Pace Law School hosts a debate on gay marriage with David Blankenhorn, author of The Future of Marriage, and Evan Wolfson, author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry.
David Blankenhorn is founder and president of the Institute for American Values and the author of Fatherless America.
Evan Wolfson is a civl rights attorney and founder of the organization Freedom to Marry.
David Blankenhorn is founder and president of the Institute for American Values, a private, nonpartisan organization devoted to contributing intellectually to the renewal of marriage and family life and the sources of competence, character, and citizenship in the United States.
Stephen J. Freidman
Dean, Pace University, Law School
Friedman comes to Pace after serving for the past eleven years as a senior partner at Debevoise and Plimpton LLP in New York, one of the nationâ€™s preeminent international law firms. Prior to that, he was Executive Vice President and General Counsel of The Equitable Companies Incorporated and its subsidiary, The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. Before joining Equitable in 1988, Friedman was Executive Vice President of the E.F. Hutton Group, Inc. (1986-88) and a partner at Debevoise (1981-86 and 1965-77).
In 2003-2004, he was noted as one of the Best Lawyers in America in a guide by that name, which cited him for corporate, mergers and acquisitions, and securities law.
A prominent American civil rights attorney and advocate. He is the founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry, a national non-profit organization working for marriage equality between gay and straight couples. Wolfson authored the book Why Marriage Matters; America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry.
Body of legal specifications and requirements and other laws that regulate the initiation, continuation, and validity of marriages. In western Europe most marriage law derives from Roman Catholic canon law. Although the church regards marriage as a sacred, indissoluble union, modern western European and U.S. marriage law treats it as a civil transaction. Marriage law allows only monogamous unions; partners must be above a certain age and not within prohibited degrees of blood relationship; and they must be free to marry and give consent to the marriage. Divorce is now almost universally allowed. Although Islamic law regards marriage as a contract between the two spouses for the legalization of intercourse and the procreation of children, it is also considered a gift from God or a kind of service to God; the Islamic practice of polygamy was always limited and has waned. Polygamous marriages are permitted under customary laws in many African countries, though there has been a growing trend toward monogamy. Marriage law in present-day China and Japan resembles that in the West. Although most jurisdictions restrict marriage to a union between a man and a woman, same-sex marriages have been legalized in The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, and Sweden, as well as several U.S. states. Civil unions or domestic partnerships between persons of the same sex, which entail many of the rights and obligations assumed by married couples, are recognized in numerous other jurisdictions, including several European countries and some U.S. states. Other U.S. jurisdictions, while not recognizing civil unions or domestic partnerships, grant a range of legal rights to same-sex couples.
The first speaker, Blankenhorn, speaks so timidly, so defensively, that one thinks he is the one advocating for the issue, instead of stating the facts of marriage as such. I really think that the thing should be stated in more strong basis. Maybe Dr. Blankenhorn thinks he is "for" something, but it would be so good that it would be the right thing. ¿How it is that when speaking about "animal rights" we can 'see' human and animals, and between rights relations among different nations or communities we can be able to 'see' this and that community distinctly separated, in order to be able to define the right being argued about, and when seeing marriage we cannot see man and woman, but start speaking about "persons" (or "souls", as some protestants do)? If tou do that, then all the terrible road to admitting worse things will be cleared and ready to tread.
Long ago when nations were religiously influenced,they decided to take the religious union of marriage and declare it as legally recognized along with granting it legal status and benefits. All is well so far except the term they used to name this state recognized civil union was still 'marriage'. In essence, married in the eyes of God became the same as legally married. Except it wasn't the same because as religion separated from government, people could get legally married without religious involvement.
'Legally married' and 'religiously married' got a divorce but they still kept the same name. That is when the word marriage was redefined. At the time, the religious may have been upset that couples could be declared 'married' without the church but it was accepted and understood that although, in their eyes, those marriages were not religiously valid, they appeared otherwise tolerable enough to 'pose' as married. Now enter gay marriage. How can two members of the same sex 'pose' as married? They can't, atleast not in the religious definition of marriage. The word 'Marriage' has been redefined for quite some time now and gay marriage simply forces us to finally accept that reality. But it is just a word. The religious concept of marriage still holds true for us that are religious and I think we just need to finally accept that we lost exclusivity to the word "marriage" a long time ago. For all practical purposes, the word marriage is now synonymous with civil union. When gays are married, understand that they are not being married per the original definition. They are simply engaging in a civil union that has nothing to do religiously with the original concept of marriage except the name. If they want to use the name so bad, let them use it. It's just a word and we still know the true meaning.
