Ryan Anderson’s Uphill Fight to Change Young Minds on Gay Marriage

Ryan Anderson has planted himself on arguably the most unpopular stance for his generation: opposing gay marriage

Together with Princeton Ph.D. candidate Sherif Girgis, George and Anderson released “What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense,” a 150-page book that has become go-to material for conservatives looking to argue against gay marriage. The trio also wrote a similar article for the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

Ryan Anderson has planted himself on arguably the most unpopular stance for his generation: opposing gay marriage.

At 31, Anderson has become one of the leading voices in the
“millennial” generation against the legalization of gay marriage. With the upcoming Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage, his ideas have been circulated in conservative circles, giving him an influence beyond his years.

“Debating marriage is probably not what I would have chosen,” said Anderson, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington. “It’s the question that most likely gets you kicked out of your law firm.”

Anderson’s path began as a research assistant to Robert P. George, a Princeton professor who’s been called “this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker” by The New York Times.

“Ryan is on his way to establishing himself as the leader on those of the conservative side of the spectrum,” George said. “He is both brilliant and brave, a powerful combination for a young and emerging public intellectual.”

CNN’s Piers Morgan invited Anderson to debate same-sex marriage on his show, but seated him in the audience, not at a table alongside gay financial guru Suze Orman. The idea was to get Anderson to debate from a distance. “He held more than his own, kept his composure and answered their abuse with arguments,” George said.

In brief bullet points, Anderson offers three reasons why he opposes gay marriage:

1)   There would be no government institution that defends the idea that children deserve both a mother and a father.

2)   The redefinition of marriage won’t stop with gay marriage.

3)   The impact it could have on religious liberty and rights of conscience for opponents.

But proponents of gay marriage like Jonathan Rauch, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, find the arguments ineffective. According to the Pew Research Center, support for gay marriage has jumped from 33 percent to 51 percent over the past 10 years. Among Anderson’s millennial generation, that figure hits 70 percent.

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