He's eloquent, articulate, patient, kind, knowledgeable and is increasingly being seen to be the go to guy one needs when defending traditional marriage. He's also fighting an uphill battle:
Another day, another town. Ryan T. Anderson, the conservative movement’s fresh-faced, millennial, Ivy League-educated spokesman against same-sex marriage, has another busy schedule.
There is an interview with conservative talk radio, a debate with a liberal professor at the University of Colorado’s law school and, after that, a lecture to Catholic students eager to hear Anderson’s view that the Constitution does not require that marriage be “redefined” to include same-sex couples.
The Supreme Court will soon be deciding just that question. And Anderson, a 33-year-old scholar at the Heritage Foundation, has emerged as a leading voice for those who resent being labeled hopelessly old-fashioned — or, worse, bigoted — for believing that marriage should be only between a man and a woman.
“Gays and lesbians undoubtedly have been discriminated against,” Anderson says. “But marriage is not part of that discrimination.”
Anderson says he has no illusions that his arguments will turn the tide, at least for now, but that he feels it is important to “reassure” those who agree with him and try to make others think.
He has become a circuit rider with an iPad, filled with philosophy and (disputed) social science. Anderson says he is happy if Americans at least consider his message: that government’s interest in regulating marriage is to protect the offspring that come only from the male-female union, not to validate the desires of adults.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. cited his work twice in his dissent from the court’s opinion in United States v. Windsor, which struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Anderson is becoming a prominent face of the opposition in news media appearances.
His appeal in part owes something to counter-programming. A Princeton graduate with a doctorate in economic policy from Notre Dame, his views are at odds with other elite academics with whom he has so much in common. They are the opposite of those in his demographic. A devout Catholic, he nonetheless believes it a losing argument to oppose the legality of same-sex marriage on religious or moral grounds.
On Anderson’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, same-sex marriage supporters regularly tell Anderson that it is easy for him to advocate a wait-and-see approach: It is not his rights that are being denied or delayed or suggested for referendum.
He seems almost surprised at the reaction he provokes.
“On the marriage issue, they don’t think you’re just wrong, they think you’re evil,” he says. “And that your views are bigoted. I count it as a success if I can at least get someone to say, ‘I disagree with you, but I don’t think you’re crazy or full of animus. I think you’re wrong, but I understand why you believe what you believe.’ ”
Read the whole thing.
We need more like Mr. Anderson. Many more. Perhaps too many more.