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The Sad Post-Perry Life of Profligate Prop 8 Witness David Blankenhorn

“My children wake up and see me called a bigot in the pages of the New York Times,” says David Blankenhorn, the disastrous Prop 8 defense witness engaged in a spat with the NYT‘s Frank Rich. You see, Blankenhorn doesn’t hate homosexuals, just their desire to take over marriage. So feel bad for him, okay?

You’ll remember Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values, as the guy who, on cross-examination, read aloud from his three-year-old book to David Boies — including the part where he said the country would be “more American on the day we permit same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.” He spent much of his time on the stand bolstering the plaintiff’s case, not refuting it. (This is what Boies was referring to when he called the defense’s case a “predicable disaster.”)

Thanks to his involvement in ProtectMarriage.com’s defense of Prop 8, the civil union supporter says he’s “losing friends, being told I’m on the wrong side of history.” Which he is! But he’s not going down without a fight, which is why he’s “recruited 13 college professors to attest to his credentials in a 12-page letter he sent to the Times asking the paper’s public editor to weigh if Rich’s columns were ‘consistent with the Times’ standards,” reports Gay City News. “Among the 13 were two University of Minnesota professors who support gay marriage, including Dale Carpenter, who is openly gay. Another gay marriage supporter from the Brookings Institution, a think tank, signed on as well.”

And while he says playing a role in the debate over marriage equality “is the single worst experience I have had in my public life,” and that he “dreaded getting into it … I feel like the issue hunted me down,” the self-professed “liberal Democrat” still insists he’s only trying to build stronger families. He’s such an expert in this field that, when asked during his Perry testimony about how excluding gays from the M-word does this, Blankenhorn could cite no scientific research backing up his claims.

By:           Arthur Dunlop
On:           Aug 6, 2010
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 26 Comments
    • David
      David

      boohoo. Fuckin bigot.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 10:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      “still insists he’s only trying to build stronger families”……Interesting, thats kinda sorta what we are seeking and why we want the exact same rights as any other citizen of the United Stats have regarding marriage……….

      Karma definatley exists. So very glad this hate spewing asshat is getting his comeuppance.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 10:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bump
      bump

      He acted like a narcisistic a$$hole on the stand–completely above reproach, showed no respect to Boies or Judge Walker. He clearly wanted to be in that courtroom to show off his superior knowledge. However, his only peer reviewed paper was on 17th century cabinetmaking and Walker categorically struck down every single point of his “expertise” from the trial–read the decision people, its amazing and a very quick read. Anyone who defends this filth as a person of good moral character, and learned scholarship on gay issues needs to have their own credentials called into question.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 11:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bruno
      Bruno

      This “Liberal Democrat” is more bigoted on this issue than Dick Cheney, for crying out loud.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 1:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • randy
      randy

      No one forced him to testify — he did on his own free will. What the heck did he expect?

      It’s goes to the arrogance of these anti-gay people — they believe so much that God is on their side that they don’t even have to justify their stands, no matter how ridiculous they are.

      But I can understand that. With between Fox News, which supports these people, and our terrific mainstream media, no one ever asks them the tough questions. They are allowed to spew out their silly memes “SSM will make cancer rates skyrocket!” “Men will abandon their children!” “Pregnant women will all have abortions!” and no one ever EVER asks them what the basis is for their fearmongering. So of course this guy thought it was going to be another cakewalk.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jay
      Jay

      David Boies sliced and diced his testimony during the trial. He kept blathering about how ssm would “deinstitutionalize” marriage, but when both Judge Walker and Boies repeatedly asked him how it would do that, he became tongue-tied. In his opinion Judge Walker thoroughly discredits him as an “expert.” Apparently, his idea of research extends no further than reading some other people’s materials and, on the basis of his intuition, deciding he likes this or dislikes that. He has no expertise in any social science methodology.

      He claims to “respect the equal dignity of gay love”; he just wants to deny gay people equal rights because somehow, some way, we will have some deleterious effect on marriage (as though heterosexual couples have done a great job with the institution).

      Aug 6, 2010 at 2:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • James UK
      James UK

      Poor David.

      I hope the defendants paid you a lot of money, because that testimony and Judge Walker’s wholly justified evisceration of your supposed credentials as an expert on anything at all has wrecked your career.

      You had it coming.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 2:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sandie
      Sandie

      I’m reading Walker’s decision;

      Blankenhorn seems to be saying that marriage has only one purpose, that of making sure sexual activity happens only within opposite-sex, state-sanctioned marriage, for the sole purpose of creating children who are the biological product of that opposite-sex activity.

      It’s a false AND anachronistic point of view.

      Nonetheless, it does set Blankenhorn up to be an expert witness when California voters outlaw adoption, re-marriage, marriage between folks too old to procreate, infertile couples, sperm/egg donation, etc., when the cases go to court.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      THIS is the kind of “Liberal” that screwed us during the Prop 8 election. They sit there at cocktail parties and espouse liberal views, then go into the voting booth and fuck us. Cry me a river Bigot!

