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Author critiques court decision on same-sex marriage

| Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is trying his hand at “freshman philosophy” to redefine marriage in his Supreme Court opinion on same-sex marriage rather than relying on the words of the constitution and legal precedent, Ryan Anderson said.

Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy, gave a lectured titled “Truth Overruled: Marriage and the Future of Religious Freedom” in DeBartolo Hall on Monday evening. The lecture, which was sponsored by Students for Child Oriented Policy, discussed the impact of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage and its possible repercussions on marriage and the family.

Anderson said heterosexual couples that do not adhere to the institution of marriage in its full meaning have caused the problems that afflict the family today.

“The legal redefinition of marriage could only take place after the cultural redefinition of marriage,” he said. “It is only after 50 years of heterosexuals making a mess of love, and sex and the family with non-marital child bearing and high rates of divorce that Anthony Kennedy can say the male-female part doesn’t matter. … This problem with the decline of marriage rates and the increase of non-marital childbearing is a direct consequence of the sexual revolution and the values it began promulgating about the family.”

Anderson said the problem with Justice Kennedy’s ruling is it enshrines the vision of sexuality and marriage that centers on adult romance into our constitution.

“If you think the past 40 or 50 years of marriage practices in the United States has been a good thing for our children, and a good thing for families and communities, the same past 40 or 50 years where we’re seen the introduction about hook-up culture and the doubling of divorce rates, if you think that’s been a good thing for human well-being and human flourishing, then by all means cheer on Anthony Kennedy’s decision,” he said. “If you think this has been problematic in many respects for human well-being and human flourishing, then you might want to be cautious before having five unelected judges redefine what marriage is and then say our constitution requires it.”

Anderson said the overarching argument of his book, which shares a name with the lecture, is that the marriage movement should model itself after the pro-life movement.

“Just like Roe v. Wade, there is nothing in the constitution that actually says there is a constitutional right to have an abortion,” Anderson said. “So too, there is nothing in the actual constitution that requires a redefinition of marriage.”

The Fourteenth Amendment does not give an explicit definition of marriage, Anderson said, and this lack of common understanding about the institution of marriage is the true point of contention in the marriage debate.

“Everyone is in favor of marriage equality,” he said. “Everyone wants the law to treat all Americans equally. The only way that Kennedy could attempt to show the law was violating equality was to smuggle in his own vision of marriage that sees marriage about primarily consenting adult romance.”

Anderson said the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage is degrading the status of marriage in contemporary culture.

“The law cannot teach both views of marriage, it will teach one or the other,” Anderson said. “The law will then shape our culture, our culture will then shape our beliefs, and our beliefs will shape our actions, and not just for you in the audience but for your children and your children’s children.”

The restructuring of marriage to become more compatible with modern attitudes about dating will have negative consequences for the family, he said.

“Now that Justice Kennedy has redefined marriage to make it a genderless institution, there is no institution left in public life that promotes the ideal that every child deserves both a mother and a father,” Anderson said. “What defining marriage does is say men and women are interchangeable and that mothers and fathers as replaceable.”

Anderson said it is better for children to be raised by a mixed-gender couple, and that this benefit to children is the reason for governmental involvement in marriage.

“A secondary concern of mine is the effect redefining marriage has on children,” Anderson said. “A child raised by both a mother and a father is provided with the best environment for human flourishing, and there are a few reasons why. Science supports the fact that biology matters, gender matters, and stability matters.”

Anderson said the demonization of those who have traditional views of the institution of marriage acts as an obstacle to intelligent discourse on the topic.

“If you heard people say over the course of the past decade that if you’re against same-sex marriage, then you’re no better than a racist bigot who is against interracial marriage, believe them,” he said. “Now that they are in the ascendency of cultural power, they intend on treating people who believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman as if they are racists or bigots.

“Unlike the abortion issue, too many people at the elite level on the marriage issue view people who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman as not only wrong, but also evil. It is our challenge, as Middle America, to have a debate where reasonable people of good will can disagree but coexist.”

