Prof. Robert George at NYC Panel: Supporters of Marriage "Should Not be Playing Defense"


John Woods of Catholic New York recently attended a panel discussion in New York City featuring the three authors of the essay What is Marriage?, including Prof. Robert George. The author says he came away with a lot to think about:

I decided to attend an evening panel presentation titled “What Is Marriage?” that was offered July 19 in the Youth Center of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Manhattan. The event was organized by the archdiocese’s Young Adult Outreach under the leadership of its director, Patrick Langrell. He also served as moderator of the discussion, which included an extensive question-and-answer period with audience members.

The lead panelist, Robert George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, is regarded as one of the foremost Christian scholars in the United States. Joining him on the panel were Sherif Girgis, a doctoral candidate in philosophy at Princeton University, and Ryan Anderson, a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Notre Dame.

... [Prof. George] went on to say that when it comes to promoting the case for the conjugal view of marriage, its supporters “should not be playing defense.” That’s easier said than done in a popular culture and media landscape where those who make a case for marriage in its time-honored, traditional sense are often branded as bigots, homophobes and haters, he explained.

Turning the tables on those who express support for same-sex marriage, Anderson offered these questions: What principle of reason would limit such partnerships to two people? Or to a relationship that is sexually exclusive? Or permanent? “Our argument,” Anderson concluded, “is that once you eliminate sexual complementarity in the bodily union that is uniquely formed between a man and a woman then you no longer have any rational basis for including those three norms.”