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Heritage Expert

Ryan T. Anderson

  • William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society
The Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity

Ryan T. Anderson researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He also focuses on justice and moral principles in economic thought, health care and education, and has expertise in bioethics and natural law theory.

Anderson, who joined the leading Washington think tank’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society in 2012, also is the editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, N.J.

Anderson’s recent work at Heritage focuses on the constitutional questions surrounding same-sex “marriage.” He is the co-author with Princeton’s Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis of the acclaimed book “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” (Encounter Books, December 2012).

 Justice Samuel Alito cited the book twice in his dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court case involving the Defense of Marriage Act. The three also co-wrote the article “What is Marriage?” in the winter 2011 issue of Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

Anderson, George and Girgis filed amicus briefs with the 9th Circuit Court on the appeal of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case reviewing the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, and with the 1st Circuit Court on the challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In January 2013, the co-authors filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court after it agreed to hear the cases.

In addition to a memorable 2013 debate about marriage on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live,” Anderson’s broadcast and cable appearances include news programs on CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. His work has been featured in or published by major newspapers and magazines, including  the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Washington Examiner, National Review, Weekly Standard and Christianity Today. It also has appeared in journals such as Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, First Things, Claremont Review of Books, New Atlantis, Touchstone, Books and Culture, The City and Human Life Review.

Anderson’s previous positions include assistant editor of First Things; journalism fellow of the Phillips Foundation; and executive director of the Witherspoon Institute, where he was research assistant to Robert P. George and Jean Bethke Elshtain.

Anderson received his bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. He is a doctoral candidate in political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, where he received his master’s degree. His research spans the natural law tradition in conversation with classical and contemporary liberalism. His dissertation focuses on debates about social justice with the tentative title “Beyond Private Property and Social Welfare: Economic Justice and Economic Rights.”

Anderson, who was born in Baltimore, Md., currently resides in Washington, D.C.

Follow him on Twitter: @RyanT_Anderson


All Publications by Ryan T. Anderson