A Maryland state proposal to prohibit same-sex marriages has sparked a sharp exchange over the role of religion in government.
During a March 1 committee hearing on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages, Sen. Nancy Jacobs cited a religious rationale for her support of the proposal.
Jacobs, a Republican who represents Harford and Cecil counties, said, “As I read the biblical principles, marriage is intended, ordained and started by God – that is my belief. For me, this is an issue solely based on religious principles.”
Testifying before the committee on the amendment, American University constitutional law professor Jamin Raskin noted that passages from the Bible have been used throughout history to oppress groups of people. According to The Baltimore Sun, he cited the use of scripture to support laws banning interracial marriage.
Raskin also stated that lawmakers have a duty to uphold constitutional principles.
“People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution,” Raskin said. “They don’t put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”
The hearing room reportedly burst into applause.