Calif. gay marriage foe cites children's interests

Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:27am EST
 
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By Alexandria Sage

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - In surprising testimony, a witness called to defend California's gay marriage ban testified on Tuesday that legalizing same-sex matrimony would "improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children."

The landmark case in U.S. district court in San Francisco seeks to overturn California's ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 8, approved by voters in 2008.

The final defense witness, David Blankenhorn of the conservative think tank Institute for American Values, began his testimony by asserting that the best environment for children is a marriage between a man and a woman.

"The optimal environment for children is if they're raised from birth by their own natural mother, who is married to their own natural father," the author told the court, citing the "weight of evidence" by scholars on the subject.

But under persistent and at time contentious cross-examination from veteran litigator David Boies, who helped launch the legal challenge to Proposition 8, Blankenhorn seemed to concede some points to gay marriage advocates.

"I believe that adopting same-sex marriage would be likely to improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children," said Blankenhorn, who remained composed and deliberate in his answers.

'MORE AMERICAN'

He also said he believed the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in the United States would make the country "more American," without explaining further.   Continued...