Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Ryan T. Anderson: what is marriage? why does it matter?

About the speaker:

Ryan T. Anderson researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He also focuses on justice and moral principles in economic thought, health care and education, and has expertise in bioethics and natural law theory.

Anderson, who joined the leading Washington think tank’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society in 2012, also is the editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, N.J.

Anderson’s recent work at Heritage focuses on the constitutional questions surrounding same-sex “marriage.” He is the co-author with Princeton’s Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis of the acclaimed book “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” (Encounter Books, December 2012).

The lecture starts at 7:20 in. The lecture ends at 49:35. There are 32 minutes of Q&A.

Introduction:

  • When talking about marriage in public, we should talk about philosophy, sociology and public policy
  • Gay marriage proponents need to be pressed to define what marriage is, on their view
  • Every definition of marriage is going to include some relationships, and exclude others
  • It’s meaningless to portray one side as nice and the other mean
  • Typically, marriage redefiners view marriage as a more intense emotional relationship
  • Marriage redefiners should be challenged in three ways:
  • 1) Does the redefined version of marriage have a public policy reason to prefer only two people?
  • 2) Does the redefined version of marriage have a reason to prefer permanence?
  • 3) Does the redefined version of marriage have a reason to prefer sexual exclusivity?
  • Also, if marriage is just about romance, then why is the state getting involved in recognizing it?
  • The talk: 1) What marriage is, 2) Why marriage matters, 3) What are the consequences of redefining marriage?

What marriage is:

  • Marriage unites spouses – hearts, minds and bodies
  • Marriage unites spouses to perform a good: creating a human being and raising that human being
  • Marriage is a commitment: permanent and exclusive
  • Male and female natures are distinct and complementary

The public purpose of marriage:

  • to attach men and women to each other
  • to attach mothers and fathers to their children
  • there is no such thing as parenting, there is only mothering and fathering
  • the evidence shows that children benefit from mothering and fathering
  • boys who grow up without fathers are more likely to commit crimes
  • girls who grow up without fathers are more likely to have sex earlier
  • Children benefit from having a mother and a father
  • can’t say that fathers are essential for children if we support gay marriage, which makes fathers optional
  • without marriage: child poverty increases, crime increases, social mobility decreases, welfare spending increases
  • when government encourages marriage, then government has less do to – stays smaller, spends less
  • if we promote marriage as an idea, we are not excluding gay relationships or even partner benefits
  • finally, gay marriage has shown itself to be hostile to religious liberty

Consequences redefining marriage:

  • it undermines the norm in public like that kids deserve a mom and a dad – moms and dads are interchangeable
  • it changes the institution of marriage away from the needs of children, and towards the needs of adults
  • it undermines the norm of permanence
  • we learned what happens when marriage is redefined before: with no-fault divorce
  • no-fault divorce: after this became law, divorce rates doubled – the law changed society
  • gay marriage would teach society that mothers and fathers are optional when raising children
  • if marriage is what people with intense feelings do, then how can you rationally limit marriage to only two people?
  • if marriage is what people with intense feelings do, then if other people cause intense feelings, there’s no fidelity
  • if marriage is what people with intense feelings do, then if the feelings go away, there is no permanence
  • the public policy consequences to undermining the norms of exclusivity and permanence = fatherless children and fragmented families
  • a final consequences is the decline and elimination of religious liberty – e.g. – adoption agencies closing, businesses being sued

We’re doing very well on abortion, but we need to get better at knowing how to discuss marriage. If you’re looking for something short to read, click here. If you want to read a long paper that his book is based on.

