Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, testified before the Indiana House Judiciary Committee yesterday on their proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and woman.
The controversial bill, which would place the amendment on the state ballot and give citizens the right to vote about such an important matter, spurred a three-hour heated debate full of testimonies from both supporters and opponents.
Anderson, co-author with Princeton’s Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis of the acclaimed book “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” which Justice Samuel Alito cited twice in his dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court case involving the Defense of Marriage Act, began his testimony by explaining what marriage is and why marriage matters. According to Anderson, the collapse of marriage over the past 50 years is directly tied to the over-expanded welfare state of the country, and lack of male figureheads in families.
“If the biggest social problem we face right now in the United States is absentee dads,” Anderson said, “How will we insist that dads are essential when the law redefines marriage to make fathers optional?”
He also quoted President Obama, a champion for responsible fatherhood, who’s said children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of schools, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
“Marriage is the institution that different cultures and societies across time and place developed to maximize the likelihood that that man would commit to that woman and then the two of them would take responsibility to raise that child,” Anderson said.
“The state’s interest in marriage is not that it cares about my love life, or your love life, or anyone’s love life just for the sake of romance,” Anderson explained. “The state’s interest in marriage is ensuring that those kids have fathers who are involved in their lives.
The committee failed to reach a verdict, but the chairman said he would schedule the vote for a later date.
To hear Anderson’s full remarks, watch the 10-minute video above.