Prop 8 Proponent David Blankenhorn: ‘The Time Has Come for Me to Accept Gay Marriage’

Prop 8 proponent and witness and director of the Institute for American Values David Blankenhorn made waves in April when he came out against North Carolina's Amendment One. Today, in a NYT editorial, Blankenhorn writes "the time has come for me , to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do," and explains why:

BlankenhornFor me, the most important is the equal dignity of homosexual love. I don’t believe that opposite-sex and same-sex relationships are the same, but I do believe, with growing numbers of Americans, that the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over. Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.

Another good thing is comity. Surely we must live together with some degree of mutual acceptance, even if doing so involves compromise. Sticking to one’s position no matter what can be a virtue. But bending the knee a bit, in the name of comity, is not always the same as weakness. As I look at what our society needs most today, I have no stomach for what we often too glibly call “culture wars.” Especially on this issue, I’m more interested in conciliation than in further fighting.

A third good thing is respect for an emerging consensus. The population as a whole remains deeply divided, but most of our national elites, as well as most younger Americans, favor gay marriage. This emerging consensus may be wrong on the merits. But surely it matters.

Check out the whole op-ed HERE.


  1. Randy says

    “… marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children … gay marriage effaces that gift … I am not recanting [anything].”

    So what he’s saying is that he’s just given up fighting against us because he’s losing to “elites” who are “wrong on the merits”. We’re still bad people who rob children of their gifts, even if we don’t have any children. Thanks a lot, Dave.

  2. nick says

    How do you go from writing books, then testifying against it to two years later endorsing it? It takes a mighty big hypocrite to accomplish all that.

  3. StraightGrandmother says

    Listen I think you should know something. I contacted the Institute for American Values about a year ago and asked for their tax forms. They didn’t give me any problems at all and sent them.

    100% of his Foundations funding I htink it was 2009 or 2010 was The Bradley Foundation. Yes the same Bradely Foundation that just funded the FAKE Regnerus “Gays make bad parents” research out of Texas. The Same Bradely Foundation who in 2010 gave the Family Research Council $40,000 to fund a Marriage Project which I am pretty sure was that CD the FRC Made.

    Now think who Blankenhorn gets his funds from to survive…. and think of what he said today.

    We can nitpick that he did not say it exactly the way we would have liked but son of a gun he DID EVOLVE.

    I called and got his e-mail address and sent him a thank you e-mail. I try always to thank people who help me. Please consider doing the same.

  4. Mike B. says

    Tell us more about the Bradley Foundation. This is what we should all be interested in. There’s a real story here, and a more important one.

  5. bandanajack says

    i won’t go as far as grandma, but i thought that was as graceful a concession speech as i have heard in a while. my ideas aren’t working so lets try another way of going about things. all in all he sounded far more intelligent than i gave him credit for.

    i didn’t read into it any dripping condescension or hate, reluctance maybe, but not hate.

  6. Gaggie Mallagher says

    Blankenhorn translator: “I’m still a bigot, and I still reserve the right to look down on gays & lesbians and their so-called “families”, and I’m still in denial that marriage has more than one function and purpose in society, but I’m tired of these rainbow-wielding fairies handing me my a$$ in every debate, and making me look utterly foolish. Plus, my funding’s about to dry up. So I need a new angle. Can’t we all just get along?”

  7. Jay says

    Straight Grandmother: as I recall Frank Rich pointing out in 2010, Blankenhorn paid himself almost $400,000 from his foundation, and his wife another $70,000. So I doubt that he is going to have a hard time surviving. He is a huckster and obviously believes that toeing the Brodley Foundation line has been bad for his business. I suspect his anti-gay marriage position has hurt his foundation. A lot of people don’t like to associate with bigots. He probably hopes to resuscitate it by recalibrating his position.

  8. Tim says

    You can discount his intentions all you want, but you’re putting words in his mouth and attributing perspectives to him which you don’t know at all. At the end of the day, he recanted his stance on the issue and he was a major supporter in the first place. That stance is huge. We’ve all been wishing for more allies. Lets not beat them down when they join our side.

    As far as assuming he looks down on our relationships, don’t we do the same to a couple we don’t think look right together or who exist on opposite ends of a pay or weight scale? Judgement is universal so lets not worry too much about that. He is a supporter now. Welcome, sir.

  9. Jack says

    I have a lot of respect for this guy now, and anyone who can so thoughtfully change their mind, especially on something he feels so strongly about.

    Some of you make me ashamed to call myself gay, but for totally different reasons than I did before.

  10. Gaggie Mallagher says

    Who’s assuming?

    He explicitly says that he recants NOTHING, and that he does not believe that gay and lesbian relationships deserve the same recognition that penis-vagina marriages do.

    No one has to put words in his mouth. You can quote him directly and see he’s still spewing bigotry.

  11. Michaelandfred says

    Raindrops make a sea. While most of us remain skeptical and personally in a “too little too late” mind set, this will be groundbreaking to those foot soldiers on the other side who have blindly followed where he, and others, have led. This will start conversations and leave a gray area for those who have started feeling like bigots but saw no wiggle room or space to shift to the left.

