I have found, in political idea wars, that deeply invested viewpoints are pretty impervious to changing. I’ve previously discussed, for example, confirmation bias – we welcome information that supports our beliefs, and discount anything discordant.
David Blankenhorn has been a prominent public opponent of gay marriage, even writing a book on it. Now, when you’ve written a whole book arguing a point, changing your mind is surely remarkable. Yet Blankenhorn has changed his mind.
What Blankenhorn realized is that gay weddings do not undermine the institution of marriage. To the contrary, gays actually seem to be the only people in America who are really keen on matrimony. Blankenhorn now sees the real threat to marriage coming from a much bigger social phenomenon. Marriage is crumbling among middle and lower income groups. While the well educated and affluent still generally do marry (often several times), proletarians do not. Births to unwed mothers have reached 50% for under-30 whites. For blacks, it’s over 70%.
Let me repeat this point: yes, some single moms may be heroic and all that. But, on average, children do much better in two-parent homes. An explosion of single parenthood means more people in the next generation having a hard slog in life.
While gay marriage opponents say kids are entitled to a father and a mother, those raised by gay couples are either a) adopted, so their alternative is not a father and a mother, but neither; or b) conceived using one parent’s genes, in which case their alternative is not existing at all. Either way, no children are better off if gay marriage is barred; they are worse off.
I’ve also stressed that our real national jobs problem is too many people ill-equipped to do today’s jobs. That’s in great part down to educational failure. And all our efforts to improve education will be overshadowed by a flood of single-parented students with all the life handicaps that that background all too typically entails. Insofar as gay marriage means more two-parent homes, that can only help.
I also recently heard a radio interview with Bishop Gene Robinson (no relation), about his book, God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage. He made one interesting point I want to highlight. When the Biblical condemnations of homosexual acts were written, and up through quite recent times, the common assumption was that these were acts by heterosexuals, perversions against nature. People just didn’t realize there was such a thing as homosexuality – that is, folks whose nature is same-sex attraction, who are indeed born that way. This wasn’t generally understood, because it was well hidden. Coming out of the closet meant severe penalties in past times.
This was basically still true when I myself was young. It was a long time before I even understood homosexuality existed. I knew of the Mattachine Society, an early gay rights organization, but its message was so circumspect that I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about. My naivite may have been above average, but the point is that homosexuality was something well hidden, never openly discussed as it is today. Such ignorance shaped attitudes toward homosexuality, with the idea that it’s a perversion against nature, and no realization that it’s actually natural for most of its practitioners.
We human beings can change our minds. And – even if not – we can change our population. New people, with new ideas, replace old ones. That too is nature’s way.