New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Opposes Marriage Equality

Timothy Kincaid

April 23rd, 2009

From the Boston Globe:

The state Senate’s Judiciary Committee has recommended that the Legislature reject legalizing gay marriage in New Hampshire.

The committee voted 3-2 Thursday against a bill that passed the House last month. Committee Chairwoman Deborah Reynolds, a Democrat, said she doesn’t think New Hampshire is ready for gay marriage. Republicans who voted against it said marriage is an institution created and defined by God as between one man and one woman.

New Hampshire Republicans have clearly never cracked the bindings of a Bible. I’m hard pressed to think of a single Biblical hero who actually was in a traditional marriage. Most had more than “one woman”, some married their siblings, some married total strangers, some had children with slaves, some were eunuchs, some eschewed marriage altogether, and some married prostitutes.


April 23rd, 2009

Whether “marriage” was ordained by God or not isn’t the point and that is something opponents of marriage equality don’t seem to get. They have the right to their religious beliefs but they don’t have the right to foist those beliefs on every other citizen of this country.

If their particular church doesn’t want to affirm same-sex marriages they have that right,(just as they have the right now not to marry a couple that doesn’t belong to their congregation or to their demonimation) but they don’t have the right to contend that the state should base it’s civil laws on their particular church’s choices. There are many churches (Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ and Metropolitan Community Church to name a few) that do affirm and support same-sex marriage. Why shouldn’t the state have to base it’s laws on their belief systems? Why don’t those on the religious right care about the religious freedom of these churches?

The point is that religious bias has no place in civil law and that is what this issue is about. It doesn’t matter what anyone’s Bible says, what matters is that constitutionally we are all supposed to be treated equally under the law and everyone (regardless of sexual orientation) should have the right to marry the person they love.


April 23rd, 2009

Then there are Mary and Joseph- talk about a real traditional family. Mary wasn’t even formally married to Joesph when she got pregnant, was she?

Richard W. Fitch

April 23rd, 2009

Tim – They were ALL in traditional marriages – for their time and cultural. As has been stated many times here and elsewhere, what anti-gay marriage advocates in the USA hold up as ‘traditional marriage’ has taken its present form only since the early part of the 20th century, after women gained the right to vote and after they stepped in to fill the workplace void during the wars. This present situation underlines again the need to separate the sacrament of marriage from the legal and civil rights sought by all couples, regardless of gender, in established long-term relationships. Let the religious bodies have marriage and allow civil government to provide validity and security, with all the rights and responsibilities of a contract, to consenting adults. [and as an aside to Homer – There are some reputable NT scholars that hold Mary may have been carrying the son of a Roman soldier. Various passages in the Gospel of Mark are pointed out as consistent with the idea – especially one referring to Jesus as ‘the son of Mary’, a highly inconsistent reference in a highly patriarchal society.]


April 23rd, 2009

Kristie : A lot of people don’t seem to get all that. And that’s from someone who generally has a lot of respect for religious institutions. No church would (or should) be forced to accept same-sex marriage if they choose, but that has nothing to do with U.S. citizens being, legally, able to choose a significant other of the same sex.


April 24th, 2009


I wholeheartedly agree with you. I guess what I should have said in that last paragraph was that religion (full stop) rather than religious bias has no place in civil law. Didn’t make myself totally clear there.


April 24th, 2009

You got to love all the revisionist history.

This is the history of Christianity and marriage:

First-century Christians did not value the family and saw celibacy and freedom from family ties as a preferable state.

Augustine believed that marriage was a sacrament because it was a symbol used by Paul to express Christ’s love of the Church. Despite this for the Fathers of the Church with their hatred of sex, marriage could not be a true and valuable Christian vocation. Jerome wrote: “It is not disparaging wedlock to prefer virginity. No one can make a comparison between two things if one is good and the other evil” (Letter 22). Tertullian argued that marriage “consists essentially in fornication” (An Exhortation to Chastity”) Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage said that the first commandment given to men was to increase and multiply, but now that the earth was full there was no need to continue this process of multiplication. Augustine was clear that if everybody stopped marrying and having children that would be an admirable thing; it would mean that the Kingdom of God would return all the sooner and the world would come to an end.

This negative view of marriage was reflected in the lack of interest shown by the Church authorities. No special ceremonial was devised to celebrate Christian marriage – despite the fact that the Church quickly produced liturgies to celebrate the Eucharist, Baptism and Confirmation. It was not important for a couple to have their nuptials blessed by a priest. People could marry by mutual agreement in the presence of witnesses. This system, known as Spousals, persisted after the Reformation. At first, the old Roman pagan rite was used by Christians, although modified superficially. The first detailed account of a Christian wedding in the West dates from the 9th century and was identical to the old nuptial service of Ancient Rome.

Most Christians were in common law marriages until the 16th Century or so. It wasn’t required that Christians be married in the presence of a priest until the Council of Trent. In England, that wasn’t a requirement until the Marriage Act of 1753.

The modern, western version of marriage was created by the State, managed by the State and can be altered by the State. If the Church, or any other religious body, wants to Sacramentalize it and choose who its wants to marry, that is fine too. But to pretend, as some on the religious right do, that marriage was some central ceremony of the Church which all devout Christians partook of, which the State later took over and is trying to change, is simply revisionist history.

David Benkof

April 24th, 2009


I found your words above interesting and worthy of comment and I have blogged about them at:

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