Defending Marriage, and Why It Matters | Jim Graves | Catholic World Report
An interview with Ryan T. Anderson, co-author of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense
Ryan T. Anderson, 31, researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. He is also the editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ.
He has emerged as a leading defender of traditional marriage before audiences on college and law school campuses, as well as in the mainstream media (he recently sparred with CNN host Piers Morgan and lesbian financial advisor and motivational speaker Suze Orman, for example).
Anderson was born and raised in Baltimore, and, while he is Catholic, his parents sent him and his four brothers to a Quaker school, “for reasons we still don’t fully understand,” he chuckles. At an early age he found his views often at odds with those of his classmates, such as on the issue of abortion. He said, “Being in a minority status makes you examine your positions more thoroughly.”
Anderson’s articles have appeared in numerous periodicals, and he recently co-authored What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (Encounter Books) with Robert George and Sherif Girgis. He recently spoke with CWR.
CWR: Why is marriage unique from other adult relationships?
Anderson: As we argue in our book, it is unique because it involves a union of hearts, minds, and bodies of a man and a woman, at all levels of their beings, in an act that has the potential to produce new human life. Marital relationships are not only emotional, but are ordered towards bearing and rearing children.
If we reject the understanding that marriage should be between one man and one woman, other questions arise. Why, for example, should we limit marriage to two people? What about “thruples” [a three-person “couple”]? What’s so magical about the number two? Perhaps someone believes their marriage would be enhanced with the introduction of a third party. If we don’t insist that marriage is a distinct, bodily union between one man and one woman, then we leave it up to the spouses to decide.
Also, why should marriage be permanent? Emotions come and go, so some people might prefer their marriage to be temporary.
CWR: Polls say younger people are more open to same-sex marriage than the overall population. Why do you think many in your generation have this perspective?