“Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits those same-sex couples who choose to marry, as well as the children being raised in those homes”:

That’s the claim made today by Andrew Sullivan Jonathan Rauch David Blankenhorn in an op-ed in the L.A. Times.

It’s not a new claim, of course. Same-sex marriage advocates have been making it for years. Nor should it be a controversial one since it’s very hard to see how gay marriage would have no effect on gay families and even harder to see how it would hurt them.

What’s significant about it is that Blankenhorn is one of the leading public intellectuals opposed to same-sex marriage in this country (and in fact his op-ed goes on to explain why he still opposes it despite the good it will do). While supporters of gay marriage must constantly parry claims of harm, opponents of gay marriage almost never acknowledge the existence of gay families, much less their needs and the ways marriage might help them. The focus has been entirely on the potential cost to heterosexual families, an understandably important — though not exclusive –consideration in the debate. Blankenhorn here accepts that forbidding gay marriage itself entails some cost. (In fact, Blankenhorn has previously endorsed civil unions for gay couples, minus marital rights to child-raising.) It’s a small breath of fresh air in a debate that has become pretty stale.