Tarred by the Bigot Brush

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
June 3 2010 11:16 AM

Tarred by the Bigot Brush

Last month, Emily B . was enjoying a dose of schadenfreude over the fall of gay marriage opponent Dr. George A. Rekers, who's called homosexuality a "gender disturbance" and a sexual perversion, and who was caught taking a 10-day trip to Europe with a male prostitute he met through rentboy.com. Rekers' scandal left few remaining academics who publicly oppose gay marriage. David Blankenhorn is one of the last men standing-he was one of only two expert witnesses testifying in defense of California's Prop 8, and the other was speaking more to a legal question than to gay marriage itself-and he accuses the media of wrongfully attempting to paint him with the Rekers' bigot brush.

Blankenhorn puts forth a lengthy defense-he "believes in the equal dignity of homosexual love," and he's worked with gay marriage advocate Jonathan Rauch to explore compromises on the issue. His views are indeed nuanced: He opposes gay marriage on the grounds that it will devalue the social contract of marriage, which exists to enforce societal norms binding both parents to the care of their children. Removing the biological imperative, he argues, reduces marriage to an easily dismissed private matter, which will weaken not just the institution but society as a whole. He has only read one paper by Rekers at the request of the attorneys defending Prop 8.


Rekers, Blankenhorn says, is "the last person on earth whose views I wish to endorse." And yet he has. Because no matter how elegant and defensible your arguments against discrimination may be, when you make them, you lay down with others who make a less appealing case. Blankenhorn accuses the media of tying him to Rekers based only on one paper in a list of things he's read, but of course, there's more to it than that. Blankenhorn gets linked with Rekers because they're in agreement on a simple yes or no question that's on our collective minds: Should same-sex marriage be legal? A full 42 percent of us say yes . Blankenhorn and Rekers both say (loudly) no. Unfortunately for Blankenhorn, many people believe that's all there is to it. If he doesn't like it, he may need to consider getting out of the bed.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.