SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Legalizing gay marriage would have drastic consequences for children and society, according to "marriage and family values expert" David Blankenhorn, the final witness in the trial challenging California's same-sex marriage ban. Gay marriage might even result in the downfall of the institution of marriage altogether, Blankenhorn warned.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker allowed Blankenhorn's testimony Tuesday despite objections from plaintiffs' lawyer David Boies, who said Blankenhorn's lack of relevant credentials made him an unsuitable expert witness.
Blankenhorn, who presides over the Institute for American Values and is the author of two books, "Fatherless America" and "The Future of Marriage," said marriage is "a socially approved sexual relationship between a man and a woman," whose primary aim is the conception and rearing of children.
"It's a gift we give to children. It addresses their need to know and be known by their biological parents" Blankenhorn said. He added that changing marriage's purpose from procreative and child-centric to "a private adult commitment" would weaken the institution.
"If we move toward the widespread adoption of same-sex marriage, I do have a great deal of confidence in the likelihood of the weakening of marriage. It's hard to imagine how it could be otherwise," Blankenhorn said. "The evidence is compelling that same-sex marriage will accelerate the process of de-institutionalization and the consequences will be felt by everyone in society."
Blankenhorn said he fears that gay marriage will lead to higher divorce rates and cohabitation, the devaluing of fatherhood, and even "alternative family forms" such as legalized polygamy.
If gays and lesbians have their way, he warned, it will become "impermissible and divisive to say a child needs her father." At this point Boies interrupted to protest that Blankenhorn was "going beyond even the broadest definition scope of the definition of an expert, even for a bench trial."
Under cross-examination from Boies, Blankenhorn could not provide the names of scholars he relied upon when forming his conclusions. But Blankenhorn said he was sure that scholars would agree with him if they were called to testify.
Blankenhorn said he supports domestic partnerships, as "a humane compromise" that would "protect marriage while extending recognition to gay and lesbian couples."
But Blankenhorn said he is unsure whether domestic partnerships are the best solution.
"I still worry that domestic partnerships could have a weakening effect on the institution of marriage, but I still think it's something we should do anyway. I've satisfied myself on the issue of fairness," he said. "We may not get everything we want, but we can have a compromise here."
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