The gay marraige debate is the first salvo fired by the far right in a campaign to reinstate a medieval civilization in the Western World.
Once this has been achieved the next marraige debate will be whether marraige should only be considered legal
between ONE man and ONE woman vs." a man and a woman."
Look for plenty of so-called data once again to document the harmful effect divorce has on the children from "broken" homes and dire warnings about how harmful divorce will be for these children...and we can't be endorsing child abuse or remain silent while these children are being sacrificed! It is scary and it is true.
The silent middle who have stayed on the sidelines in this debate better get on board because they are the next targets.
Hopefully you will join us now and defeat the encroaching medievalism, before it is too late
Or the future may see a new Crusades
I am a gay male, and to be fair I do appreciate Blankenhorn's values. If we did have a society in which every mother and father who brought a child into the world cared for and loved that child such would be ideal. We are far from an idel. I am wondering what his thoughts on straight marriage in which children of only one party is a natural parent? Also, his tee-shirt, with the "my father's name is 'Donor,'" print, I am certain is not funny to many gays, and my straight roommate wants one for her baby because of problems with the father. I do agree with his idea of strengthening marriage as a pro child institution. I wish he spoke more of what an ideal module would look like which also upheld the constitutional decree to extend equal protection under the law to gay families.
He is very intelligence, I wish he would put his energy into finding more solutions to divorce, education and child abuse which is more harmful to children than having two parents of the same gender.
I'm still waiting for someone to make any compelling, logical, historically accurate argument against gay marriage. Is there anyone out there capable of doing so? If there is, I wish they would be invited to participate in these kinds of debates.
If marrige is about raising children and the primary reason for denying gay couples the right to marry is procreation, then why do sterile heterosexual couples have the right to marry? A woman with Turner's Syndrome has the right to marry a man, and she will probably not produce offspring. That argument seems like a thinly veiled attempt to justify biological prejudices.
The problem is that he's arguing for a conception of marriage that isn't true for modern legal unions.
The trouble here is, the arguments made by Blankenhorn are based solely on his perspective as a Christian rather than what is a Civil Rights issue. It boils down to this statement made by Thomas Jefferson, "Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression." --Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. ME 3:318
We are a nation of equal laws. We are a Secular society, the Middle East is sectarian, not a model we should follow. We are a nation with Separation of Church and State for the obvious reason that we are a melting pot and as those who lived during the Bible Riots of Philadelphia learned, even those who agree on the same belief, have different tenets. We are a land of individuals who look out for the collective good of the UNITED States of America. And if we are in any way based on Christianity, the basic message is to live and let live, love thy neighbor as thyself and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. EVERY founder said we cannot expect a right we are not willing to extend.
This is an example of what FORA.tv is about.... A polarizing issue that clearly divides our country. Why is this important? Because this was the issue that decided the last election... Not the War on Iraq, The Economy, Social Security, HealthCare, or Education.