    This is good news.

  12. Turbohand says

    That op-ed is more asinine than anything else he’s ever said.

    I think he should lose the 1970s haircut, but I guess I’ll tolerate it for now.

  13. REDBALL says

    BISH, PLZ.

    that excerpt was like 2 steps forward, 1.99 steps back.

    if i read one more qualification of his ‘acceptance’ of gays, i was going to scream.


  14. Kenneth says

    Well stated MICHAELANDFRED. Let us not lose sight of the forest for the trees. Not everyone is going to like us, not everyone is going to respect us. This is true within our own community, as well as the straight community. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that he is no longer actively trying to deny us our rights. He can look down his nose at me as much as he likes, it won’t hurt me or my feelings in the slightest. If he goes back to financing, testifying, campaigning to deny me the same rights enjoyed by my siblings, then I am going to have a problem with him. I’ll take concession, as long as I am equal in the eyes of the law.

  15. Wdeanis says

    I’m a little confused… Everyone in our community damned him for what he was doing against us. We work tirelessly to educate people like him that our love and devotion to our partners equals that of straight relationships, with the aim that one day they will understand us better and be more accepting. Then, when someone like him comes along and admits he was wrong, and that he has changed, even if it’s not as much as we hoped, we sill damn him… Are we fighting for acceptance? Or are we fighting for acceptance from a certain few?

    If someone could clear that up I’d appreciate it.

  16. Thanks For Not Much says

    “Then, when someone like him comes along and admits he was wrong, and that he has changed,….”

    @WDEANIS: IDIOT! Did you read the op-ed? He admitted no such thing! He says that he has NOT changed. He just encourages homophobes to stop attacking and villifying gays and lesbians on the marriage issue, not because opposing marriage equality is wrong, but because it’s a lost cause, and wasted effort.

  17. Love Me, Beat Me says

    So many gays. So much Stockholm Syndrome.

    Blankenhorn is not advocating Marriage Equality. He is not repudiating his bigoted views. He does not deserve admiration.

    We can be glad that he’s giving up. But no debt of gratitude should be incurred. And always be wary.

  18. Tim says

    OK, he may still believe what he believes but he’s stepping out of the way, which is the real point here. That’s a huge step when you consider the amount of money and time that went to his cause before. He’s making it less difficult for same sex couples to marry and raise families when preventing it before. Should gay couples not want to marry now because he doesn’t really believe it?

  19. Larry says

    David & I went to school together as kids. He was a self important and pompous windbag back then and he still is. He still considers himself smarter than anyone else. I suppose he is. He managed to pay himself tons of money while bilking people for donations. At least that is how it seems to me.

  20. Gerald B says

    If you don’t think he’s changed, then please show me previous statements in support of “the dignity of homosexual love”, or how gay marriage is a “victory for basic fairness”.

    This statement may not meet your approval – but it’s going to cost him funding, followers, and maybe even friendships. And he knows it. He didn’t have to write on op-ed piece. But he used it to explain how he got from where he was to his current position. It may seem like an insignificant move forward to you, but to his tribe this is revolutionary.

    He just might show some how to reason themselves out of their current all-or-nothing position.

  21. Mary says

    I don’t know what to make of Blankenhorn’s change of views. He is a social conservative, as I am, and I suppose I should assume he’s sincere. But truthfully he’s all over the place in this piece. He seems to be saying that gay love deserves dignity and respect and yet that gay relationships are somehow inferior socio-culturally. He thinks that the anti-gay marriage position still has “merits” but that we should abandon fighting for it because support for gay marriage seems to be the wave of the future. We can easily see why people question whether the motive for his change is finances or convenience as a scholar/writer.

    There is no doubt that many of us on the cutlural right have become more sympathetic to gay rights over time as we learn more about actual gay people and their stories and deal less with an abstract “gay community.” Also, it is hard to argue against LGBT families that in most cases are far more “traditional” in actual daily living than tons of “conservative” families that are falling apart.

    Also, Blankenhorn must be admitting what every social conservative knows in his heart – all political policy involves risk. There is no way to be sure what the correct decision is. It could very well be that gay marriage will end up having a relatively small effect on society as a whole. In this case support for it is a move toward justice – one that future historians will praise us for.

    But you must all find it hilariously funny that so many people who were against gay marriage are now coming out in favor of it! And there must be even more who are shifting their views in private. This should be a happy time for you!

  22. says

    Blankenhorn is a liberal who, to my knowledge, has supported just about every move for gay equality *except* marriage. In the space of a couple of years, he has gone from opposing to supporting same-sex marriage. Isn’t he basically doing what Obama did?

  23. cwm says

    So the head of the Flat Earth Society concedes–just paerhaps–those Copernicus and Galileo dudes mighta knew what they was talking bout yeh?

    But that doesn’t mean he’s gonna close down the fancy & lucrative Institute, population 1: ‘cuz I mean, he’s IAV’s one and onlyeeeee..

    (Tough to find a job these days)

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