as equal to commitment, good families benefit from both marriage and responsible parenting. A couple may choose to marry, but one or both may not be committed to raising children.

    Also, two people who may both be committed to raising children may not be committed to each other.

    Hence the need for both marriage and responsible parenting in a successful family.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 11, 2014 10:08 p.m.


    Churches are allowed to tell their clergy that they may not perform SS marriages.


    Maybe you should meet a few LGBT couples who've raised kids and meet the kids. You are uninformed.


    You make being gay sound like a disease.

    "Some day we may understand same-sex attraction and we may also be able to find a way to either prevent or overcome it."

    I like me that way I am. Why would I want to change me to be other than I am? "Preventing" a child from being gay, how? Abortion? You find a way to determine the orientation in the womb and boom; abort. Wouldn't that be as evil as aborting because you wanted a different gender than you're carrying? Prevention by determining a way to kill sperm that may carry traits that could lead to being gay? I don't think you'll find any other way to "prevent" LGBT people being born.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Oct. 11, 2014 6:42 p.m.

    "No - conservative Christians don't suggest gays don't need marriage we simply say we don't recognize gay marriage period."

    Here's the deal libs, what seems inexplicable in the conservative position of not recognizing gay marriages is actually easy to understand if you break it down to the foundation of conservatism.

    Conservatism is about one thing and one thing only, the maintenance of hierarchal power relationships. That's it. That's all it's about, and the more familiar the power relationship is the more fanatical they will defend it. Thus the maintenance of the man as the overseer of the woman and the children is paramount.

    Therefore SSM, equal pay, reproductive rights, all bad for that relationship and therefore all against conservative principles.

    Try and apply this principle to any conservative policy and you'll find a threat to some hierarchal relationship.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 11, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    "Maybe we can really learn from these people, and it is long past time to stop denigrating them."

    I think I agree with you.

    Some thoughts on same-sex attracted folks... For some unexplained reason some people have acquired and are 'stuck' with a same-sex attraction syndrome. No one seems to know why. The reason they want to marry instead of just living out their lives together is because they wanna experience at least a modicum of normalcy. Marriage helps in that regard.

    Some day we may understand same-sex attraction and we may also be able to find a way to either prevent or overcome it. That's a long way off.

  • nycut New York, NY
    Oct. 11, 2014 10:23 a.m.

    Commenters like @patriot's add nothing new to the discussion.

    We've seen it all before: "their kind" is better than any other kind, they disapprove, only bad things will happen now.

    We know this for what it is. The dictionary has a word for "a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred or intolerance."

    The keyword here is obstinate. There is no evolution, no compromise, no shift in understanding, no moderation of tone, no new facts getting through.

    The Deseret News has published an article looking for common ground, yet once again it's hijacked by the same old "down with gays, up with my religion" folks who just don't want to be part of a constructive conversation.

    I suggest we wave at these folks in the rear view mirror, and stop trying to convince them to change.

    Everyone benefits when families are strengthened. Let's have a conversation about how to do that and ignore the ones who can't.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 9:57 p.m.

    Now that LBGT members of my vast family can wed. This will promote marriage instead of tear it apart. Now these people will be examples to others in our family who have not been willing to get married, but "Just live together". They have used the excuse that their unmarried cohabitating gay family members don't have to get married, why should they? Now that excuse will be gone.

    Marriage just got a needed shot in the arm.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 3:55 p.m.

    Marriage just got the biggest shot in the arm it's had in years. People fighting to join the club were finally allowed in. It's those that have always been there that have been doing the damage.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 2:28 p.m.

    @ patriot: Two summers ago an interracial couple wanted to get married in the church they were currently attending and of which they had been members for a number of years. Their priest told them that would not be possible, not because of any doctrinal prohibitions on interracial marriage, but because in the entire history of that church building there had never been anything other than white couples married there.

    The priest performed the wedding ceremony for the couple at a church down the street.

    Guess what? Based on history, not doctrinal teachings, the church had the right to make that decision and no one could (or would) force them to act differently.

    Do you really think the same protections won't apply to the LDS Church when their prohibition is based on doctrine? Really?

    @ my_two_cents_worth: The LDS Church has forbidden its Bishops or other leaders from performing SS weddings even if the leader would support the relationship (Mormons are free to disagree with their leadership) and even if it is not on church property.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    @ BrentBot: Pratt. You like to keep referring to that one book, but it has been soundly rebutted in intellectual circles and any close examination of real history shows exactly how wrong it is.

    Take the Roman Empire for instance: It had same-sex marriage and relationships for many, many years - when Constantine became Emperor, he prohibited those relationships because they violated his religious beliefs. The Roman Empire was suffering before Constantine became Emperor, but it did not meet its demise until after he was in office.