Good evening and welcome to this next evening in Pace Law School's public policyseries. We have covered Iraq we've talked about Enron and tonight we talk aboutwhether legislature should authorize same sex marriage. We put the question in thoseterms in order to emphasize the fact that we are not, this evening really talking about thelegal and constitutional issues. So the issue is not whether a state law that onlyauthorizes a marriage for heterosexuals is constitutional, we are not talking about whetherfederal tax laws and state inheritance laws and such which only provide benefits tomarried couples and therefore in most states only heterosexual couples is constitutional.We are really addressing the, we hope the basic issues which is why is it so important tothe gay community to have something called marriage as opposed to different kind offormal relationship or informal relationship. And why is it significant number ofAmerican's and organizations are opposed to same sex marriage.Our speakers this evening are David Blankenhorn who is Founder and President of theInstitute for American Values and Evan Wolfson who is Executive Director of Freedomto Marry, they both have distinguished and impressive careers. Mr. Blankenhorn is agraduate of Harvard College holds an M.A. from the Warwick University in Coventry inEngland. He served for two years as VISTA volunteer and is one of the Founders ofNational Fatherhood Initiative. Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School said of him,"No one writes about the crisis in American family life with more candor, intelligence,and sympathetic understanding than David Blankenhorn". He is the author five books onthe family and fatherhood. Evan Wolfson went to Yale College and the Harvard LawSchool and he spend two years with the Peace Corps in West Africa. He served asAssociate Counsel in the Iran/Contra investigation and was an Assistant District Attorneyin the DA's office in Brooklyn. In 2004 he was named by Time Magazine as one of themost, one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He is the author of "WhyMarriage Matters; America, Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry".Now let me say just a few procedural points before we begin. We are going to begin withshort statements from each of our panelist. And then I am going to ask each of themsome questions and then we will open the floor for the questions from all of you. Whenyou ask you question I ask that you use the microphone, we are recording this, thisevening and if you don't use the microphones in the two aisles then your questions won'tbe part of this proceedings and we want them to be. Finally if you are interested you willbe able to purchase the most recent books by both of these panelists for a variety oflogistical reasons it's going to be done in our book stall which is in (Aloysia) Hall and forthose who, and they will there to sign copies if their book. And for those of you whodon't know where that is we will have guides outside the door at the conclusion. So withthat let's begin in alphabetical order with Mr. Blankenhorn's opening statement.Good evening. I am honor to be on the same program with Evan Wolfson. He is aleader, an important leader of an important movement to extend the equal marriage rightsto gay and lesbian couples. I read his stuff; I admire him for the leadership that he hasshown. I didn't come here to be against something, I came here to be for something. Isay in this book that I just wrote that I believe very strongly and dignity and worth ofhomosexual love. I believe we are all born equal in rights and in dignity. I am from thesouth and the morally paradigmatic experience of my life was the civil rights movement.And so I hope I am sensitive to the issue of civil rights and for that reason I am a life longDemocrat politically, Liberal Democrat. So I am, I don't think I am against something, Iam for something. And what I am for is this gift that human societies give their children.It's this astonishing proposition that we make on their behalf and what we say is that forevery child who comes into the world we want it to be that they will be loved and raisedby the mother and the father whose union made the child. That these two people will notmerely be the biological procreators that they will be the social inheritance, the motherand the father are legally and socially nurturing that child, they would be there, the gift tothe child was the parents who made the child being there for the child and being there for one another.And in human societies there is a name for this arrangement, this promise, thiscommitment, this fragile thing that so important that we try to give to our children. Thename of that is marriage. That's why we have marriage, that's why the anthropologisttell us the, not the only reason that marriage exist but the central, universal, fundamentalreason for the institution is to give the child the gift of the parents who made them. Thatgift is being revoked today in the United States. Many trends and initiatives andorganizations and people are among those who would revoke that promise and one ofthem is my colleague Evan Wolfson who, just so you heard in his own words, he says onin his book which you should all read, he says "leading experts do not say children fairbetter with the mother and the father" and the not is italicized, and he goes on to somelinks to say no, people who say this mother father business are right wingers their have,hidden a gender maybe and there are possibly bigoted people but they, no the expectsdon't say this and it's offensive and unfair when people do say it. So if you want to knowthe difference between us, that's it and in nutshell. I've spent my whole life studying andbeing a public advocate to the best of my ability for this gift of the mother and the fatherfor the child. And Evan says that the leading experts don't say that's important, it's not,they don't feel, children do not feel better this way.And, the United Nations declaration of human rights in the United