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INTERFAITH ALLIANCE STATE OF BELIEF RADIO JUNE 29, 2013 RUSH TRANSCRIPT: Gene Robinson

Click here for video Click here for audio [REV. DR. C. WELTON GADDY, HOST]: Right now, I'm very pleased to welcome back to State of Belief Radio the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, the retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire - and the one man, honestly, the one man who, from the day the Supreme Court agreed to hear these cases, we knew we absolutely had to have on the show to react to whatever the outcome would be. And so, here he is now. Gene, thanks for being with us again on State of Belief! [RT. REV. BISHOP GENE ROBINSON]: Well, it's a happy day to be here! Thank you so much. [WG]: You know the question coming: what was your reaction to the DOMA and Prop 8 rulings? [GR]: You know, I continue to be amazed at how significant it is for me and other LGBT people to have the affirmation of the State. You work for it for 20 or 30 years, but when it comes - it is still an astounding thing, to have the society of which you are a part finally say, "You're welcome to be here, and in fact, you deserve what everyone else has been enjoying for generations." It's just a wonderful thing, and my heart has been full ever since. [WG]: Who's the first person you called?

[GR]: Well, now, who do you think? I called my husband! [WG]: Well, that's what I was thinking. [GR]: Yeah, we've been together for 25 years and married since January 1st of 2010, but this makes a huge difference. And you know, I was saying to Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times, she said, "well, so what difference will this make?" And I said, "Well, I'm about to get on an airplane and fly to Minneapolis. And if my plane goes down, it means that my husband gets my Social Security benefits." Right off the bat, that's true, and had never been true before. And yet, you know, like everyone else, I've been paying into the Social Security system for 40 years, but that's never been true for me. And I have to say, it makes a difference, knowing that you're providing for your loved ones. [WG]: Yeah, I think there are a lot of people that don't realize what kind of financial difference it makes - financial not in terms of making a profit, but financial in terms of security for the people you love. [GR]: That's exactly right. And there are just so many things. I'll tell you another little thing that has bugged me for years that will now go away. And this sounds like a little thing, but it's just one of the ways the society has reminded people like me and couples like us that we are second-class citizens: you know when you travel outside the country, and you're coming home, and you're approaching the US border, the flight attendant comes down the aisle with those immigration forms. What he or she says is, "One per family." So she turns to me and Mark, and she says, "I'm sorry, you'll have to have two forms." And then the young, wide-eyed heterosexual couple who have been married for a week and they're coming home fro their honeymoon and one form will do nicely for them, because, you know, they're a family - unlike the two of you, who are just pretending to be a family. And now that goes away, and one form will do nicely for us, as well. It just means a lot. [WG]: Of course it does. When you were leading the fight for inclusivity at, I might say, great personal and professional risk, did you honestly think this day would come in our lifetime? [GR]: Well, I have to say that as I was growing up, nothing like this, remotely, occurred to me. I mean, it was so far out of the realm of possibility that you didn't even imagine it. But in the last 10 years, I do have to say, I have been incredibly hopeful - I mean, I'm always hopeful, right, that's what Christians are, we're hopeful if nothing else - but in the last 10 years, seeing this momentum forward has just been thrilling. And I hoped that we would see it. I'm still hoping that I will see marriage equality across the nation before I leave this good earth and go home to God.

