Blankenhorn and Marquardt: Amendment goes too far

04.11.2012, 9:31 AM

We have an opinion piece in today’s Raleigh News and Observer:

If you want to create a backlash against mother-father marriage – if you want to convince people that the real agenda of marriage advocates is not protecting marriage, but ignoring and ostracizing gay people – then this amendment might be to your liking. But we believe that the cause of marriage is hurt, not helped, by gratuitously linking it to the cause of never under any circumstances helping gay and lesbian couples.


30 Responses to “Blankenhorn and Marquardt: Amendment goes too far”

  1. soren says:

    You two are not nobodies… did you speak up while the “sausage was being cooked” for this amendment? If not, I find the op-ed absolutely disgraceful and naive.

    1. Civil unions along side marriage are currently on extremely shaky legal grounding.
    2. If the amendment is rejected it would be the first time one has been rejected democratically… and the popular message sent out of why it was rejected won’t be for the reasons you guys are exposing.

  2. fannie says:

    I know we disagree on the marriage issue, Elizabeth and David, but thanks for writing this piece.

    The message seems to be aimed at those who, like you, oppose SSM but still believe that same-sex couples deserve respect and legal rights, benefits, and protections.

    I guess we will see if there are enough such people in North Carolina.

  3. [...] an Op-Ed in the Raleigh News-Observer, David Blankenhorn and Elizabeth Marquardt come out in opposition to North Carolina’s Amendment One, against marriage rights, which [...]

  4. Hi soren, believe it or not I learned about the NC proposed amendment a while back in the newspapers, the same way everyone else did.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    This is a positive step forward. Congratulations.

  6. Chris Gable says:

    Thanks to Elizabeth and David for this. It’s a very good thing.

    I think this recognizes the fact that about 70% of Americans support civil legal recognition of gay couples, and only about 25% oppose it. (That 25% figure is very close to the percentage of people who oppose nondiscrimination laws and DADT repeal not coincidentally. http://www.pollingreport.com/civil.htm) Though of course the law, as is often the case, is behind public opinion.

    To Soren’s point: I understand. However, I am very happy that Elizabeth and David are here today. I think we can all agree that defeating this amendment in NC is very important.

    I will say — a similar amendment is working it’s way through the legislature in Indiana. It passed the legislature last year, and per Indiana law, must be passed in a consecutive term to be sent to the voters. Here is the language: “Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”. It is being supported by NOM and opposed by some major Indiana business interests, particularly Cummins Engine (a very large auto parts firms – not a consumer marketer and I think that’s significant (they can’t be courting DiNKs (double income no kids) households).

    “This resolution sends a powerful message that Indiana is not a place that welcomes people of all backgrounds, and it jeopardizes our ability to be competitive in global markets,” Jill Cook, vice president of human resources, testified Wednesday.

    Following is NOM’s ad taking Cummins to task in their local paper for opposing this amendment that would outlaw civil unions in the Indiana Constitution. Now, we all know about Indiana.

    http://www.nomblog.com/6711/

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/51727833/NOM-s-Full-Page-Ad-in-Columbus-IND-Republic

    http://www.ibj.com/indiana-senate-approves-marriage-amendment/PARAMS/article/26220

    http://www.therepublic.com/view/local_story/Cummins_Gay_marriage_ban_bad_f_1300328368/

  7. Chris Gable says:

    Jonathan Capehart is a friend. I chatted with him about this the other day, and am glad he did a piece on it.

  8. Mark Diebel says:

    This is news for some of us in the Capital Region of NY…i.e., North Carolina’s plans for a constitutional amendment…and the work of NOM in Indiana. Thanks for the heads up about it.

  9. Mark Diebel says:

    Also, great response.

  10. Despite our disagreements, I thought this editorial was wonderful. Thanks, Elizabeth and David, for writing it.

    Soren, just because I’m a pendant, let me point out that this would in fact be the second time such an amendment was defeated. The first time was when Arizonians voted down proposition 107 in 2006; most observers believe that prop 107 lost because it was overbroad, and targeted both marriage and civil unions. A couple of years later Arizona passed a proposition banning same-sex marriage but not civil unions.

  11. JeffreyRO5 says:

    If I may borrow from NOM’s playbook, I would like to see a wedge driven between the anti-marriage equality people who support civil unions, and the anti-marriage equality people who don’t support any kind of legal recognition for same-sex couples. Such a wedge could divert resources from the usual spreading of misinformation about gays and lesbians or their families, or the irrational notions about marriage as it relates to parenting.

    And perhaps, again relying on NOM’s insights on how to wage this “war,” we could find some children of adults who oppose equal legal rights, including marriage, for gay people, and those kids can tell us how awful it is to be raised by people with these homophobic feelings.