      Aug 6, 2010 at 3:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gorbeh
      Gorbeh

      As a student of the University of Minnesota I know listening to professors is a quick way to fail the class. That’s the problem when they hire professors only to do research and “teaching” is just something they’re expected to do (which they don’t).

      Aug 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Err guys, if he wrote a book that said the U.S. would be “more American on the day we permit same-sex marriage than we were on the day before,” that hardly sounds like what a real bigot would say. My guess as to what happened is that Andrew Pugno et al. noted that he was the president of an organization called “American Values” and didn’t notice that this organization’s stated goals (according to http://www.americanvalues.org/intro/ ) are merely:
      1. To increase the proportion of children growing up with their two married parents.
      2. To renew the ethic of thrift and replace the culture of debt and waste.
      3. To help turn the intellectual tide against extremism in the Arab and Muslim world.
      4. To improve and civilize our public conversation.

      The defense apparently assumed “American values” or “family values” was being used in the sense they do – as a code word meaning “we hate gays”. They didn’t do their homework and it backfired on them. Instead of dumping on Blackenhorn, we should be laughing at Andrew Pugno (the defense lawyer). You’d almost think Blackenhorn was a liberal “mole” – someone who infiltrated the other side and sabotaged it.

      So, instead of dumping on him, we should thank him for helping to get Proposition Eight declared unconstitutional (and note: someone who was innocently roped in would take that statement as a complement whereas a real bigot would take it as an insult).

      Aug 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zach
      Zach

      It’s clear that Rich was well within his rights to call Blankenhorn out on his non-expertise.

      He’s also symptomatic of a rather naive mindset that was laid bare post-Prop 8. Many people genuinely believed they were gay-friendly, even as they voted or supported restricting marriage to heterosexuals. It’s as if there’s some wall in their brains where they can’t process the idea that gays would be offended by a culture that deifies the concept of marriage and denies it to them (In a similar vein, I had a friend who supported gay marriage, but was absolutely against gays adopting children, and couldn’t understand why I’d be outraged at his position).

      And it was equally naive to assume that you could promote some sort of middle ground as acceptable/tolerable to either side. The LGBT community clearly isn’t going to settle for civil unions anymore, and the religious freaks clearly won’t accept any pro-gay measures whatsoever, be it civil unions, anti-discrimination ordinances etc. Because in their heart of hearts, they believe gays are second-class citizens, and they realize that any measure, however incremental it might be, encourages enough people to think of homosexuality as natural and non-offensive. Not all, but enough to make a difference. So there’s no incentive for gays to accept an overall lesser course (because that way will be blocked as well), and even zealots aren’t that stupid.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 12 · Zach wrote, “It’s clear that Rich was well within his rights to call Blankenhorn out on his non-expertise. He’s also symptomatic of a rather naive mindset that was laid bare post-Prop 8. Many people genuinely believed they were gay-friendly, even as they voted or supported restricting marriage to heterosexuals.”

      Frank Rich did not call David Blakenhorn a bigot (the term used in QUEERTY’s article), however, and merely pointed out that Blakenhorn ended up in over his head. Calling him a bigot is the sort of overreaction we should avoid: possibly Blankenhorn simply hasn’t thought about it very much, so his ideas about marriage may be based on cultural images (e.g., the “bride and groom” dolls that traditionally appear on top of wedding cakes). After being led though the issue by David Boies during cross examination, he ended up making statements that supported same-sex marriages, which suggests he can be educated.

      We shouldn’t go out of our way to alienate someone who can be educated and who might end up on your side, particularly when that person has some useful resources at his disposal.

      BTW, Blakenhorn is the president of the Institute for American Values, which does not make him an expert on policy. Generally his position would require him to be a good manager and a good public speaker, not a good researcher. The people who should really be “blamed” are the defense lawyers who called him as an expert witness (I put “blamed” in quotes because normally you don’t blame someone who does you a favor even if they do it unintentionally).

      Aug 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      No one should feel anything but contempt for this paid prostitute for bigotry.

      Everyone who opposes our agenda for equality is a bigot. As are those who excuse, defend and support them.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • slobone
      slobone

      I guess no one should be surprised that the Yes on 8 folks were out-lawyered by Boies and Olson — but how the hell did they manage to tank so badly? You’d almost think their heart wasn’t in their work…

      Aug 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 15 · slobone wrote, “I guess no one should be surprised that the Yes on 8 folks were out-lawyered by Boies and Olson — but how the hell did they manage to tank so badly? You’d almost think their heart wasn’t in their work…”

      Well, someone who was trying to defend an ax murderer who made trophy videos of his crimes would do as poorly – if you have a completely indefensible case and are going up against two of the best lawyers in the country, the result is just what you saw.

      Fortunately, Boies knew how to walk witnesses like Blakenhorn through the issue to the point where Blakenhorn made statements in favor of same-sex marriage. If he had been questioned by someone with the attitude of another person posting comments on this thread, Blakenhorn would merely have been called a “paid prostitute for bigotry” and wouldn’t have hurt the opposition at all.

      Aug 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      If you want people not to call you a bigot, the simplest solution, nearly 100% effective even, is to not act and speak in a bigoted manner.

