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The Future of Marriage [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   323
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.75" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   1.38 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 14, 2007
Publisher   Encounter Books
ISBN  1594030812  
EAN  9781594030819  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The president of the Institute for American Values recounts his discussions with the head of Freedom to Marry, a group advocating equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, in an account that evaluates the gay marriage debate, the definition of marriage as it is being shaped by current events, and the perspectives of conservatives with regards to marriage as a social institution.

Publishers Description
In their current demands, Blankenhorn points out, gay and lesbian leaders are not asking for marriage with the adjective gay in front of it, but marriage itself. So in that sense, what marriage is and why it matters are ultimately what this debate is all about. The Future of Marriage answers the whats and the whys of our most important-and troubled-social institution.

Buy The Future of Marriage by David Blankenhorn from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781594030819 & 1594030812

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More About David Blankenhorn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Blankenhorn is founder and president of the Institute for American Values and has long been a key figure in the public debate on marriage and the family as well as a prominent leader in the fatherhood movement. He is the founder of the Council on Families in Ameria.

David Blankenhorn has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Religion, Marriage, and Family

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Relationships > Marriage   [1856  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Why (heterosexual) marriage matters  Jul 30, 2007
David Blankenhorn is a world authority on the institution of marriage. One of the biggest debates concerning marriage today is whether we should expand the concept to include same-sex unions. Blankenhorn thinks not, and in these 300 pages he sets out to make the `no' case for homosexual marriage. But he does so, pre-eminently, by making the `yes' case for the institution of heterosexual marriage.

He first seeks to get a handle on what marriage is, and then show how it has been experienced over the centuries. The first half of the book is about what marriage is, and how it has developed. The second half deals with the challenge of same-sex marriage.

Blankenhorn recognises that a definition of marriage is a slippery affair, but after a close examination of the issue and how others have thought about it, he comes up with this helpful conceptualisation:

"In all or nearly all human societies, marriage is socially approved sexual intercourse between a woman and a man, conceived both as a personal relationship and as an institution, primarily such that any children resulting from the union are - and are understood by society to be - emotionally, morally, practically, and legally affiliated with both of the parents."

In his overview of the history of marriage, he demonstrates what has been the universal belief about marriage: It reflects the fundamental belief that "for every child, a mother and a father". Thus marriage is primarily about two things: the socially approved sexual intercourse between a woman and a man, and the protection and nurturing of the fruit of that relationship. Both are vital components of marriage, and must not be separated from it or from each other.

He argues that marriage is based on two universal and timeless basic rules: the rule of opposites (marriage is man-woman) and the rule of sex (marriage involves sexual intercourse). And even though it is difficult for moderns to get their head around this fact, sexual intercourse has always been about procreation, or at least its possibility.

Put at its simplest, "marriage is fundamentally about sex and reproduction". And children born into married households are greatly advantaged. As such, "Marriage is society's most pro-child institution." The research on how child fare in a two-parent household cemented by marriage is now voluminous. No other type of relationship is as good for children as heterosexual marriage. Family structure, in other words, matters overwhelmingly for children.

And marriage is not just a private relationship; it is a public institution. Social institutions exist to meet fundamental human needs. The need for the institution of marriage arises because human beings are "sexually embodied creatures who everywhere reproduce sexually and give birth to helpless, socially needy offspring who remain immature for long periods of time and who therefore depend on the love and support of both of the parents who brought them into existence."

So how does same-sex marriage fit into all this? First, it must be said that Blankenhorn is not unsympathetic to the arguments of homosexuals wanting marriage rights. He believes that basic human rights are important, and that all people must be treated with dignity. But he still believes that marriage is not something that can be redefined to include same-sex relationships.

He argues that homosexual marriage fundamentally means transforming the institution of marriage. Even the various international human rights documents of today speak of the right to participate in the institution of marriage, but they do not "recognise the right to turn marriage into another word for any private adult relationship of choice".

And given the intimate link between marriage and parenting, to change the institution of marriage is to change parenthood itself. Changing marriage changes marriage for everyone, and it will change parenthood for everyone. But as the research keeps telling us, that will be bad news for children. Says Blankenhorn, every child in the world has a right to a name, a nationality, and a mother and father.

In addition to the deinstitutionalisation of marriage, same-sex marriage would "require us in both law and culture to deny the double origin of the child." Says Blankenhorn, "I can hardly imagine or more serious violation".

Blankenhorn then goes on to list some 23 possible positive consequences of legalising same-sex unions, then lists 24 possible negative outcomes. He also offers 12 possible neutral outcomes. A major reason for all this is to demonstrate that this idea being proposed is a very big one indeed, with profound consequences.

As but one example, if we accept the logic of same-sex marriage, how can we possibly oppose the logic of, say, bisexual, polyamorous marriage? If we can redefine marriage in terms of sexual orientation, "why not permit a bisexual woman to marry one man and one woman?"

The consequences of such a revolutionary change will be far-reaching, and at this point, perhaps unmeasurable. But the changes will be monumental. Thus we need to be very careful about how we proceed here.

Blankenhorn concludes by offering some recommendations as to how we might strengthen the institution of marriage. He acknowledges that the future of marriage is shaky at best. But it has never been equalled. The message of this important book is that we dare not play fast and loose with the world's first, and most important, social institution.
Incredibly clear and thorough articulation of the anthropology and social science case for marriage as a male-female institution  May 31, 2007
This is the first book I have read from Blankenhorn, but it will not be the last. Some people have a real talent for writing clearly and translating their expertise into simple, ordinary language that the layman (like me) can understand. Blankenhorn is one of these people. He manages to transmit a vast amount of research and knowledge in language that is as accessible and understandable as the pages of a newspaper. His style is engaging and keeps the reader interested - and on occasion he even manages to be extremely witty and funny!