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  • sdfsd

    I can’t believe I actually thought he would offer an analysis rooted in judicial principles….lol wow

  • Marco Luxe

    This is not an ad hominem attack, just a prediction: Ryan Anderson will be found in a gay bar or with a male prostitute in 5,4,3……

  • “The Fourteenth Amendment does not give an explicit definition of marriage, Anderson said, and this lack of common understanding about the institution of marriage is the true point of contention in the marriage debate.

    ““Everyone is in favor of marriage equality,” he said. “Everyone wants the law to treat all Americans equally. The only way that Kennedy could attempt to show the law was violating equality was to smuggle in his own vision of marriage that sees marriage about primarily consenting adult romance.””

    With all due respect, he did no such thing.

    From “Obergefell v. Hodges” {btw, the Supreme Court ruling under analysis, which is not mentioned in this article}:

    “The right of same-sex couples to marry is also derived from the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always co-extensive, yet each may be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other. This dynamic is reflected in “Loving” {{“Loving v. Virginia”, 388 U. S. 1, 12}}, where the Court invoked both the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause; and in “Zablocki v. Redhail”, 434 U. S. 374, where the Court invalidated a law barring fathers delinquent on child-support payments from marrying. Indeed, recognizing that new insights and societal understandings can reveal unjustified inequality within fundamental institutions that once passed unnoticed and unchallenged, this Court has invoked equal protection principles to invalidate laws imposing sex-based inequality on marriage, see, e.g., “Kirchberg v. Feenstra”, 450 U. S. 455, 460–461, and confirmed the relation between liberty and equality, see, e.g., “M. L. B. v. S. L. J.”, 519 U. S. 102, 120–121.

    “The Court has acknowledged the interlocking nature of these constitutional safeguards in the context of the legal treatment of gays and lesbians. See “Lawrence”, 539 U. S., at 575 {{“Lawrence v. Texas”, 539 U. S. 558, 575}}. This dynamic also applies to same-sex marriage. The challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and they abridge central precepts of equality. The marriage laws at issue are in essence unequal: Same-sex couples are denied benefits afforded opposite-sex couples and are barred from exercising a fundamental right. Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial works a grave and continuing harm, serving to disrespect and subordinate gays and lesbians.

    “(4) The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty.”

    No where here is mentioned made of “romance”. In fact, not once does the word “romance” appear in the 103-page decision. The word “romantic” does appear on Page 26, in a paragraph that certainly anticipates points-of-views such as yours Mr. Anderson regarding how the “expansion of marriage to same-sex couples” will be “bad for society” :

    “The respondents also argue allowing same-sex couples to wed will harm marriage as an institution by leading to fewer opposite-sex marriages. This may occur, the respondents contend, because licensing same-sex marriage severs the connection between natural procreation and
    marriage. That argument, however, rests on a counterintuitive view of opposite-sex couple’s decisionmaking processes regarding marriage and parenthood. Decisions about whether to marry and raise children are based on many personal, romantic, and practical considerations;
    and it is unrealistic to conclude that an opposite-sex couple would choose not to marry simply because same-sex couples may do so.”

    Is this perhaps why you took this “freshman” swipe at Justice Kennedy?

  • James Whistler

    Ryan T. Anderson has a lofty title at his fake intellectual job but is no scholar. Matthew McKenna is an observing sycophant.

  • Tom

    Let me clue you in, Ryan T. Anderson. People who believe that LGBT persons are not entitled to the same rights as everyone else–including the right to marry–are bigots, plain and simple.

  • Charlie Ducey

    I am so glad that this comment section is filled with such displays of intellectual acumen and thorough-going reasoning. Good job team! Everyone is indeed a bigot who doesn’t agree with you!

    • Tom Z.

      Get a life

      • Charlie Ducey

        case in point

        • Tom Z.

          case in point

          • Charlie Ducey

            No, see, the case in point is that no one here is offering any arguments. They’re just throwing words like “bigot” and “sycophant” and going with “givens.”

          • Tom Z.