Nations, conventionon the rights of the child, this proposition that Evan is proposing would requirespecifically to renounce the language of the UN declaration of human rights and the UNconvention on the rights of the child, because I am sure many of you know thatconvention specifically says that is the affirmative responsibility of society to doeverything it can to make sure that children are have the right to know and be known byand to be raised by their own natural parents. That's the UN convention on the rights ofthe child. So the proposition on which Evan is a leader would specifically cause us tohave to retract and renounce that commitment.There is a company in New Jersey that sells, T-Shirts and other things for children topromote family diversity and same sex marriage and one of the T-Shirts not surprisingsays "Let My Parents Marry" another T-Shirt if you go to their website a cute little childwith the T-Shirt it says "My Daddy's Name is Donor" so you know if the philosophy ofchanging marriage so that the cute child in the cute T-Shirt, "My Daddy's Name isDonor", that's what I am saying is not in the interest of our children. And now we have avery high rate of divorce that's also obviously causing a threat to this gift that I amdescribing. We have a very high rate of out of wedlock childbearing, single parenthomes the whole panoply of things and in the book I try to argue that, all of them, all ofthe things chipping away at the integrity of the institution that gives our child this gift issomething that we should question as a society, something that we should do our best togo in a different direction. So that's really the heart of my case, I don't think thatstrengthening marriage as a pro-child social institution is beyond our power as a society, Ithink we can do it, I try in the book to list a lot of practical ways that we can, we canimprove the likelihood of children growing up being protected by this institution.I don't think that the question that we are debating to me at least is not a question of goodversus bad. Sometimes people who are against gay marriage, they say well the goodthing is marriage and the bad thing is homosexuals, in sometimes people on the other sidesay the good thing is equal rights and the bad thing is bigotry. And what I am proposingto you is that it's not, as I see either of those, it's not a question of good versus bad; it's aquestion of good versus good. Goods in conflict, it's a good thing to treat everyoneequally and to have equal rights and in my opinion it's a good thing to respect andrecognize gay and lesbian relationships and the importance of homosexual love andcommitment in our society, it's a good thing. I also think it's a good thing to promisethrough our institutions the protection of children by giving them the mother and fatherwho raised them. This institution called marriage is a good thing especially for children.What I am arguing in the book is that to some degree these two good things these twodesirable goals are in conflict with one another and so as ethically sensitive people it'sour job to evaluate, see if it is just good versus bad its not, the moral evaluation is easy.With good versus good there is anguish involved, this certainly is for me. My conclusionis that because children are have less of an ability to speak for themselves and becausethey are more vulnerable their needs should trump the adult needs in this question. It'sdebatable good people on both sides but that's my evaluation.Last point I'll make is that Evan in his book defines marriage as "a specific relationshipof love and dedication to another person". And if I had more time I was going to say why thisis wrong. It's not even close; it's just not even remotely close to a definition ofmarriage. I have specific relationships of love and commitment to many people to whomI am not married. And so unless someone can tell me what else marriage is besides aspecific relationship of love and commitment, I have nothing to say about marriage. It's,I am not just picking on Evan, lots of people want to say that marriage is just a privaterelationship between two adults, one of the points I try to make in the book is and it evenremotely true, if you look at the body of the evidence form the scholars who studied thisfor many years and so one of the questions we have to deal with in this debate is that whatis so frequently stated by Evan and others who want to change marriage to mean thisthing, but that it doesn't mean that now, that's not what it means. And so we need tobackup a little bit and think about what is this institution that we are talking about inwhich I think Evan and others, I have very seriously mystified. Thank you.Thank you. I should mention that we are proceeding in alphabetical order and Mr.Blankenhorn and Mr. Wolfson have made that very easy for me.Thank you Dean Friedman. Thank David Blankenhorn for being here tonight thank youall for being here tonight. Excuse me I am finding a bit of a cold, so please forgive me.As you've just heard now, David Blankenhorn and I actually do agree on a number ofthings and then there is something we don't agree on which we will address tonight. Butone of the things we do actually agree on is that marriage matters that the Freedom toMarry, the Institution of Marriage, taking marriage seriously is important in fact the bookthat David has now told you, I think very wisely you should all buy and read my book iscalled "Why Marriage Matters". So this is in fact something we have in common, we dothink that this is important and obviously you think it's important and our country seesthis is important, something worth talking about, something worth taking seriously.Another thing I think that we do take seriously and agree on is that in the United Stateswe are committed to respecting people, we are committed to respecting choice, we arecommitted to respecting liberty, we are committed to respecting the pursuit of happiness,the proper boundaries between the government and people, we are committed to valuingfamilies