Blankenhorn's book is important and unique for several reasons. One, it contains an excellent in-depth look at the history of marriage. Over five chapters, Blankenhorn "visits" different eras, civilizations and societies in world history, and examines their views on marriage. The chapters are far from boring - they read almost like the script of a National Geographic special, and are very engaging. Blankenhorn shows us that throughout history, marriage has always had childbearing at its core, and it has always consisted of a man and a woman.

The next three chapters deal with marriage as it currently stands, and especially with the challenge posed to it by same-sex marriage. For those who are short on time and prone to skimming or skipping, or who might put the book down without getting through the first five chapters, go directly to chapters 6 and 7 for some more contemporary and to-the-point information.

In Chapters 6 and 7, Blankenhorn systematically answers and destroys every major argument presented by gays in favor of same-sex marriage. His arguments are based on antropological and sociological research - on fact, not religion. After reading this book, you will recognize all the arguments instantly - and you'll be well-armed with factual and scientific ammunition to answer them.

Blankenhorn admits in the book that he does not agree with the Bible that homosexuality is sinful. He actually favors equal rights for gay people, but cannot reconcile his support for their equality with the damage done to children through the redefinition of marriage. Indeed, this is the most articulate and complete defense of keeping marriage heterosexual that I have yet seen. A book that needed to be written!
Whither marriage?  May 15, 2007
Blankenhorn, the famous author of "Fatherless America" returns to the subject of marriage again in this book. What spurred him to write this wa when he was challenged by a friend about same sex marriage.

We do seem to be in the middle of vast changes to marriage. In 1950, when the changes really began, there were a few warning studies showing that divorce harmed the children involved. However, psychologists suggested that the damage might be due to societal disapproval of divorce.

Well, we now have not thousands, or hundreds of thousands, but millions of studies showing that children are damaged when they are not raised by their two biological parents. Whether we are talking about the poorest country in Africa, or a country like Greenland, where marriage has practically vanished, the studies keep showing the same grim reality: children do better when raised by their biological mother and father. Period.

Statistically, children of divorced parents have greater difficulty with school, show more emotional problems throughout their lives, and are more likely to have problems with drugs and sex. Yet even these children do better, statistically, than children whose parents have never married. And, at the bottom of the barrel, the worst damage occurs with blended families, typically, when a divorced mother marries a second husband. The statistics on these families make for grim reading.

We are talking about a catastrophic situation for millions and millions of children. What is to be done?

In the middle of this tragedy talk about making the bonds of marriage even looser seems sure to harm, not help. What is urgently needed in a national debate on the subject of marriage and children. What seems silly is the focus upon same sex marriage at this time.

Blankenhorn, who seems to want to allow gays to marry, is forced, in the end, to take a stand against it. There are simply too many factors, legal and social, that line up against it.

This is a very troubling book. Anyone interested in the subject of marriage today will also want to read "The Abolition of Marriage" which is invaluable for its research. And don't forget to pick up "Fatherless America" as well.
Table of Contents Below  Apr 11, 2007
Some in the blogosphere have wanted to see the table of contents for The Future of Marriage. Since the publisher hasn't yet supplied the images for this site's preview pages, here is the table of contents:
1. What Is Marriage? 1
2. Prehistory 11
3. The River Valley 23
4. The Trobriand Islands 41
5. What Marriage Is 69
6. Deinstitutionalize Marriage? 127
7. Goods in Conflict 171
8. Determining Marriage's fate 213
Appendix: Topics in the Anthropology of Kinship 247
Acknowledgements 263
Notes 265
Index 317

(Full disclosure, I helped the author with some edits, and I am employed by his organization.)
Same Sex Marriage is About Marriage, Not About Gay People  Apr 9, 2007
David Blankenhorn's important new book, The Future of Marriage makes clear that the social issue of our time is not whether marriage will be "expanded" to include same sex couples. The real issue is whether marriage as an institution will be so emptied of meaning that it becomes a gender neutral institution, rather than the premier gender-based institution of society. This isn't fundamentally about gay people. The issue is marriage: what marriage is, and what it does for society. Blankenhorn argues convincingly that gender-neutral marriage, (which is what same sex marriage will create) can not perform the social functions that marriage universally performs: marriage attaches children with their fathers and mothers and fathers to each other.
Even in societies that tolerate pre-marital sex, permit polygamy, or take a relaxed approach to divorce, the basic idea of marriage across time and cultures does not change: for every child, a mother and a father. Human societies strive to have children affiliated with both their biological parents. The mother and child unit has universally been considered incomplete, and the sociological position of the father considered indispensable. Universally, that is, up until the last generation in modern western societies.

The public opinion-making elites of this country have pretty much decided that same sex marriage is a moral imperative.That is why you have heard so little about David Blankenhorn's new book, The Future of Marriage. Even the human interest story in USA Today was about David, and not his ideas. Blankenhorn makes a reasoned case, independent of any religious belief, for marriage as intrinsically a union between opposite sex couples. No one can read this book and believe that only the ignorant or spiteful oppose same sex marriage. An honest engagement with the arguments of this book reveals sophisticated and compelling arguments in favor of marriage.

Whether you are convinced by Blankenhorn's arguments or not, the arguments deserve to be considered. The elites hope to kill this book by ignoring it. Don't let them. Buy the book. Read it. Share it with others. We need to have an honest discussion about the meaning and The Future of Marriage.


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