These remarks were delivered by Ryan Anderson on Thursday June 11, 2013 in Laguna Nigel at the closing banquet of Alliance Defending Freedoms Academy:
Thank you, Alliance Defending Freedom, for your heroic work defending life, marriage, and liberty. During the past year it has been a blessing to work together on marriage. It’s been a source of encouragement. Thank you Austin Nimocks, Kellie Fiedorek, and Greg Scott for your friendship over the past year.
And what a year it’s been.
I was hired by The Heritage Foundation to do work on ethics and economics. It’s what my dissertation—which I still need to write—is about. But then the President “evolved.” And the Supreme Court granted cert. And I had this co-authored book coming out on marriage. A book that was supposed to be my last word on the topic—so I could write that unwritten dissertation—and move on to other issues.
But God had other plans.
In the past year Austin, Kellie and I have briefed over 50 members of Congress, hundreds of congressional staffers, and another couple hundred coalition partners in DC. This was the first time I ever spoke to a member of Congress. There were other “firsts.” During this past year I’ve lectured on college campuses for the first time. I’ve gone on TV for the first time. I’ve been called uneducated and un-American for the first time.
I learned something from these experiences: that the argument for marriage hasn’t been heard and rejected; it simply hasn’t been heard. Thanks to invitations from Blackstone Fellows and Federalist Society chapters, I’ve debated marriage at a couple dozen colleges and law schools. On almost every campus I visited, including elite law schools like Stanford and NYU, students came up to me afterwards to say that they had never heard a rational case for marriage. The Lefties would tell me that they respected the argument—and frequently weren’t sure why it was wrong, even when they continued to insist that it was wrong. (First Things)