and strengthening couples and their children. I think we are also able to agree onthe fact that children are important. I spent the morning actually with my little nephew inhis grade school; I was got to be the relative of the day who went to see him. So we allcare about the children in our lives and take their well-being very seriously. TheAmerican Academy of Pediatrics also takes the well-being of children seriously, this isthe professional organization of our nation's kid's doctors and last year, not even a yearago they issued a report entitled the effects of marriage civil union and domesticpartnership laws on the health and well-being of children. And let me read you a tiny bit of what they had to say.Our nation's kid's doctors told us this "There is ample evidence to show that childrenraised by same gender parents fair as well as those raised by heterosexual parents". Morethan 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parent'ssexual orientation and any measure of a child emotional, psychosocial and behavioraladjustment. These data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up ina family with one or more gay parents. Consciences and nurturing adults whether theyare men or women, heterosexual or homosexual can be excellent parents. The rights,benefits and protections of civil marriage can further strengthen these families." Now Iquote from the American Academy of Pediatrics rather than say my book because I amnot a scientist, David Blankenhorn is not a scientist, I am not psychologist, I am not ateacher, I am not a child welfare expert, I am not a psychiatrist, I am not a psychoanalystand neither is David Blankenhorn. So when you consider one of the points on which wedo differ, the well-being of children and how it relates to this debate, I don't think youshould have to take my word for and I don't think you should take David Blankenhornword for it. I do think you should take a look at what The American Academy ofPediatrics has to say or the American Psychological Association or the AmericanPsychiatric Association or the American Psychoanalytic Association or the Child WelfareLeague of America or the National Education Association or the National Association ofSocial Workers and in fact every single mainstream, reputable, professional agencycomposed of 100 and 1000's indeed if you add them up millions of professionals acrossmany fields, all of whom addressing and dedicating their lives to the well-being of ourchildren. All of whom have said precisely what I just read to you not from my words butfrom the words of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Don't take an advocates wordfor it, take the word of what the people who have looked at this without an axe to grind have had to say.In the most recent issue of the Family Law Quarterly just came out dated Fall, 2006, itjust came out. Appears a massive survey article, this is the American Bar Association,Family Law Sections journal. So it's the lawyers who deal with custody disputes andvisitation and parenting rights and the well-being of children and advocating for childrenand families published this piece by Professor Michael Wald of Stanford surveying againthe vast literature on this question. Don't take my word for it, here are three things thatthis published reviewed journal had to say, "the claim that there is such a thing as a singleoptimal home for rearing children is flawed from a scientific perspective", as a number ofleading researchers on families have concluded, "social science research does not andcannot support the contention that the presence of two biological or opposite sex parentscomprises a optimal child rearing environment". The journal goes on, "while there is someevidence that living with two biological parents maybe preferable to living with a singleparent and that divorce can be harmful to children's development, none of the familystructure studies, listen, none of the family structure studies provide any support for theclaim that the gender of the two parents a makes the difference." And one more little quoteagain from the experts not the advocates "There is no evidence that children in general dobetter with a father and mother then with two mothers or two fathers". Now I providethat data and that information in other peoples words so that it cannot just be reduced tohe says, he says this side says, that side says. The body of experts and I mean across theboard unanimously have said again and again what I've just read to you and you don'thave to take my word for it, go check it out, there are on the websites, Family LawQuarterly, American Academy of Pediatrics.But I want to also make a further point and that is lets suppose that we are not true, letssuppose for a moment that there were indeed countervailing evidence or some suggestionor even anything for David Blankenhorn and others to point to that would suggest that,you know what it may even be true that in general or often there is one kind of optimalfamily and its not gay couples or single parents or divorce parents or blended families.Let's just suppose for a moment that all these other experts are wrong and DavidBlankenhorn is right. The further point is, how does keeping gay couples who arebuilding a life together, many of whom are raising children out of the institution ofmarriage help anyone else? It's not as if and then we know this now for a fact by lookingat Canada or Massachusetts where gay couples are able to marry, its not as if the gaycouples are going to use up all the marriage licenses. And then there won't be anymarriage left for those other optimal families. There is enough marriage to share and it'snot as if keeping, letting the gay couples in with their kids or without is somehow goingto so tarnish the club that couples like David Blankenhorn and his wife are going to leavethe institution. So even if it were true which it is not, but there were one kind of optimalfamily punishing those who are in the less optimal families does nothing to help theothers but instead harms the children