Ryan Anderson on MSNBC talking about Gay Marriage cases before the Supreme Court

Ryan Anderson is one of the co-authors of the watershed book in favor of traditional marriage What is Marriage? He is one of the most articulate proponents of traditional marriage, and he appeared on MSNBC over the weekend to debate the issue.

The program featured Anderson versus three advocates of legal gay marriage. When Anderson was allowed to talk, he did a fantastic job. But what is interesting about this exchange is how little the host and the other guests let him talk. Anderson’s rebuttals were cut off, but his opponents’ rebuttals were not. It was very clear that this was not an equal time thing. Both the moderator and the other guests viewed Anderson as “on the wrong side of history,” and so it appears that they gave little if any thought to giving him a fair hearing. See for yourself.


  • Ken Temple

    Have you read the book, What is Marriage: Man and Woman, A Defense, ? (Robert George, Sharif Gergis, Ryan Anderson) You have mentioned it before, but if you have read it, is it the best book on the whole issue?

    I have heard other Reformed Apologists say that it is more of a “natural law” argument
    rather than a Biblical argument.

    (does that mean a Deism argument from the Declaration of Independence phrase? )

    If you have read it, so you agree with that assessment?

    • Denny Burk

      Yes, I’ve highlighted the book many times on this blog. The aim of the book is to make the case for marriage without appealing to religious authority. So yes, it is a natural law approach. I think it’s an important book on marriage, and we need these arguments. But it’s not the only or last word. As Christians, we have to make the biblical case as well.

  • Ken Temple

    Thanks for your response.


    In the reviews of the book on Amazon, some say the book is a gift to the left and gay marriage movement, because there is not much of an argument there;

    “The gay rights movement owes a sincere debt of gratitude to Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George for writing “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense”. The book’s early praises, by some of our most respected conservative scholars and leaders, make it clear that this is a singularly eloquent, insightful, and compelling defense of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Thus, the fact that its substantive arguments are often circular, frequently untenable, and uniformly unconvincing is an extraordinarily powerful indictment of the contemporary crusade to deny the responsibilities and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples.” From a Reviewer named Brian Zack

    “often circular”
    “frequently untenable”
    “uniformly unconvincing”

    all seem to be very subjective standards of critiquing it, especially the last 2.

    They say that the book makes the argument for “the male -female- one flesh relationship” – It seems to me that the main point about “male and female” being the “one flesh union” is really the biblical case, but it seems people are saying they don’t appeal directly to the bible, but that is where the phrase comes from. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:3-6; Ephesians 5)

    Most of those in the public talk shows are just saying the Supreme Court should let the states decide slowly. But even if the states say it is ok in the next 20 years, it is still wrong. Public opinion does not determine truth.

    I am surprised that so many young 20-30 years old are reported to be for so called “gay marriage”; yet mostly against abortion. Seems to be a disconnect.

  • Ken Temple

    Sorry-the video in the above clip was meant to be in this post.

    Hardly anyone is making the Biblical case in public – Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, etc. – they all seem to be shy about making it a Biblical case. Gingrich, Charles Krauthammer, and other Republicans are saying let the states decide.

    Evangelicals seem afraid to speak in public. Roman Catholics, conservative Jews, and other conservatives stick to natural law arguments and states rights arguments. (let the people and the states decide, not the Supreme Court)

    Maybe our side is loosing because so many are afraid to be thought of as “uncool” and “mean-spirited” and being called a bigot, etc.

    But Nicolle Wallace (Republican – formerly on staff for George W. Bush) was on Fox News Sunday making the argument that conservatives and Republicans should be for “same sex” marriage. (She and 100 Republicans have filed an amicus brief.) I would interested to know if you have seen that debate between her and Gary Bauer. see below

    • buddyglass

      “Hardly anyone is making the Biblical case in public – Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, etc. – they all seem to be shy about making it a Biblical case.”

      Possibly because they feel making the biblical case would be neither appropriate nor effective in convincing those outside the church.

      If the strictly biblical case (i.e. “sexual relationships involving same-sex partners, including but not limited to marriage, are sinful”) is the most effective one s.s.m. opponents are able to muster then they’ve already lost.

  • Colin

    Tomorrow the Supreme Court of the land hears the case about the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. As I was contemplating the rhetoric that is typically used by the LGBT community in support of same-sex marriage, I started to wonder, what about the B’s in the LGBT community? B stands for bisexual, right? Well, is the LGBT community arguing for the right to marriage for the bisexual? If not, why? If so, wouldn’t that necessitate a three-way marriage? If a man loves both men AND women, who’s to prevent HIM from marrying those he loves? Are we going to make him choose one at a time? Isn’t that discrimination? And if he is allowed to marry both, does that mean that his partners are married to each other as well? As you can see (if you are a logical, thinking human being) the argument that same-sex marriage will inevitably lead to all manners of other marriage distortions, such polygamy, is not really that far-fetched. In fact, it exists in the very definition of the LGBT community.

