Ryan T. Anderson discusses the legal status of same-sex relationships in his article “In defense of traditional marriage” (2013). He contends that marriage is defined historically, socially and legally as existing between a man and a woman and should remain so defined for the benefit of society. Anderson is correct in his historical interpretation of marriage; yet present day usage would imply that the definition of marriage is undergoing a social change which should be reflected in the law.
The premises Anderson puts forth are not new. For the most part they are steeped in as much tradition as the notion of marriage itself. Initially, he argues that marriage is one of the primary ingredients in civilization. It is so integral to society that all other enlightenment rests on its bulk. Additionally, he stresses that same-sex couples already have protection for basic civil rights but that legalizing gay marriage would amount to adding new civil rights – the ability to have the government recognize their marriage - to those already in existence. Marriage, as Anderson defines it, exists solely for the benefit of bearing and raising children. Those children fare better when raised by both a mother and a father, thus, marriage also protects the happiness and prosperity of future generations. Additionally, marriage acts as a social incentive to commit to a lasting relationship, again, ensuring happy, healthy children.
The second half of Anderson’s argument relates to his premise that marriage is for dual-sex couples only. He offers 41 states that legally define marriage in this way as proof to his way of thinking. Furthermore, every marriage policy draws a line excluding one type of couple or another from marrying. This premise implies that same-sex couples are being treated no differently than first cousins or minors without parental permission. Finally, Anderson asserts that once procreation has been eliminated from the equation, relationships can only be quantified by depth of feelings for one another. In other words, emotions would be the only thing demarking the need for marriage. Anderson concludes that the courts should continue the sanctity of marriage by upholding those laws which define it as a union between a man and a woman.
There is a deductive component to Anderson’s debate. He contends that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples are not comprised of a man and a woman. Therefore, same-sex relationships are not marriages. This argument is valid as it establishes a firm connection between his conclusion and his reasoning, but not sound in that the definition of marriage is up for debate.
Much of Anderson’s argument is inductive, in that his premises cannot be patently proven true, however, they do serve to support and bolster his conclusion that current marriage laws should remain in effect. His argument is only mediocre in strength as his premises are rife with bias and repeatedly...