Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gay Episcopal bishop V. Gene Robinson favors separation of civil and religious institutions of marriage

04/20/09 Los Angeles Times:

V. Gene Robinson is bishop of an Episcopal diocese in New Hampshire. Last summer, he "was barred from taking part in leadership meetings at the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade global gathering of Anglicans."

On 04/19/09, he told a church in Studio City, California, that he favors the exclusive role that France reserves to government officials for performing civil marriages. "In this country," he said, "it has become very confusing about where the civil action begins and ends and where the religious action begins and ends, because we have asked clergy to be agents of the state ... If we can get these two things [religious marriage and civil marriage] separated, we can assure every religious group, no matter how conservative, that they will never have to bless these [same-sex] marriages." If the California Supreme Court upholds Prop. 8, its ruling would, of course, moot the purpose of Robinson's proposal - to guarantee civil marriage of same-sex couples.

With its "2 Million for Marriage" ad campaign, the National Organization for Marriage has renewed controversy over perceived conflict between same-sex marriage and religious freedom. The controversy has inspired others to propose a more sweeping reform than Robinson's, in which the state would continue to recognize all the rights, duties, and benefits of marriage, except in name. During the Prop. 8 oral arguments, Justice Ming Chin had asked Kenneth Starr whether the proposal would provide equal protection to same-sex couples, and whether the Court could order it.

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