    • buddyglass

      “Well, is the LGBT community arguing for the right to marriage for the bisexual? If not, why? If so, wouldn’t that necessitate a three-way marriage? If a man loves both men AND women, who’s to prevent HIM from marrying those he loves?”

      “Bisexual” doesn’t imply “polyamorous”. The vast majority of bisexuals are not interested in polyamorous relationships. As such, they are not inconvenienced by the current status quo except insofar as it prevents the from marrying someone of the same sex. The movement to grant legal recognition to same-sex couples would largely address the concerns of the bisexual community.

      It’s not entirely far-fetched that the securing of marriage rights by same-sex couples might lead eventually to those rights being further extended to other non-traditional formulations. Two thoughts there:

      1. So what?

      2. It’s much easier to argue against non-binary marriages (even in the presence of legal same-sex marriage) than it is to argue against same-sex marriages in our current legal environment. For three reasons:

      a. Opponents can trot out sister-wife after sister-wife to tell her gut-wrenching story about how patriarchal polygamous relationships are either inherently abusive to women or are, at least, highly prone to abuse. I suspect this sort of emotional appeal would strongly resonate with female voters, including (and perhaps especially) those of the feminist persuasion.

      b. Non-binary marriage would necessitate a much greater revamp of marriage law than simply integrating same-sex binary marriages into the existing framework. For that reason alone many pragmatists would oppose it. It’s just too much of a hassle.

      c. The set of folks actively seeking legal polygamous marriage is much smaller than the set of folks actively seeking legal same-sex marriage. That’s not likely to change.

    • James Bradshaw

      A bisexual still has the option of marrying a woman. A gay person has ZERO options. None. Sure, he can marry someone of the opposite sex, but why would they?

      Would YOU marry a lesbian?

  • Brett Cody

    More than that, if transgendered persons identify as the opposite gender than they are physically, then how do they get to marry? Are they marrying the same gender? If so, do they gain rights under the homosexual “marriage” laws that LGBT’s are lobbying for? No logical arguments from the LGBT community. None whatsoever.

    • Lauren Bertrand

      Brett, as I understand it, transgendered persons overwhelmingly identify with a single gender–usually opposite to the one with which they are born. Many of them complete the sex-change operations, at which point they are legally (and, at that point, biologically) of the opposite gender, chromosomes notwithstanding. I’m not that familiar with any transgendered persons, but, from what I know, they typically pursue heterosexual relationships, using as a standard the gender by which they currently identify. Most of the partners of transgendered persons are heterosexual and see their trans spouse as belonging to the sex to which he/she identifies. Few of them ever “sought” a transgendered person. I’m not sure what “logical arguments” would follow from this, because, once the sex change is complete, the legal marriage filing would proceed like any conventional heterosexual marriage filing.

  • Lauren Bertrand

    Colin, though I am in favor of SSM, I think you do raise some very valid questions, albeit obliquely. My (imperfect) understanding is that bisexuals would fall somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey Scale from 0 to 6, placing them at a 2, 3, or 4, meaning not exclusively hetero (0) or exclusively homo (6). That does not translate to necessarily desiring multiple romantic partners simultaneously, which is the quality of polyamory–which in itself is an entirely different pairing situation which could involve people of any orientation (homo, hetero, bi).

    At the same time, I see how it is easy to draw the conclusion that these SSM laws will open the door to further expansion in the definition of marriage. Though I have only read some paraphrases (including Denny Burk’s) of Anderson et al’s book “What is Marriage?”, it does appear to make a reasonably compelling claim that it will be difficult to argue against polyamory, once same sex marriage is the law of the land. Though this remains to be seen, I agree this could be true, and this is one of the (few) arguments that I find problematic about legalizing SSM. I don’t think the “slippery slope” argument can be applied broadly, because I see no evidence that zoophilia or pedophilia becoming legal–nowhere where SSM is currently legal have these advocacy groups gained any political traction. For most people, the inability of animals/children to give consent is enough to foster broad social disapproval. Same with incest, and the state has a legitimate interest in disallowing a form of procreation which virtually always results in serious genetic/developmental abnormalities.

    But polyamory/polygamy become more problematic. The fundamental goal I can see of polygamy (where one man is married to multiple wives, but they are not married to one another) is the production of many children, often far more than any man can reasonably afford to care for. We typically associate this with fundamentalist religious sects in Mormonism and Islam, though some African Christians still practice this. In this case, it again becomes a legitimate concern of the state to monitor this, since it can result in the proliferation of unparented children. Polyamory usually involves a clustering of three or more people who are all mutually married to one another in shared household and romantic involvement. I’m not sure what the outcomes would be to raise children in such an environment (particularly in terms of the stability of the family unit), but from an economic argument it does not seem to pose the same problems as polygamy.

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