      Try it sometime.

      Aug 7, 2010 at 3:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jay
      Jay

      I am sure that Blankenhorn was well-compensated for his testimony. The proponents of Proposition 8 needed him. They were hamstrung by not being able to say what they really wanted to say because their entire argument for Prop 8 during the campaign was that marriage is a religious institution and homosexuals are a danger to children. That is how they won the campaign. However, neither of those arguments are permissible in court, since the Supreme Court has ruled that religious prejudice and animus are not appropriate reasons for enacting legislation.

      Hence, the proponents of Prop 8 had to desperately find someone whose opposition to same-sex marriage was not religious or obviously based on animus. So Blankenhorn fit the bill and profited handsomely for testifying.

      He turned out to be a disastrous witness because he is not a real expert; he only has opinions and speculations.

      I have no sympathy for him and I find GayCity News profile of him just a puff piece. I am tired of being asked to “feel the pain” of our enemies.

      Aug 7, 2010 at 9:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      I think we’re all tired of bigots like Blankenhorn, Rekers, McCain, Ashburn, der Papenfueher and the excuse monger who defends each of them.

      Pathetic creatures like that should be posting at Gay Patriot or become just another hack writer for Rush Limbaugh.

      Aug 7, 2010 at 10:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"
      Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

      Well fuck you Blankenhorn. Cry your tears that this “is the single worst experience I have had in my public life…” all you want.

      For me, I’ll keep my tears and sadness for all the gay kids slapped with the notion perpetuated by all the Blankenhorns (Maggot Gallagher to Need-my luggage-lifted Renkers) that they are undeserving of the American promise and validity that they too are endowed by their Creator to their very own “… pursuit of happiness.”

      Aug 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LARRY
      LARRY

      I am from Jackson Mississippi and grew up with David. He was a self-absorbed, self important prick as a young man and I think he is still one today. He always thought he was smarter and more intellectual than everyone else and he obviously never grew out of it. I have no sympathy for him. He peddles his opinion for a living so it is too bad that his opinion got him into this mess!

      Aug 7, 2010 at 4:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jeffree
      jeffree

      Taking out my personal feelings about how GLAD I am that Blanketman tanked, he was a poorly chosen expert, badly prepared by his attorneys to testify. I still can ‘t believe that they couldn’t find someone better qualified, but hey, good for us that they couldn’t.

      I don’t feel any sympathy for someone who professes expertise and can’t demonstrate it, nor for the lawyers who failed to vet their “star witness.”

      But I will send them wedding invitations!
      :-D

      Aug 7, 2010 at 5:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      The person who called Blankenhorn a “bigot” (with vague statements about an “excuse monger” as an attempt to hide his personal vendetta) just might want to see if he explain QUEERTY’s statement, “You’ll remember Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values, as the guy who, on cross-examination, read aloud from his three-year-old book to David Boies — including the part where he said the country would be ‘more American on the day we permit same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.’ He spent much of his time on the stand bolstering the plaintiff’s case, not refuting it.”

      Fact: a homophobic bigot would not write a book that says the U.S. would be “more American on the day we permit same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.” Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch’s op-ed piece in the New York Times also does not come across as bigoted (read it at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/22/opinion/22rauch.html ): you may not agree with it, but the stated rationale for a suggested compromise on the issue is, “In the case of gay marriage, a scorched-earth debate, pitting what some regard as nonnegotiable religious freedom against what others regard as a nonnegotiable human right, would do great harm to our civil society.”

      In terms of his opinions, Blankenhorn will eventually end up “on the wrong side of history” as his (former?) friends told him, but bigotry does not seem to be the reason: bigots don’t suggest compromises. What the history will actually be is that he ended up helping dismantle Proposition Eight by providing testimony favorable to its being declared unconstitutional, even though that testimony was dragged out of him.

      Aug 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Queer Supremacist
      Queer Supremacist

      @slobone: Their hearts weren’t in their work because they aren’t there.

      This glorified turkey baster assisted our enemies. I have as much sympathy for him as I do for Hitler’s stooges who said they “only followed orders”.

      Aug 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jay
      Jay

      B: I suppose that only David Blankenhorn can see into his own heart and know for certain whether or not he is a bigot. But it is good to remember that bigots seldom think that they are bigots. Most ardent segregationists in the South in the 1960s thought of themselves as bigots though they campaigned furiously for policies that were clearly bigoted. My very nice Louisiana grandmother could not understand how anyone could think that she was prejudiced. After all, she did good charitably works that benefited black people and claimed that she had nothing but love for “the darkies” both individually and as a race. She believed that God separated the races geographically and that therefore HE was in favor of segregation. Her Southern Baptist minister explained that to her. I suspect that in a decade or so the arguments mustered by David Blankenhorn against same-sex marriage will seem as quaint (and bigoted) as those of my Grandmother’s arguments against racial integration.

      Aug 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • idavid
      idavid

      I have to agree w B. David fucked himself in about every position imaginable. In a weird way he kinda took one for the team he doesn’t know he’s on, umm, yet?

      Aug 16, 2010 at 3:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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