[WG]: Yeah. I'm glad you brought up the momentum, because I've been hearing a lot of commentators say that they're just amazed at how quickly the tide turned on LGBT issues in general and on marriage in particular. My hunch is, it doesn't feel like it's been all that quick for you, does it? [GR]: Well, you know some of us have been working on this for a long time, but I must say that the last decade, to the two or three decades before that, has seemed really remarkable. I don't think ever in the history of the gay rights movement has there been so much movement forward in such a short period of time. And you know, I think the reason that we are where we are in these last 10 years in making this kind of progress is that 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, people would have told you they didn't know anyone gay. And now, is there a family left in America that doesn't know some family member, some former classmate, some co-worker to be gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgender? And that has made all the difference, because when people know us, when this issue comes up - a face comes up with it. And often, a relationship that they know about comes up. Just simply not willing to believe the things they've been told, historically, about us, and they're no longer willing to treat us unfairly. Every American knows what fair is, and this just stinks of unfairness. And so the tide has changed. [WG]: You know, I know that you and I have talked about it, at least two or three years ago, and others have made even more of it - this is basically a conservative Supreme Court. Has it been, Gene, the rise of affirmation from the public, or what has it been? What's happened with this Court that it would make this kind of - two decisions? [GR]: Well, gosh, you know, we've all been trying to figure out where the Court would come out on this, and even I'm shocked. You know, one of the most significant things that happened yesterday was the fact that instead of striking down DOMA on a federalist argument - you know, that this was the federal government messing in what was rightly a state's business - for them to base this on the equal protection of the Fifth Amendment is really, really significant, and I am so pleased. And of course, in one of those funny coincidences, Justice Kennedy is reading his opinion yesterday on the exact day that is the 10th anniversary of his opinion in Lawrence vs. Texas, which outlawed the antisodomy laws. And in another way, believe ir or not, Justice Scalia did us an enormous favor: 10 years ago, in Lawrence vs. Texas, he said, by normalizing homosexuality - that is to say, decriminalizing it - he said it opens the way for gay marriage. And 10 years later, we find out he was right. And then yesterday in his dissenting opinion, he says, given the fact that the majority has ruled on this based on the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment, it opens the way for all of the constitutional amendments in states that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman - it opens the way for them to fall, as well. And I'm hoping he's going to be right again. So I think this is a hugely important finding almost more than the decision itself, up or down - is the reasoning that is actually

behind it, which was far stronger than even I'd hoped for. [WG]: You know, Scalia may be better at his prophetic statements than he is his opinions. [GR]: I agree. You know, we can always use a good prophet! [WG]: Are you concerned at all, Gene, about the backlash, in the short term? [GR]: No. Let me tell you why. You know, just because we got the Jim Crow laws off the books in the segregated South didn't mean people's hearts and minds changed overnight. You get a 51% vote, you've got 49% who didn't agree with it, right? And it takes time for that to normalize, and for people to adjust. You know, one of the things that we found in New Hampshire is - we got civil unions in 2008 - and when we were pushing, then, for marriage equality, we were able to say to the legislature, "You remember all of those draconian things that were going to happen if we got civil unions? You know, like the end of western civilization as we know it? Anybody see any of that happening?" And of course, even those opposed had to say, "Mmm, no, not really." And that's how quickly things normalize. When people see that their marriages aren't affected by this; their church, their synagogue, their mosque does not have to bless any of these unions, this will become old news, and really kind of boring - which would be a wonderful place to be. [WG]: You know, I've heard you say several times in the past, speaking of the Episcopal Church, you have said that "this is the Church that is risking its life for people like me." Does this validate the risks of the Episcopal Church, and will it help move opposing factions within religious institutions toward reconciliation? [GR]: You know, we have been accused of following the culture, rather than being a gadfly to the culture. And what I say in response to that is: "You know, what if God is working in the culture?" I mean, it seems to me that God is going to do God's will and God's justice work with or without the Church. And if God is working in the culture, and then a denomination recognizes God in that work and joins God there - that's a good thing. And not only is it not something to be ashamed of, it is something to be proud of. And I think, more and more, people will face into the question we've really been asking, which is: could the Church have gotten this wrong all these years, the way we got it wrong for countless generations using scripture to justify the denigration and subjugation of women, and I think the answer to that is "yes," and that's really what Churches and people of faith are struggling with now. Could this be one of those moments in which the Holy Spirit is leading us into this truth that's always been there, but we've not been able to perceive it. [WG]: Well, I absolutely know that you think that. I was reflecting this morning J.B. Phillips, an English scholar that you may know, had written a book a long

