This video clip (3:30) is a “highlight reel” of a talk titled “What Is Marriage?” (55:57), followed by a Q&A session (36:11), in which 32-year-old PhD candidate (Notre Dame) Ryan T. Anderson explains in common-sense terms why “marriage equality” is a term devoid of any meaning if there’s no agreed-upon definition of what marriage is. He goes on to give a cogent definition of marriage.
Ryan’s presentation is based entirely on logic and social science research results. He does not based his argument on the Bible or on morality or on tradition. Of course, most supporters of “marriage equality” reject the Bible and tradition as authoritative, and they view morality as individually determined and therefore lacking authority as well. Alas, it’s apparent from the Q&A session that some of them don’t even consider logic as authoritative. Nonetheless, Anderson’s argument is one that reasonable people – whether Christians or not – should be able to understand and accept.
Anderson, along with Rhodes scholar Sherif Girgis and Princeton professor Robert P. George, co-authored the book What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense. The heart of the book originally appeared as an essay in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, where it garnered signficant attention. Here is an excerpt of the Amazon description of the book:
Most compellingly, they show that those who embrace same-sex civil marriage leave no firm ground–none–for not recognizing every relationship describable in polite English, including polyamorous sexual unions, and that enshrining their view would further erode the norms of marriage, and hence the common good.
Finally, What Is Marriage? decisively answers common objections: that the historic view is rooted in bigotry, like laws forbidding interracial marriage; that it is callous to people’s needs; that it can’t show the harm of recognizing same-sex couplings, or the point of recognizing infertile ones; and that it treats a mere “social construct” as if it were natural, or an unreasoned religious view as if it were rational.
Anderson’s talk is an encapsulation of the book’s argument.
You and I can take God’s word for the definition and purpose and marriage, but you have neighbors who don’t accept the Bible and don’t want to hear about it. For them, the logic of this presentation will help them strengthen their intuitions or even come to their senses. It’s essentially a secular argument against redefining marriage.
If this short clip interests you, follow the link below it to the full talk, and to the Q&A that followed it.