With what appears to be a bit of irony, just as Bishop Budde’s article discusses the role religion plays in the same-sex marriage debate in Maryland, Bishop Robinson makes it clear that religion should not be the cause of undoing marriage equality in New Hampshire:
While we are “one nation under God,’’ no one set of religious values is or ever has been the basis of the law of our land. Theological questions about same-sex marriage may be an issue for many lawmakers, and while I respect their faith, I want them to consider that these important religious questions should remain in the religious sphere and out of the State House.
That’s because while our government cannot impede the right to the free exercise of religion, no particular religion has the right to impose its values on our society. In fact, different religions view this matter differently, with some embracing their gay and lesbian congregants who want to join in marriage, and others rejecting it altogether.
Is this an argument that counters Bishop Budde’s point? I think not. Bishop Budde addresses classic religious arguments against same-sex marriage: arguments that keep people from entering conversations about treating people equally.
Bishop Robinson’s reminder is that one religious system is not the law of the land: and that the teachings of a particular religion should not be used to legislate.
It’s worth noting that, in conclusion, New Hampshire’s current law reflects religious thought in general:
There is no moral, logical, economic, or legal reason that this law, which almost 4000 individuals have now taken advantage of, should not be left in place. Sixty-four percent of our fellow citizens agree, according to a recent statewide survey. The law has strengthened New Hampshire families, not harmed them, and that’s a basic tenet of all major religions.
Some lawmakers suggest that this bill is a compromise by granting gay and lesbian couples civil unions. But there’s a fundamental problem with that – civil unions are not equal to marriage and in New Hampshire we don’t treat one group of citizens one way and another group another way. Marriage equality doesn’t need to be “fixed’’ because nothing replaces equality. Nothing.