  12. nobody.really says:

    I’m oddly moved by Elisabeth’s and David’s editorial.

    People who “out” themselves willingly risk ostracization in pursuit of some larger goal. Pursuit of a larger goal is laudable, and all the more so when the pursuit comes at personal cost.

    Elizabeth and David have just outed themselves among their socially conservative supporters. They had no specific duty to speak up; no one would have noticed the absence of their participation in some parochial squabble. Yet they went out of their way to speak up, knowing that they would draw the ire of many people who vociferously share a different view about appropriate public policy for homosexuals.

    Moreover, Elizabeth and David are able to speak – and be heard – by people who would be unlikely to give the slightest weight to anything I would say.

    Thank you, Elizabeth. Thank you, David. Your words will not open every eye or every heart, but they will help to open some. And a heart once opened does not quickly close.

    Drop by drop is the rock worn away. Whatever the outcome on May 8, the compassion and goodwill you have displayed – the good you have done — will outlive us all.

  13. fannie says:

    I agree with much of what you say, nr.

    However:

    “no one would have noticed the absence of their participation in some parochial squabble.”

    I think many LGBT people and allies who follow the marriage debate do notice when prominent folks who claim not to be anti-gay remain silent with respect to truly cold, really bigoted-appearing measures like NC’s proposed amendment.

    Like Capehart’s editorial suggests, because it is so rare for such folks to publicly speak out in this way, he (and me, and others) truly were stunned that they did so.

    Many “marriage defenders” claim that they have nothing against LGBT people or same-sex families, while simultaneously opposing everything gay (at worst) or remaining willfully ignorant as to how various anti-LGBT measures tangibly affect our lives (at best). It’s hard for me to take people’s claims that they’re not motivated by anti-gay animus at face value when they are unable to make even small pro-LGBT concessions.

    Elizabeth and David had no obligation or duty to do speak out on this issue, but I do consider their editorial to be an act of putting their money where there mouth is, so to speak.

  14. Since you’re collecting links, here’s David Link’s flattering post at Independent Gay Forum. (Link is my favorite of the regular bloggers there.)

    Unfortunately, he credits the editorial solely to David, rather than to David and Elizabeth.

  15. Elizabeth marquardt says:

    That’s ok. :)

  16. marilynn says:

    I think its nice that they wrote this, but I’m not as thrilled as the rest of you are. I’m an enormous fan of Elizabeth’s for her firm stance against the practice of gamete donation in its entirety, because as she said, its probably not good enough to just have a known donor being the cool aunt or uncle. So I’m thinking its probably not good enough to “let” gays and lesbians get kinda-sorta-almost-married, if your a person concerned with equality, civil rights, stuff like that.

    See to me it seems less like compassion for gays and lesbians that it is part of a tactical plan to keep legal marriage reserved nationally for men and women alone and their organization has a better chance of achieving that goal nationally if the various states leave their law books *open to the possibility* of allowing some sort of domestic partnership thing. Its being thrown a bone. Let them eat cake. Separate but equal. Wait no, its not exactly equal.

    Much like with ending anonymity in gamete donation, cause yay! We want no more anonymity…the rest of the sentence is still there “in gamete donation”. That is to say if they give donor offspring this thing then its ok to keep them having fewer rights than the rest of the people. Other people have a right to their biological parents financial and physical support, not them. Other people have a right to a birth record (even if it is hidden) that is medically accurate for their own use and for statistical and research purposes. Other people have a right to a court approved adoption before being raised by someone who is not a genetic parent. So what I’m saying is that other people have the right to marry the spouse who is their preference in terms of gender. Are gays and lesbians not people? Is there anything in any family or health code anywhere in the country that says people who are not married will not be bound to support their children? No there is not. So if ya’ll were worried that unmarried people were not going to have to take care of their kids, that’s totally covered and if ya’ll were worried that gay people are going to destroy biological parenthood due to using donor gamets then plot a course to make biological parents responsible for their children, period and get rid of the privliged class of “donors” who are not obligated to support their children. Then you don’t have to worry about two men’s names on a birth certificate or worry about the wrong straight man’s name on a birth certificate.

    I’m sure everyone will be all ticked off at me for saying that this is strategic. They believe they’ll get further if the states leave the possibility for domestic partnership open. Look just don’t forget you guys that there is no reason for the gender requirement in order to meet the terms of civil marriage. You don’t have to settle for separate and kinda-sorta-equal. They are nice, or at least they seem nice and they do seem to genuinely care that you have some institution to satisfy your desire for marriage but it does not make it a fair or just or reasonable position to take. If you have not noticed, there is no legal basis for the campaign to limit your rights – its just the personal preference of the majority. Your civil liberties held hostage by the majority based on their preference for the way things should be. The way you should be. I’m dissappointed that civil unions are acceptable to you. Maybe there is an alternate strategy to obtian this right in stages. Its not my issue and maybe I have missed the point.

