If you've been immersed in the marriage equality debate, you'll know who David Blankenhorn is. He is perhaps the most clearly decent, intellectually honest, non-homophobic opponent of marriage equality. He has played a huge role in elevating the debate, in getting the right to take it more seriously, and in pioneering civil discussion. Along with Jon Rauch, he really tried to find common ground, rather than polarize or hyperbolize. And I think many involved in this intellectual combat can be proud of themselves for maintaining greater civility than exists in many other emotional, personal debates. In the grass roots it can get brutal, as it can online. But the arguments we've had in person have been usually civil. Jon Corvino's book with Maggie Gallagher is an example of this, as is their dog-and-pony show on the debate circuit.

But I bury my lede. Blankenhorn has switched sides and is now in favor of marriage equality, and explains why on NPR right now. Click here for the audio. He has an essay in the NYT on the subject as well. Money quote:

I had hoped that the gay marriage debate would be mostly about marriage’s relationship to parenthood. But it hasn’t been. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say that I and others have made that argument, and that we have largely failed to persuade. In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens. And to my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus. To me, a Southerner by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing.

David was a good man when he was opposed to marriage equality and he is a good man now. We need more like him.