    No matter how many times you reference the work of Unwin, it will still be wrong.

    And you are completely misrepresenting Sorokin. He believed that societies were cyclical, would go through continuous changes between Sensate and Ideational cultures; that sexual and political revolutions were natural parts of these cycles (one does not lead to the other, they occur simultaneously); and that the current Sensate cycle has been ongoing for the last 400 years.

    Consistent reliance on disproven or misrepresented points of view by those who oppose SSM increases the social support for SSM.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 2:15 p.m.

    Yes patriot, because a group of people fought long and hard for the right to be married, to have that right applied to them, because of that no one will care about marriage. Makes perfect sense.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 2:04 p.m.


    1. Marriage is not guarnteed by the constitution. Liberal activist judges did not use the constitution to rule on Utah law - they simply decided to use their own interpretation and and bias and the Supreme Court decided not to take the case until a conflict in the lower courts occured which was wrong. There is no constitutional rule on marriage.
    2. Again you are free by law to think whatever you want - to recognize whatever you choose but because of religious liberty I can choose NOT to accept your view. Again, we in the LDS church do not recognize gay marriage.
    3. No same sex care gives can't nurture children. Again - there is more to raising kids than just love...there is teaching. Think of an innocent child being forced into the confusing environment of a homosexual home - for whose benifit it that - the adults or the child? The child had no say and then suddenly this little boy is forced to witenss his same gender care givers showing romatic affection. What chance does this little guy have to develop normal healthy relationships with girls ...all PC aside?
    4. Bishops cant marry homosexuals period.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Oct. 10, 2014 1:57 p.m.

    Mr. Blankenhorn acts as if marriage were a panacea for every domestic difficulty. Raising children can still be done badly within marriage. These are two separate subjects. While preventing the marriage of others does nobody any good, neither does coercing marriage for marriage's sake.

    Our family and child welfare laws are what should guide us in the protection of children. Our economic and educational policies are what society can do to strengthen families and produce not only the best outcomes, but the best new citizens. To simply walk away from the poor and disadvantaged and then blame the poor, or worse yet the gays, for their poverty and failure to thrive, is either ignorant or cruel.

    There are economic realities in running a successful society. The Scandinavian and Western European countries realized this ages ago. This is where they invest their resources, and they outstrip us on every single family, public health, and childhood metric. So, by all means blame liberals, blame morality, blame the government, blame everything but the conservatives who starve programs that can actually benefit American children and families.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Oct. 10, 2014 1:18 p.m.


    "We (in the LDS Church) cannot seal in the temple a child to same gender care givers. We don't recognize gay marriage regardless of what the geneology record might show."

    If Church Leadership comes out tomorrow and says, "yeah, we can." Then yes, you can.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Oct. 10, 2014 1:17 p.m.


    "we simply say we don't recognize gay marriage period."

    That is your right. You don't have the right to tell me I can't recognize gay marriage.

    "Marriage is not guaranteed by the constitution.'

    The courts do not agree with you.

    "Civil marriage"

    The operative term is "Civil". You don't get to decide who the state gets to marry.

    "Marriage has been as a mechanism to ensure children are properly taught and raised not only with love and support but also with correct nurturing and teaching..."

    And SSM families cannot do that?

    "Christians will continue to marry"

    Wait, you mean to tell me that all the wailing and knashing of teeth over the death of traditional marriage was just hyperbole? Who would have thought?

    "Recall that LDS bishops can't marry homosexuals even outside the temple."

    If a Bishop sees no doctrinal problem with performing a marriage for gay members telling him he cannot do so is a violation of his freedom of religion rights. I thought you viewed religious rights as absolute.

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    I agree with the author that liberals should be champions of marriage, as it is well in-line with liberal values. While I understand that liberals want to be "inclusive" when it comes to alternative ways of living, the societal benefits of marriage are undeniable.

    What I don't agree with is when he says conservative just need to "accept gay marriage." Though laudable, what conservatives really need to do is acknowledge that low socioeconomic status and substandard wages hurt families too. Though the author may not have noticed, he brought this issue clearly to bear in the article itself. Economic instability breeds social instability. Once conservatives admit how related these two issues are, they too will be the champions of marriage they say they are.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    Cinci Man:

    We (in the LDS Church) cannot seal in the temple a child to same gender care givers. We don't recognize gay marriage regardless of what the geneology record might show.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 12:22 p.m.