Related posts

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , ,

Ryan T. Anderson explains how gay marriage undermines natural marriage norms

From the Heritage Foundation. (H/T Tom)

Excerpt:

Weakening marital norms and severing the connection of marriage with responsible procreation are the admitted goals of many prominent advocates of redefining marriage. E. J. Graff celebrates the fact that redefining marriage would change the “institution’s message” so that it would “ever after stand for sexual choice, for cutting the link between sex and diapers.” Enacting same-sex marriage, she argues, “does more than just fit; it announces that marriage has changed shape.”[3]

Andrew Sullivan says that marriage has become “primarily a way in which two adults affirm their emotional commitment to one another.”[4]

The Norm of Monogamy. New York University Professor Judith Stacey has expressed hope that redefining marriage would give marriage “varied, creative and adaptive contours,” leading some to “question the dyadic limitations of Western marriage and seek…small group marriages.”[5] In their statement “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage,” more than 300 “LGBT and allied” scholars and advocates call for legal recognition of sexual relationships involving more than two partners.[6]

University of Calgary Professor Elizabeth Brake thinks that justice requires using legal recognition to “denormalize[] heterosexual monogamy as a way of life” and “rectif[y] past discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists, and care networks.” She supports “minimal marriage” in which “individuals can have legal marital relationships with more than one person, reciprocally or asymmetrically, themselves determining the sex and number of parties, the type of relationship involved, and which rights and responsibilities to exchange with each.”[7]

In 2009, Newsweek reported that the United States already had over 500,000 polyamorous households.[8] The author concluded:

[P]erhaps the practice is more natural than we think: a response to the challenges of monogamous relationships, whose shortcomings…are clear.… [C]an one person really satisfy every need? Polyamorists think the answer is obvious—and that it’s only a matter of time before the monogamous world sees there’s more than one way to live and love.[9]

A 2012 article in New York Magazine introduced Americans to “throuple,” a new term akin to a “couple,” but with three people whose “throuplehood is more or less a permanent domestic arrangement. The three men work together, raise dogs together, sleep together, miss one another…and, in general, exemplify a modern, adult relationship. Except that there are three of them.”[10]

The Norm of Exclusivity. Andrew Sullivan, who has extolled the “spirituality” of “anonymous sex,” also thinks that the “openness” of same-sex unions could enhance the bonds of husbands and wives:

[A]mong gay male relationships, the openness of the contract makes it more likely to survive than many heterosexual bonds.… [T]here is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman.… [S]omething of the gay relationship’s necessary honesty, its flexibility, and its equality could undoubtedly help strengthen and inform many heterosexual bonds.[11]

“Openness” and “flexibility” are Sullivan’s euphemisms for sexual infidelity. Similarly, in a New York Times Magazine profile, gay activist Dan Savage encourages spouses to adopt “a more flexible attitude” about allowing each other to seek sex outside their marriage.[12] The New York Times recently reported on a study finding that exclusivity was not the norm among gay partners: “‘With straight people, it’s called affairs or cheating,’ said Colleen Hoff, the study’s principal investigator, ‘but with gay people it does not have such negative connotations.’”[13]

Leading Advocates of Redefining Marriage Celebrate That It Will Weaken Marriage

Some advocates of redefining marriage embrace the goal of weakening the institution of marriage in these very terms. “[Former President George W.] Bush is correct,” says Victoria Brownworth, “when he states that allowing same-sex couples to marry will weaken the institution of marriage…. It most certainly will do so, and that will make marriage a far better concept than it previously has been.”[14]Professor Ellen Willis celebrates the fact that “conferring the legitimacy of marriage on homosexual relations will introduce an implicit revolt against the institution into its very heart.”[15]

Michelangelo Signorile urges same-sex couples to “demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution.”[16]Same-sex couples should, he says, “fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, because the most subversive action lesbians and gay men can undertake…is to transform the notion of ‘family’ entirely.”[17]

It is no surprise that there is already evidence of this occurring. A federal judge in Utah allowed a legal challenge to anti-bigamy laws.[18] A bill that would allow a child to have three legal parents passed both houses of the California state legislature in 2012 before it was vetoed by the governor, who claimed he wanted “to take more time to consider all of the implications of this change.”[19]

It’s very important to understand that the typical gay relationship between males is not going to conform to the lifelong, exclusive commitment that heterosexual marriage involves. You can read about the numbers right here on this paper from the Family Research Council, which collects together evidence from secular sources, such as the U.S. Census and peer-reviewed research.

