I just finished reading David Blankenhorn’s interesting and excellent* The Future of Marriage. I’m not sure yet how I intend to blog about this, either as a more formal review-type post or a series of posts on the issues he raises, but I do want to draw your attention to something he says in the Acknowledgments at the end of the book as it echoes what I’ve been saying about gay marriage at least as long as I’ve been blogging about the topic:
Today’s gay marriage debate is an invaluable opportunity for Americans to have a serious national discussion about marriage’s meaning and future.
The greatest criticism I make of gay marriage advocates is that most are unwilling to have that conversation. They’ve reduced the discussion to a debate over rights and equality without considering the history of marriage and the very ideas the social institution embodies. Blankenhorn addresses these issues. It one reason I recommend his book.
To be sure, there are exceptions to this rule, gay marriage advocates who do consider the institution’s meaning. It’s just too bad they’re not more prominent in the debate. Instead we’re subject to those who blather on with their trite and treacly tirades against those who would deny their right to shack up with the individual of their choosing.
All too many neglect to address the social benefits of marriage and the obligations which inhere in this ancient institution. And the transformation it effects on those who agree to submit to its strictures.
*I use this adjective despite finding some flaws in the book. Blankenhorn repeats himself a bit overmuch in the second half and does not adequately address the point some gay marriage advocates, Jonathan Rauch most particularly, make about how expanding marriage to includ same-sex union could strengthen this ancient institution. That said, he offers a valuable argument backed up by much research. It’s why I recommend the book and believe it merits at least one review on this blog.