            That is because there is no argument to be made. I wouldn’t argue with a racist because he thinks black people are icky, I wouldn’t argue with a sexist that thinks women are icky, and I won’t argue with a homophobic bigot who thinks gay people are icky. It’s actually comical how you want discourse on a subject that needs no discourse. It needs people like you to grow old and die so that the newer generations can act with reason and intellect without being religiously brainwashed at a young age. Once again, get a life.

          • Charlie Ducey

            Therein lies the problem. You equate opposition to gay marriage with hatred of gay people. You clearly did not read the article above. There are reasonable people who think marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and there are reasonable people who think that marriage is a union between any two people who are “in love” with each other. There are, indeed, reasonable people who think that marriage is some remnant of patriarchy that should be jettisoned altogether. What divides these reasonable people from the sentiment of the comments here is that they can find a level, rational ground to discuss their viewpoints with mutual respect rather than just calling each other bigots.

          • Tom Z.

            I did read the article, I just don’t buy your bullshit. You think racists say they don’t want blacks marrying whites because they think black people suck? No, they come up with a bunch of reasons to make it seem like they are not racists and are acting rationally. I don’t respect someone who does not earn my respect and you Charlie Ducey are one of those people. So glad religion will become that for old people and the cream will rise to the crop. Grow old and yet the younger generations act rationally while you become a crotchetty old bigot much like the old racist bastards of today.

          • Charlie Ducey

            Tom Z., are you paying attention to my comments? I’m not dialoguing about the issue of gay marriage — did I make any claims about that? I’m dialoguing about the prominent, dismissive, ironically “holier-than-thou” attitude of those who call anyone a “bigot” who pipes up with a rejoinder or reservation about gay marriage or any issue, for that matter. Plastering the other side as bigots without an argument is an ironically bigoted thing to do, is it not? And just who do you think you are masquerading as an anti-religious blowhard on the website of a Catholic school’s newspaper, lest we be reminded of the need to “get a life”?

          • Tom Z.

            I’m proud of this school and sick of people like you give it a bad name. You’re not fooling anybody with, “I’m not making claims about gay marriage” rhetoric

          • Charlie Ducey

            Dude. Do you even go here?
            But the thing is, is that I simply have not made any claims about gay marriage. Regardless of the issue at hand, it is a big time bigoted move (in a self-reflexive and ironic way) to just label the other side as bigoted and walk out of the ring with your hands in the air as if you’ve won the “fight.” I’m making a fairly basic rhetorical point about the structure of debate on the internet and in this country in general. It’s easy to name call and walk away. Far harder, yet far more honest, I should think, to make an argument and have a conversation.

          • Tom Z.

            Senior. Dillon Hall.

            “You can’t win someone over with reason whose opinion was formed without reason in the first place”.
            I have heard every argument in the book and there is not one that comes close to justifying shutting off the concept of marriage to a whole group of people just because they are different. You, my friend, are the bigot. I just want anybody to be allowed to get married regardless of race, gender, orientation. I’m the bigot for trying to ensure everyone has equal rights? Do you know what the definition of that word is?

          • Charlie Ducey

            Tom, bro, you have no idea who I am.

            bigot /ˈbiɡət/ noun “a person who is intolerant of those holding different opinions.”

            Hmm… Now THAT’s interesting, isn’t it. So, being a bigot would involve things like not tolerating or respecting other people’s opinions.

            “I don’t respect someone who does not earn my respect and you Charlie Ducey are one of those people”


            So, perhaps you would like to go back to the drawing boards and think a little more about the issues at hand. I’m not trying to convince you of anything other than the importance of being civil and open to conversation.

  • João Pedro Santos

    How cool, Notre Dame inviting a completely discredited speaker…

  • RandallPoopenmeyer

    O jeesh!! Give the Constitution a rest already!!! There is nothing in the Constitution that gives you the right to stand up and make an a** out of yourself. There is nothing in the Constitution that gives you the right to own a job, a car, a cell phone. Are you even allowed to be outside? Grow up you idiot.