being raised by the parents that they have. Andharms the couples who may not fit somebody else's definition of what is optimal and that is deeply wrong.Excluding committed same sex couples and their children from the institution of marriagehelps no one and harms families. Now I've dwelled on children because I know thatProfessor Blankenhorn, David Blankenhorn not a professor sorry, no insult intendedDavid Blankenhorn was going to say that this is the single most important point ofdifference between the two, that's indeed it is something that he is obviously written inthe book on and has his view about what he think is the most important question and hethink this is the biggest point of distinction between the two of us. But having said all ofthis and addressed it in the words of the experts, young controverted experts. I must alsopoint out that in the Unites States there is no procreation requirement to get a marriagelicense. No state issues marriage licenses with a sunset provision whereby you have twoyears to cough up a child or lose your license. And there are many people who marrywithout any regard to wanting to have children or even being able to have children orbeing young enough to have children and in our society we respect and allow thosecouples to enter the institution of marriage, because we understand that the institution ofmarriage serves many purposes. And as a choice that is very important for a number ofreasons and so on that point let me just end by quoting in all fairness inside we all readyou or pointed out the title of my book. I have to quote one little passage from DavidBlankenhorn's book with which I do agree. David Blankenhorn writes "I believe todaythat the principle of equal human dignity as he said tonight must apply to gay and lesbianperson. In that sense insofar as we are a nation founded on this principle, we would bemore American on the day we permitted same sex marriage than we were the daybefore". And David Blankenhorn is right, he is right and there he is right. Ending theexclusion of committed same sex couples for marriage when they have children and evenwhen they don't brings us closer to the commitment to equality and fairness and thepursuit of happiness and liberty that are what this nation is dedicated to and it is the birthright that belongs to all of us.Thank you both very much. Let me start with David, but I would like to do, if you couldis clarify for us what it is you do not think should be authorized, is it just a questionof the word marriage, do you think that a civil union or a similar arrangement isinappropriate or raises the same dangers.I don't say anything about civil unions in the book; I think it would be fine to have somekind of domestic partnership where people who are sharing a household together whetherthey are in a sexual relationship or whatever the arrangement would be if they areinterdependent and want to make arrangement to cooperate, maybe there would be ways tofacilitate their ability to do that. But it's not an area that I am involved in or know muchabout; I am interested in the subject of marriage.Well let me pass it for you and I am going to ask Evan the same question. A nonreligious legally sanctioned contractual relationship that carries all of the same rights andobligations under State and Federal law as marriage status, but it's called something otherthan marriage. Is this just a word, in other words what is it, what reason that is in yourview so threatening to the institution of marriage from applying this word to the same set of relationships.I think its terribly insulting idea to say to gay and lesbian couples, you can get married aslong as you don't call it marriage. It's like saying you can eat chocolate ice cream aslong as you don't call it chocolate ice cream. And Evan and other leaders have been veryquick to say that that is an arbitrary and invidious distinction that is we will never standupand I completely agree. So it is completely wrong to say we are going to allow gay andlesbian couples to do every single thing under the law that a married couple, exceptthey can't use the word marriage, I think that's just ridiculous.Mr. Evan let me ask you the flip side of the same question there is substantial; there is asubstantial part of the American public that for one reason or another and I think there aremany different reasons oppose same sex marriage. If it were possible to have a formalrelationship of the kind I've just described where the same tax and state inheritance andother rights flow form a civil union, in view of the political opposition to same sexmarriage. Why isn't that an attractive alternative for the gay community?Well we already have a formal legal relationship in the United States and we have asystem that honors that formal legal relationship from state-to-state and between thestates and the federal government and amongst government and private entities and incommon parlance and that system, that formal legal relationship is called marriage.Marriage in the United States is under the law a civil union, it is a union one enters intoby going to the government office getting a civil marriage license meeting the terms andentering into a legal institution, the government does not give permits the licenses, itdoesn't give communion licenses but it does give marriage licenses because marriage isunder the law a civil union that has legal consequences. But civil union as you are usingthe term Dean is not marriage, it is in point, it is pointed deliberately intended to say, weare going to have two lines at the clerks office in the United States and some families cancome in the front and other can go in the back and one is the system, the system calledmarriage, the other is just a thing that we are creating to give something and to withholdsomething and that is not a good way for the United States to go and it is not providingequal and due protections and respect and responsibilities and fairness to the couples andtheir kids and therefore there is no need to do it, there are few