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Bishop Gene Robinson: SCOTUS Will Overturn Defense Of Marriage Act

Michael Brindley, NHPR

Bishop Gene Robinson predicts the United States Supreme Court will rule the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

Appearing on NHPR’s The Exchange, Robinson also says the Supreme Court will reaffirm a lower court decision to overturn a California law banning same-sex marriages.

“I think they won’t make marriage equality the law of the land, but I think they will reaffirm this case for California, reinstating marriage there, and by so doing, they will signal the rest the country, this is coming to a theater near you.”

The Supreme Court recently announced it would take up both cases, the first time the issue will be heard in the nation’s highest court.

Robinson made international news by being the first openly gay person elected Bishop of an Episcopal Diocese. Robinson is stepping down next month after nearly a decade as the head of the New Hampshire diocese.

Robinson says that while acceptance of gay marriage is growing in the country, but bullying among children in the LGBT community is still a problem.

You can follow the live blog of Robinson's appearance on The Exchange below.

9:54: On SCOTUS review of gay marriage: It will stir things up; DOMA will go down as unconstitutional. “It was an unusual step for conservatives, who usually argue the federal government should not intrude on state’s rights.” On Prop 8 out of California: they won’t make marriage equality law of land, but will reaffirm this case.

9:53: On language: We accept the term “gay,” but “gay marriage” makes it sound like we’re looking for something different than what other people have.

9:50 Change in public attitudes toward homosexuality: Hard to find someone under 30 who understands why we would be arguing about gay marriage. It’s true that bullying and suicide alive and well among our young people. On one hand, made all this progress, but we’ve got kids jumping off bridges. Kids can be unbelievably cruel to each other and don’t need much encouragement. But we are seeing progress in every age group in attitudes toward gay marriage.

9:47: Somehow we’ve let those seven small passages in scripture allow us to discriminate and feel ill toward people who have homosexual orientation. We have to look at scripture as a whole; we need to love all of God’s children. We need to repair the damage this has done to the LGBT community.

9:45: I don’t believe God asks us to set aside who are, but asks us to live a life of integrity. Marriage is the institution that encourages us to love another person more than we love ourselves; if anything reflects God’s nature, it’s that. 

9:38: Does gay marriage push boundaries to things like polygamy?” We’re not tossing all of our values to the wind.” It just astounds me that people worry about this.  It’s hard enough to be in a relationship with one person. I can’t imagine more than one; no one is arguing for that.

9:35: Why aren’t civil unions enough? When your partner is in the emergency room, that is not the time to start educating nursing staff on what rights are available with a civil union. “There’s just no common understanding of what that means.” If you walk in and say I want to see my husband, everyone knows what that means. “It really is about the kind of respect and support for gay families…it makes for a stable and good society. Marriage is the institution through which we do that.”

9:33: What do you say in book about New Testament? I think the message is the same: God believes in love. In first letter of John, the central message is, “Where love is; there is God also.” That’s why our attitudes about gay marriage are changing; people have seen the love of people of the same gender. If you had to boil the whole Bible down to one thing, that would be it. We fall short, and God loves us anyway.

9:30 Raises question can you pick and choose scripture? “Let’s be honest – we all do that.” Even those who claim to read scripture plain and simple are picking and choosing. That's why we need a community of people who are asking questions about what the scriptures mean.

9:25: Comment from caller, evangelical Christian, I have a real problem with what gay marriage and homosexuality is all about. Robinson: I honor you taking scripture seriously, as I do, but all of scripture has to be taken in context. “You can’t take a modern concept like homosexuality…and plug it into an ancient text.”

9:17: Hardest part about coming out is accepting it yourself. On the one hand, I’m hearing about a God who loves me, but then I hear this is the one thing God doesn’t love, that this is an abomination.

9:15 On gay acceptance: Despite all the progress we’ve made get several emails a week from teens who think they are the only person who has felt this way. They hear about me and reach out. “There’s this self-alienation.” When you first start feeling it, you know you have to keep it from the world. The people you have to most keep it from are your family. “This is an issue that is still alive today.”

9:13 Will you change peoples’ minds on gay marriage with this book? I think so. “I think people are hungry for a reasonable approach, both religious and civil, about how to incorporate this into our culture.”

9:10 "New Hampshire diocese has been my saving grace." I’m not the gay bishop here; I’m just a bishop.

9:09: Initially resisted moniker be being “the gay bishop.” But that was selfish; I had been given a remarkable opportunity. "For me to turn my back on those opportunities seemed too self centered.” I wanted to be the best steward of this opportunity that I could be.

9:08: Why defend gay marriage from theological point of view? Separation of church and state important, but “No religious person or leader will ever have to condone or authorize such a thing.” Religion at center of debate. The bible appears to condemn it, but I argue in my book, scripture does not address the issue.

9:00: Robinson has arrived in the NHPR studio and is prepping for his interview with Laura Knoy on The Exchange.  

Vicky Gene Robinson joins The Exchange Thursday, as he prepares to step down after nearly a decade of service.

We will be live blogging Robinson's appearance. Follow Robinson's conversation with host Laura Knoy starting at 9 a.m. Thursday on

Robinson is widely known as the first openly gay person elected Bishop of an Episcopal Diocese.

Robinson is out with a new book, "God Believes in Love."

Michael serves as NHPR's Program Director. Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor.
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