Politics & Government

Prop 8 witness says gay marriage undermines traditional marriage

The star witness for backers of Proposition 8 testified Tuesday that he's confident — but has no evidence — that same-sex marriage would increase divorce rates and lower the rate of heterosexual marriage.

David Blankenhorn, president of the New York-based Institute for American Values, said in federal court in San Francisco that he opposes gay marriage partly because of studies contending that children have better "outcomes" if raised by a biological mother and biological father.

While a "positive" outcome for a child is not guaranteed by this arrangement, Blankenhorn said heterosexual marriages serve as "seed beds from which come good citizens" who are more likely to make contributions to society.

Gay couples contend in their federal lawsuit challenging Proposition 8 that its gay marriage ban amounts to unconstitutional discrimination.

But the measure's defenders counter that voters had a fundamental social interest in limiting marriage to a man and a woman for child-rearing purposes.

David Boies, an attorney for the plaintiffs, questioned Blankenhorn's credentials and conclusions and noted that Blankenhorn had written in a book that "we would be more American" if gays were permitted to wed and their children would be better off.

Austin Nimocks, an attorney for Proposition 8 defenders, told reporters during a break in the proceedings that Blankenhorn's remark was based on a hypothetical presumption that same-sex marriage and heterosexual marriage were equal.

"He made it clear it was not," Nimocks said.

Nimocks called Blankenhorn a "renowned expert" in marriage. Blankenhorn has written books and articles, many of them arguing that fatherless families are harmful to children.

To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.

Related stories from McClatchy DC