of any American's whowould trade in their marriage for something lesser in other called civil union or whateverelse and gay couples should not have to, it benefits no one to go down that path.David Let me ask you a question it's often said by those who oppose same sex marriagethat it would and this is a fairly common phrase threaten marriage as an institution and Ithink that's what you were suggesting in your introductive statement, what does that mean,in other word how does it threaten marriage, I think and I agree with you that by the waythat I think marriage is an institution that is, is not in great shape in America, we have angrowing number of unmarried couples who choose not to get married. Many of whomake children granted all that, why does the authorization of same sex marriage threaten that institution.Number one because it requires us as we heard from Evan to redefine what marriage is.It takes; it would require us to say that marriage is no longer what we know it to be but isinstead what Evan calls a specific commitment of love and, a specific commitment oflove to another person in other words, the redefinition is that now two people who havethe commitment to one other that's what marriage is and all of the public authority andthe institutional meaning that has surrounded marriage is an institution gets to find a wayand instead we just have private relationships between people. And so that is one of theways that, and also it wouldn't just be for gay and lesbian couples, because therequirement, the demand is to change the meaning for everyone. And secondly it wouldexplicitly sever the link between marriage and children. You heard with the thing Evansaid about, oh we don't have a procreation license, all very clever but the point behind isnot funny at all. The point behind it in the court arguments they are making is to say that,oh yeah right wingers and homophobes they all use to say that somehow marriage andchildren went together but not anymore, now its, well we don't have procreation licenses,what this tells me as someone who studied marriage for 20 years is that the basic conceptof marriage which is to bring together the male and female who make the next generationto make sure that they are going to be there to raise that generation. That's what is beingkind of left that in put down and shear that and say no that's no longer it, "My Daddy'sName is Donor" ha, ha, ha.So, that is and also that definition would not just be for some people that's for everyonein Canada when they passed gay marriage, they struck the term natural parent fromCanadian law and replaced it with the term legal parent. So a legal parent is just, I guess,well it's unclear what they really means but the, these historic gift of the marriageinstitution Evan's demand is that we specifically dis-avow, we back away from it, notjust for some couples but for all couples. And so what happens when you change thename of an institution, look if, just one little example, if we said, we've passed a law thatsaid that from now on Ballet meant dancing and that, it could mean Jazz dancing it couldmean the Twist, it could mean Disco, but from now on Ballet means dancing andanybody who say anything different must have, but perorates or something. It'sinappropriate, it's offensive, it's a (indiscernible) thing to do you can't say it anymore.Instead Ballet means dancing, what would happen, Evan says oh well we have gaymarriage in Massachusetts and hasn't falling in the ocean, yeah that's true and if wechange the name of Ballet, if we redefined Ballet to mean dancing would the New Yorksays Ballet company disband, the next day no, would people forget overnight, there wasused to be something called Ballet, now it has been defined out of existence, no. Butovertime there would be a significant change in the public understanding of what theword Ballet means. And the same thing is going to happen to marriage if this campaignis successful and we redefine it as a private relationship, it has no public dimension thatanybody can specify and it is specifically not connected to children. If we do that it's notjust, X number of children who are at risk, its all children because the definition, thisredefinition will apply to everyone and when you change the name, when you change themeaning and definition of an institution, you change the rules that affect peoples behaviorand you change the way that people in the institution behave. This seems to be fairlyobvious. Evan says, oh its just letting more people into the institution of marriage,incorrect, it's changing the institution of marriage for everyone and sorry, too long.That was a long statement; I think I should let it in comment on it.Yeah. Well I actually do have a response to actually both parts of it the, "definition"thing and change thing, particularly with regard to the kids, first of all there was a time inthe United States when to give one example among many when women were not allowedto be lawyers and that was considered to be the most natural right thing in the world,lawyers had to be men, that was the way god intended it, it was the way nature intended itand it was the way the law embodied it. And it was defended by academics and scholarsand religious leaders and politicians up and down, it even went all the way to theSupreme Court and the Supreme Court said women cannot be lawyers. But when wechange that and allowed women to be lawyers the law did not collapse, the bar did notcollapse, the profession of law did not collapse and you know what we didn't even comeup with a different word for lawyer. We came to understand that people who had beenformally excluded from the institution and opportunity and responsibility where in factqualified and able to perform and enter into it to the betterment of everybody. So I amnot advocating that we, as David Blankenhorn would say change the definition or takesomething away, anything. What I am saying is that there are committed people who areliving their lives, performing the work of marriage in their private