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05/27/2015

This is such a corrosive idea to put out into the world

by Jeremy Hooper

I married quite young, have been with the same one man for twelve years, and feel that my marriage grows stronger every day. I'm quite the fan of the concept, and I would encourage anyone to give the notion of lifelong marital love and family a fighting chance.

But to Ryan Anderson, Heritage Foundation staffer and suddenly omnipresent "young person who opposes marriage equality," my marriage is only possible because of a previously weakened marriage culture (presumably due to things like no-fault divorce) and will inevitably create further decay in the institution:

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[RyanTAnd]

First we have to address the elephant in the room: That Ryan is unmarried. It's a point that usually doesn't require mention in political commentary, and it's certainly not something for which I would ever fault anyone. Obviously. However, when talking about someone who purports to be such an expert on this, a subject that is at least partially unknowable without having had the experience, it's certainly noteworthy that he himself is more of a "teacher" than a "doer." I note it as a bullet point pertinent to the discussion, not as a judgement.

That out of the way, let's move to more important things. Namely, that it's the height of arrogance to shoehorn certain kinds of marriages into the middle of this slippery slope conceit of Ryan's own design. First, he uses the phrase "redefinition of marriage" when he really means expansion of civil marriage rights independent of gender requirement. Because that's what folks on his team always do: redefine words and phrases so that a good is portrayed as an evil. It's much easier to sell the idea that the current marriage debate is just another step on this "weakened" journey if you make its proponents seem like shady shifters of the marital shape who are headset to "redefine" rather than as what we are: loving American taxpayers who have made the winning case for our deserved inclusion.

But beyond language, just the notion that he can (and does and does and does...) so flippantly put marriages like mine on this path tells me everything I need to know about the Ryan Anderson mindset. It tells me that he doesn't see us as human beings who so very much want to be a part of this institution that others have treated as so disposable and worthless. He certainly doesn't see us as capable of providing any strength or fortitude, to each other or to the culture. He sees our love as akin to divorce and trial separation and whatever else Ryan, a devout Catholic, has come to see as corrosive. Moreover, he sees our love and our families as catalysts that that are not only incapable of bettering the culture, but that will ultimately corrode it further. By marrying, we will do this. Somehow.

It's just nasty. He is already pre-blaming us for whatever might befall marriage in the future, because why not? But he's also demanding that our family-forming freedoms needed some sort of toxic petri dish in order to ever go viral in the first place. He's damning the present for damning the future; he's damning the past for damning the present. But the gays are always damned—dammit!

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