time ago called "Your God is Too Small," and those who... [GR]: I've got it on my bookshelf. I look at it about once a year. I love that book, and the title says it all about the little boxes that we put God in that God refuses to stay in. [WG]: Yeah! I mean, God refuses to stay in just the Church, and when you talk about the Spirit moving in social progress, that's not heresy - that's a broad view of God that we see revealed in scripture. [GR]: Absolutely. You know, I think the most relevant scripture to the debate we're having is in John's Gospel where on the night before he dies for us, Jesus says to his disciples: "There is much that I would teach you, but you cannot bear it right now. So I will send the Holy Spirit who will lead you into all truth." And you know, I think he was saying, "Look, for a bunch of uneducated, rough fishermen you haven't done too badly. But - In fact, I'm kind of proud of you. But don't think for a minute that God is done with you, or that God will be done with those who follow you, because the Holy Spirit has still got more to teach you that you simply can't bear right now. And so I will send the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth." And I think this is one of those moments. [WG]: The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson is the retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. The first openly gay bishop in his denomination, Gene has helped pave the way for much of the forward progress weve seen in recent decades in his life, his ministry, and in his writing. Genes books include "God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage," and "In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center By God." Gene, I don't know of anybody I wanted to talk with more than I wanted to talk with you today, and it is so good to hear from you. I thank you for taking time to be with us again on State of Belief Radio. [GR]: It has been my pleasure, as it always is with you, Welton, and let's rejoice together in this.

State of Belief is based on the proposition that religion has a positive and healing role to play in the life of the nation. The show explains and explores that role by illustrating the vast diversity of beliefs in America the most religiously diverse country in the world while exposing and critiquing both the political manipulation of religion for partisan purposes and the religious manipulation of government for sectarian purposes.

Each week, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy offers listeners critical analysis of the news of religion and politics, and seeks to provide listeners with an understanding and appreciation of religious liberty. Rev. Gaddy tackles politics with the firm belief that the best way to secure freedom for religion in America is to secure freedom from religion. State of Belief illustrates how the Religious Right is wrong wrong for America and bad for religion. Through interviews with celebrities and newsmakers and field reports from around the country, State of Belief explores the intersection of religion with politics, culture, media, and activism, and promotes diverse religious voices in a religiously pluralistic world. Author of more than 20 books, including First Freedom First: A Citizens Guide to Protecting Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy leads the national non-partisan grassroots and educational organization Interfaith Alliance and serves as Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, Louisiana. In addition to being a prolific writer, Dr. Gaddy hosts the weekly State of Belief radio program, where he explores the role of religion in the life of the nation by illustrating the vast diversity of beliefs in America, while exposing and critiquing both the political manipulation of religion for partisan purposes and the religious manipulation of government for sectarian purposes. Dr. Gaddy provides regular commentary to the national media on issues relating to religion and politics. He has appeared on MSNBCs The Rachel Maddow Show and Hardball, NBCs Nightly News and Dateline, PBSs Religion and Ethics Newsweekly and The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, C-SPANs Washington Journal, ABCs World News, and CNNs American Morning. Former host of Morally Speaking on NBC affiliate KTVE in Monroe, Louisiana, Dr. Gaddy is a regular contributor to mainstream and religious news outlets. While ministering to churches with a message of inclusion, Dr. Gaddy emerged as a leader among progressive and moderate Baptists. Among his many leadership roles, he is a past president of the Alliance of Baptists and has been a 20-year member of the Commission of Christian Ethics of the Baptist World Alliance. His past leadership roles include serving as a member of the General Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, President of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Chair of the Pastoral Leadership Commission of the Baptist World Alliance and member of the World Economic Forums Council of 100. Rev. Gaddy currently serves on the White House task force on the reform of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Prior to the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Dr. Gaddy served in many SBC leadership roles including as a member of the conventions Executive Committee from 1980-84 and Director of Christian Citizenship Development of the Christian Life Commission from 1973-77. Dr. Gaddy received his undergraduate degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and his doctoral degree and divinity training from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.