Take a look:

Research indicates that the average male homosexual has hundreds of sex partners in his lifetime:

·  The Dutch study of partnered homosexuals, which was published in the journal AIDS, found that men with a steady partner had an average of eight sexual partners per year.[12]

·  Bell and Weinberg, in their classic study of male and female homosexuality, found that 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having one thousand or more sex partners.[13]

·  In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in the Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that “the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101-500.” In addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1,000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than one thousand lifetime sexual partners.[14]

·  A survey conducted by the homosexual magazine Genre found that 24 percent of the respondents said they had had more than one hundred sexual partners in their lifetime. The magazine noted that several respondents suggested including a category of those who had more than one thousand sexual partners.[15]

[...]Even in those homosexual relationships in which the partners consider themselves to be in a committed relationship, the meaning of “committed” or “monogamous” typically means something radically different than in heterosexual marriage.

·  A Canadian study of homosexual men who had been in committed relationships lasting longer than one year found that only 25 percent of those interviewed reported being monogamous.” According to study author Barry Adam, “Gay culture allows men to explore different…forms of relationships besides the monogamy coveted by heterosexuals.”[16]

·  The Handbook of Family Diversity reported a study in which “many self-described ‘monogamous’ couples reported an average of three to five partners in the past year. Blasband and Peplau (1985) observed a similar pattern.”[17]

·  In The Male Couple, authors David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison reported that, in a study of 156 males in homosexual relationships lasting from one to thirty-seven years:

Only seven couples have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years. Stated another way, all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships.[18]

Are we ready to call that marriage? Isn’t it bad enough that we already have undermined the permanence and stability of marriage with no-fault divorce laws and giving benefits to common-law couples? Don’t you think that these factors will undermine stability, the same way that infidelity undermines heterosexual relationships?

But marriage is a particular thing. It’s permanent. It’s exclusive. It’s not based on feelings and desires. The purpose of marriage is to recognize and encourage people to constrain and bound their sexual activity for the benefit of society. We want to encourage parents to bond together permanently and exclusively, so that the bond is stable. We should be encouraging people to be chaste before marriage, to make good decisions about who to marry, to reward marriages that last, and to make it harder to get out of a marriage. Especially one with children.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ryan T. Anderson: the hidden agenda behind gay marriage activism

Ryan T. Anderson exposes the real agenda behind same-sex marriage advocacy in the New York Daily News.

Excerpt:

Same-sex marriage will never be widely accepted in America for a simple reason: It’s based on a lie. But don’t take my word on this; leading LGBT scholars and activists say as much.

Take Masha Gessen, acclaimed author and former Russian director of Radio Liberty. “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change,” Gessen said last year.

Last month, I was part of a debate at the NYU School of Law at which Judith Stacey, a sociology professor at the university, declared: “Children certainly do not need both a mother and a father.”

Stacey went on to suggest that three parents might be better than two. In fact, while asserting she is in favor of same-sex marriage because of “equal justice,” Stacey admitted she isn’t a fan of marriage. “Why should there be marriage at all?” she asked.

I pointed out that marriage exists, and the government takes an interest in marriage because the sexual union of a man and woman produces children — and children need both a mom and a dad.

[...]In congressional testimony against the Defense of Marriage Act, she expressed hope that redefining marriage would give marriage “varied, creative and adaptive contours,” including “small group marriages.”

Stacey was among more than 300 scholars and advocates who signed a statement, “Beyond Marriage,” calling for legal recognition of sexual relationships involving more than two partners. During our NYU debate, she asserted that nothing gives the state an interest in monogamy.

The very day of the debate, Slate posted an article headlined “Legalize Polygamy!” The author, Jillian Keenan, argues: “Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less ‘correct’ than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults.”