    I just like to see my country treat people fairly. If I’m weighing the two things donor offspring rights to not be bought and sold vs gays and lesbians rights to get married I gotta go with the right not to be sold like livestock. But they are two unrelated things in reality so I can give my full support to both causes. I give my full time to stopping the ownership of people though. So does Elizabeth I applaud her for that. I’m truly a fan Elizabeth. Hope your not offended that I really could not disagree with you more on the same sex marriage issue.

  17. fannie says:

    No surprise from me that the writer at Indy Gay Forum apparently didn’t see Elizabeth’s name on the piece (and that the other commenters, all men I believe, failed to notice).

    Indy Gay Forum is a pretty male-centric, nonfeminist, dudes-talking-to-dudes-about-other-dudes type of atmostphere.

  18. Elizabeth marquardt says:

    Fannie, gay dudes talking to dudes was one reason I looked for a sharp blogger who happened to be a lesbian woman to guest blog here :)

  19. JeffreyRO5 says:

    I think the practice of divorce is instructive as to what marriage is about, or “for,” as the purpose-driven marriage apologists see it. Supporters of limiting marriage to straight people insist that marriage is about procreation. It’s about parenting the children you created. Or it’s about bringing the different sexes together.

    Yet straight couples divorce even though both persons are still fertile (or infertile, as the case may be). And when they have children to be raised. And yes, even though they are still one male and one female (no one changed his or her sex, negating the reason to marry). Obviously, marriage must be about something besides having the ability to create a baby, or being of different sexes: couples whose procreative abilities and genders didn’t change from the time they got married, get divorced. Clearly, if humans are rational, divorce must be the result of a change of circumstance or condition. And it isn’t procreative ability or gender.

    I’ll take the next step and suggest that marriage is about two people making a commitment for the long haul (or at least with that time frame in mind), and wanting to solidify that commitment with marriage. Heck, they might even love each other.

    I realize nothing I say will convince the “marriage is for straight people only” disciples that marriage might actually be quite suitable for gay people, too. But I feel it’s worth something to go on record as someone who sees through the warm and fuzzy, though obviously illogical, rhetoric that provides what anti-gay marriage people seem to feel is their fail-safe philosophical safe haven.

  20. fannie says:

    Thanks Elizabeth :-)

    I have to admit I was kind of annoyed on your behalf that you didn’t credit for the piece at Indy Gay Times. I don’t like to see women’s work and contributions made invisible.

  21. In general I too would be and am quite annoyed –I guess in the moment I was hardly surprised that I was invisible at IGF : )

  22. Chris Gable says:

    To be honest, IGF, represents an unfortunate strain in gay male conservative politics, it’s often the when-I-get-mine-to-hell-with-the-rest-of-you train of thought. Not my way.

  23. Chris Gable says:

    I have to chime in here as a business owner (manufacturing/branding/sales of consumer brands).

    Henry Ford (yeah he was a piece of work at least but he…), had a great operating premise – he wanted his employees to make enough to be able to buy his products.

    When you spread that operating cash around – invest it in personnel – you get higher productivity, and an expanded market for products you sell (especially if they have uniqueness or innovation), if only upper and upper middle class people can afford your product, you are shrinking your market and exposing your business to greater downturn when the economy contracts.

    The point is that the more people who have opportunity and legal protections the more the economy grows. Happily this is at the nexus of self-serving and the right thing to do. My experience with IGF, essentially a site for gay (male) conservatives is that they don’t understand these axioms, so it’s often about what is immediately needed in their situations.

  24. Chris Gable says:

    I have to chime in here as a business owner (manufacturing/branding/sales of consumer brands).

    Henry Ford (yeah he was a piece of work at least but he…), had a great operating premise – he wanted his employees to make enough to be able to buy his products.

    When you spread that operating cash around – invest it in personnel – you get higher productivity, and an expanded market for products you sell (especially if they have uniqueness or innovation), if only upper and upper middle class people can afford your product, you are shrinking your market and exposing your business to greater downturn when the economy contracts.

    The point is that the more people who have opportunity and legal protections the more the economy grows. Happily this is at the nexus of self-serving and the right thing to do. My experience with IGF, essentially a site for gay (male) conservatives is that they don’t understand these axioms, so it’s often about what is immediately needed in their situations.