    No - conservative Christians don't suggest gays don't need marriage we simply say we don't recognize gay marriage period. Marriage is not guaranteed by the constitution. Civil marriage is a tradition that has been adopted by American society (following traditions from Europe). We indicate on our tax forms if we are married and that is used by the IRS to calculate the appropriate tax tables. Marriage has been (up til now) as a mechanism to ensure children are properly taught and raised not only with love and support but also with correct nurturing and teaching to give them the best chance of survival in this world. When traditional marriage ends (as it has now) then the societial benefits disapear as well. Christians will continue to marry but - as with LDS people - we have a higher form of marriage that is protected from the world's political correctness and ordained by God. So long as America has religious liberty that will continue. I suspect other Christian churches will have to do something similar and create their own marriage covenant. Recall that LDS bishops can't marry homosexuals even outside the temple.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    "I think this gay marriage thing is going to make people simply say that if there is no traditional marriage anymore then just forget it."

    Nobody who supports same-sex marriage is going to think that. Though I guess it makes sense that your side would since your side was the one saying that gay people don't need marriage.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Oct. 10, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    Well, for those "Traditional Marriage Supporters" whose "Traditional Marriages" were on such shaky footing that they are collapsing around them now because of marriage equality I say you probably should have given up on marriage a long time ago. As for me and my opposite sex spouse of almost 32 years, the foundation of our traditional marriage is as rock solid as ever and it has not been devalued in any way, shape, or form. The only change in our lives since marriage equality came to the great state of Washington is an expanded circle of married friends and an increase in the number of celebrations we are getting invited to. The local LDS ward buildings are still open, the Temple in Bellevue is still reserved to those with Temple Recommendations, and the Factoria Deseret Book still does not carry "Mommy, Mama, and Me" with no one demanding that they do.

  • MoNoMo Fair Oaks, CA
    Oct. 10, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    Good to see Blankenhorn has come around to support gay marriage.

    He was a failed witness for those defending Prop 8 in the initial court proceeding striking down.

    During cross examination he admitted: "I believe that adopting same-sex marriage would be likely to improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children."

    That it [SSM] would increase the proportion of gays and lesbians in stable, committed relationships; lead to higher living standards for same-sex couples; lead to fewer children growing up in state institutions and more growing up in loving adoptive and foster families; decrease the amount of anti-gay prejudice and hate crimes; and decrease the number of those warily viewed as "other" in society, further reaching the American ideal.

    Glad he's come around and I thank him for his honest testimony during the Prop 8 trial, even if he was an intended witness to uphold Prop 8.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Oct. 10, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    How do you record genealogy for children of gay couples? All the documents show father and mother.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    I could easily see secular marriage disapearing in the United States in 15 years. The marriage that remains will have to be called something else - LDS temple sealing for example. I think this gay marriage thing is going to make people simply say that if there is no traditional marriage anymore then just forget it.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    You can trace the decline of marriage rates and see that it correlates strongly with the declining prospects of working class men. Although I strongly support marriage, I'm not sure exactly what the government can do to increase it. I'm also not sure that convincing two poor people to marry one another will yield much improvement, although it's possible,

    There are things, however, that government can do to make working class living standards more conducive to marriage, and that is where we should focus.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Oct. 10, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    I find a great deal of truth and insight in this comment that same sex couple can lead in the challenge to improve the concept of marriage in our society

    Same sex couples, without the benefit of legal or societal benefits, and with the disdain of a great many religionists, have fought for years to be included in the rights and responsibilities of marriage equality. Think about it. Couples with or without children have faced down countless years of stigma to stay together and make a successful family. And with all the lies and distortions about their relationship, many have lived a more stereotypical "married life" than their heterosexual siblings who have divorced or have unhappy relationships.

    Maybe folks against same sex marriage should talk to long term same sex married couples and ask them how they do it? What can a same sex couple tell us about sticking together lovingly through thick and thin?

    Maybe we can really learn from these people, and it is long past time to stop denigrating them. Isn't there some old testament verse about the lion and the lamb lying together with a child to lead them? Might apply here.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 7:23 a.m.

    For those who have a sexual and affectional affinity for those of the opposite sex, oppos8te sex marriage with children not being conceived or born until the marriage has been entered into should be strongly encouraged. For those who have a sexual and affectional affinity for those of the same sex, same sex marriage with children not being conceived or born until the marriage has been entered into should be strongly encouraged. Allowing and promoting marriage equality should be a win-win scenario, with marriage and "legitimate" children being the winners in every case.

  • BrentBot Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    Marriage reflects the natural moral and social law evidenced the world over. As the late British social anthropologist Joseph Daniel Unwin noted in his study of world civilizations, any society that devalued the nuclear family soon lost what he called "expansive energy," which might best be summarized as society's will to make things better for the next generation. In fact, no society that has loosened sexual morality outside of man-woman marriage has survived.

    Analyzing studies of cultures spanning several thousands of years on several continents, Chairman of Harvard University’s sociology department, Pitirim Sorokin. found that virtually all political revolutions that brought about societal collapse were preceded by a sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued by the culture’s acceptance of homosexuality.