Ryan“The crowd was so large, organizers had to halt the lecture midway through in order to move the event to a larger room.”

Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation has emerged as one of the primary voices of opposition to the movement to legalize same sex marriage in the U.S. Anderson delivered a lecture entitled ‘A Case Against Gay Marriage’ at Boston College on Thursday, drawing an unexpectedly large crowd of students, at least some of whom attended as part of an organized opposition to his appearance.

The crowd was so large, organizers had to halt the lecture midway through in order to move the event to a larger room.

According to The Heights, a student newspaper at Boston College, Anderson said Americans are losing touch with the true purpose of marriage, which is to formalize the relationship between a biological mother and father.

Anderson argued that advocates of gay marriage are wrong to view marriage as simply an intense emotional relationship between two adults, and instead marriage should be understood, primarily, as a relationship between a father and a mother for the purpose of raising children:

Anderson began by running down a list of things upon which he would not be basing his argument: morality, sexual orientation/homosexuality, religion, tradition. “I think frequently people have an expectation of what they’re going to hear,” he said. “I make a philosophical and policy argument about marriage.”

He then asked a question of the crowd. “From the looks of the t-shirts, this is probably a challenge for most of the audience,” he said. “I want to know what you think marriage is … that’s actually the question that people in favor of redefining marriage refuse to answer. And they refuse to answer that question by hiding behind what I think is a rather sloppy slogan: marriage equality.”

Anderson said that everyone involved in the debate over marriage is ultimately in favor of equality. “We all want the government to treat all real marriages in the same way. The question is, what type of relationship is a marriage?”

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