She concludes: “Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist and sex-positive choice.”

And this is why the marriage redefiners are doomed to fail: Redefinition has no logical stopping point. Its logic leads to the effective elimination of marriage as a legal institution. This will harm women, children and society as a whole.

If we redefine marriage to exclude the norm of men and women complementing each other in (ideally) a lifelong familial bond, Gessen admits, “The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change . . . I don’t think it should exist.”

Is the the viewpoint of all gay people? Not at all. Many gay people are conservative and don’t want to change the institution of marriage. But it is the view that animates the activists who are pushing to redefine marriage for everyone. And if the activists succeed, it will affect everyone. It will affect children who don’t even have a say in the debate today, just like no-fault divorce affected children when that became the law of the land.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ryan T. Anderson’s commencement speech at Regent University

The full text is up at National Review. I wanted to highlight a couple of points.

First, the importance of marriage and family for raising children:

As a graduate of Regent University you know that the obligations we have to our neighbors are not dependent on race, or sex, or social class. Neither are those duties dependent on age, or size, or stage of development. Or whether someone is wanted or unwanted, planned or unplanned, healthy or sick, “perfect” or disabled.

This starts with you and me. We need to love our children. Graduating class, if you have a daughter with Down syndrome, love her. If your son is conceived “by accident,” love him. As my late mentor Fr. Richard John Neuhaus explained, we have the responsibility to see to it that every human being is protected in law and cared for in life.

The best care comes from the family. Some of you may have already started your families. Most of you will start one in the next decade. And as you welcome children into this world you will experience firsthand that the best way to ensure that children are cared for in life by the man and the woman who gave them life is to unite that man and woman as husband and wife in marriage.

We are created male and female. And marriage unites a man and a woman permanently and exclusively as husband and wife to take responsibility for their children as father and mother. That’s what marriage is all about. And our marriage policy should respect these truths. So, too, should our churches and our own lives. Graduating class: Live lives of fidelity and service to your spouse and your children.

Your children will be educated in this society. And as mothers and fathers you have the responsibility to care for and educate your children. Government should empower you to fulfill those duties. It shouldn’t interfere or indoctrinate. Nor should it use healthcare laws or anti-bullying programs to promote a sexual ideology at odds with the values that responsible parents try to instill in their children.

Second, the free market and the need for job creation:

Our responsibilities extend beyond our families. One of the best ways to care for our neighbors is by serving them in our professional callings, performing quality work at a fair price. Creating wealth and value for our neighbors. Who among the Class of 2013 will be the next David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby? Who will be the next Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-a? Who will improve our lives with new technology or medical devices? Who will create new jobs that pay decent wages? This is your responsibility as future business leaders and entrepreneurs.

We know that the market economy—along with families headed by married couples—has done more to lift people out of poverty and into a flourishing life than any other institution. But it only works if people of good character and upright morals are at the helm. Markets are inert apart from the values that actors bring to them—and you have responsibility for your market action.

Look at leaders like David Green and Truett Cathy. They run their businesses in accordance with their Christian beliefs. There’s a simple reason why: They know that they have duties to serve God—and not just on Sundays, but also on the other six days of the week, when they enter the workforce and marketplace. Remember, you can’t check your faith or morals at the door.

It’s worth a look. The actual speech can be seen here, starting at 41 minutes in.  It goes on for about 19 minutes.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lightning round: Ryan T. Anderson answers several questions about marriage

John Stonestreet interviews marriage defender Ryan T. Anderson: (Source: The Colson Center)

Questions:

  • Don’t gay couples have a right to express their love in marriage like everyone else?
  • How would legalizing gay marriage hurt your marriage?
  • Marriage is already in such bad shape, how could it hurt marriage to allow more people to marry?
  • Aren’t natural marriage proponents on the “wrong side of history”?

Every word counts in this concise primer on defending marriage. Blink, and you’ll miss pure gold.

You can watch Ryan debate gay marriage at Arizona State University right here.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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