life's, but they arebeing denied that public commitment that is called marriage and contrary to whatDavid Blankenhorn is saying, I understand that marriage has a public dimension as wellas a private. It's precisely because it has a public dimension that it is wrong for ourgovernment to discriminate and perpetuate exclusion from the legal institution which is what it as a issue here today.And on the other point, the point related to children David Blankenhorn talks as if there isthis campaign underway now and I cant tell it is complementing me or actually, insultingme by saying somehow I am part of this campaign that if successful is going to de couplemarriage from children which conjures up this image and fear of somehow they are goingto take away your children or prevent you from having children or undermine the well-being of your children. And in fact there is absolutely no such campaign underwaywhatsoever. And to the extent that we in the law have decoupled marriage from childrenthat change happen decades ago, there is no procreation requirement for people who are,thank you. There is no procreation requirement for marriage, that's not what marriage isas a matter of law. And if you don't believe me ask Rudy Giuliani and his current wife,ask Newt Gingrich and his current wife, ask Bob and Elizabeth Dole, ask Pat and ShellyBuchanan if you can and go back and ask George and Martha Washington, all thesepeople are married, married under the law, entitled to respect for their marriages, nolaughing matter, precisely because we know that in the law many people do want to raisetheir children within marriage and also many people marry without regard to whether ornot they have children or any attempt or ability to do so. But the procreation requirementis somehow only invoked when it comes to excluding gay couples from marriage.And as if that were not unfair enough, what makes it even worse is that many of thosegay couples, those same sex couples throughout the United States here in New York areraising children and they want into this legal institution of marriage for precisely thereason that many other non gay people want to get married too, which is not only withregard to their emotional well-being and reenforcing their private commitment or theirpublic commitment and having that commitment honored with legal and tangible andintangible rights and responsibilities but also because they believe that will strengthenfamilies and help their children. There are millions of children being raised by same sexcouples by gay and lesbian parents throughout the country there are 1000's and 1000'sright here in this state. They want marriage for the same mix of reasons as our non gaybrothers and sisters do and among those reasons are that marriage does offer somethingvaluable in the eyes of many, including David Blankenhorn for those who are raisingchildren and for their kids. And it makes no sense to exclude those couples and their kids form this legal institution.Evan let me ask you a shift ground here and I would like to ask you a two part question,how do you account for the fact and what do you think is the significance of the fact thatapparently a very large percentage of Americans oppose same sex marriage and evenmany people who are supportive of, otherwise supportive of gay rights?Well I think there had been always, always been periods throughout American historywhere majorities had been opposed to treating people in our midst with respect, withequality, understanding their lives, back pushing past sterio types to come to have amost humane and shared understanding of who these people really are and a greatness ofAmerica is that this is a country where that can change. When we ended the exclusionfor example in the first court struck down the rules that prohibited people of the "wrongrace" from marrying one other, that was one another, that was in 1948, in other words ittook from 1776 until 1948 before even one court have the courage to strike down racerestriction and who could marry whom, restrictions that were defended as necessary tothe well-being of children and society and the church and god and the country.I am getting it, okay. The first court to strike it down as you know from your study ofmarriage was in 1948. It took another 19, and by the way when that court made its rulinggoing to your question Dean, 90% of the American people opposed inter-racial marriage,it took another 19 years going to your point, before the question of the ending racerestrictions on who could marry whom came again to the Unites State, Supreme Courtwhich had gotten it wrong previously and when that court in 1967 got the best name caseever, Loving Vs Virginia, it struck down these restrictions, restrictions that were defendedthat is necessary for the well-being of children and for society and so on and when theUnited States, Supreme Court made that ruling 40 years ago this year 70% of theAmerican people opposed inter-racial marriage. But happily we live in a country wherewe don't expect our courts; we don't subject our constitution to the passions of themoment and the prejudices of even a temporary majority. But we look to a standard ofequality and we look to the courts and we look to our legislators to take oaths and takethem seriously to do right by everyone. And the great thing about America is thatAmerica changes and people have come to understand today that what seems so naturaland obvious and necessary was wrong. The same was true with the exclusion andsubordination of women in marriage, which was considered necessary and natural andimportant for the well-being of children that women not be lawyers, not be in professions,not coming to law schools like this, but stay at home, well we changed that, over popularobjection and I don't think there are many and I doubt even you David would wanted toturn that clock back. So the fact of the matter is, yes there are times where Americanpeople have work to do and part of the reason I wrote my book "Why Marriage Matters" and part of the reason we have the.