Biblical and Constitutional Scholars discuss Same-Sex Marriage

October 1st, 2004 by Adam

The Society for Scholarly Dialogue at Plymouth State University will present a panel discussion on “the religious and constitutional issues surrounding same-sex marriage” at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 21 at the Silver Cultural Arts Center. The panel will include a biblical scholar and a constitutional scholar.

Panelist Marcus Hurn is professor of law at Pierce Law Center in Concord, where he has taught since 1980, after graduating from the University of Missouri and Yale University.

Hurn says he has “had something of a dual career.” His teaching, consulting and legislative drafting have often involved corporate and commercial law, including helping draft New Hampshire’s Corporation and Limited Liability Company statutes.

For the past 20 years he has also worked to end discrimination against gay men and lesbians by democratic means through the New Hampshire Legislature.

He was author or co-author and a lead advocate of New Hampshire’s Hate Crimes Law, the sexual orientation sections of the Law Against Discrimination, and the statute permitting lesbian and gay people to adopt and be foster parents, as well as laws regarding AIDS and guardianships.

Panelist Robert E. Stiefel is visiting lecturer in the history department and the honors program at the University of New Hampshire, where he has taught since 1992.He is also a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire and was rector of Christ Church, Portsmouth, from 1991 to 2002.

He holds a Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literatures from Harvard University and a Master of Divinity degree in pastoral ministry from Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary.

In addition to UNH, Stiefel has taught at Harvard University and Haverford College. He is a Fellow of the College of Preachers at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

He writes: “I approach the question of marriage professionally as a social and cultural historian, a Christian biblical scholar, and a pastoral counselor. My personal marital experience is complex and unusual, given that I am an out gay man who has been married to a straight woman for 35 years. Jennifer and I are soul mates and compatible in every way except in the matter of sexual orientation. She holds a Ph.D. in biblical studies from Union Seminary in New York City and is a deacon in the Episcopal Church. Over the years, the development of our relationship has made us very aware of and sensitive to the nature and role of marriage in our society.”