Here at Stanford this past spring, the Anscombe Society braved threats and intimidation of all kinds to host a conference in favor of traditional marriage. In this video one of the speakers, the marvelously articulate and completely fearless Ryan Anderson, replies to a questioner. Watch the video, if you have 104 seconds to spare, and then note, if you would, my questions below:
Without quite realizing it, I saw when I listened to this exchange, I’d been sliding toward at least a grudging acceptance of the libertarian position on marriage—namely, that we should get the government out of the business of defining marriage altogether. Which leads to:
1) Anderson is right, isn’t he, that such an approach leads inevitably to viewing marriage as merely a subset of contract law? If a man wants to marry a man, fine; let them draw up a legally binding contract. If one man wants to marry six women; or two men, two women; or one woman another—again, fine. Let them simply draw up the proper contracts, and let the government enforce them as it would any contract.
2) This really won’t do, will it? Marriage between one man and one woman really is different, and the state needs to recognize that reality, or—what? Or chaos. Yes?