Much of the Jewish world is celebrating today’s Supreme Court ruling on two same-sex marriage cases.
But two Jewish groups aren’t joining the party. We devoted a separate post to the brief response of the haredi Orthodox Agudath Israel. The Orthodox Union weighed in with this longer and more balanced take which, while noting that that Judaism “forbids homosexual relationships and condemns the institutionalization of such relationships as marriages,” concludes thus:
We also recognize that no religion has the right to dictate its beliefs to the entire body politic and we do not expect that secular law will always align with our viewpoint. Ultimately, decisions on social policy remain with the democratic process, and today the process has spoken and we accord the process and its result the utmost respect.
The Orthodox Union is proud to assert its beliefs and principles in the public forum, and will continue to do so in a manner that is tolerant and respectful of all of our nation’s citizens, but which is also authentically based upon our sacred ancient texts and time-honored traditions.
Beyond the Orthodox world, though, the rulings were cause for celebration. At Tablet, Wayne Hoffman wrote a poignant response which he ends, “Why is today different from all other days? Today I am legally married. Truly. At last.”
At the heart of the DOMA case is Edith Windsor, a Jewish widower who was forced to pay extra taxes because the federal government did not recognize her marriage to the her partner, Thea Speyser. New Yorker contributor Ariel Levy was with Windsor when the news broke and captured emotional pictures that you can see here.
The Twitterverse has blown up in response, and so far, perhaps this subject line from an email from Bend the Arc takes the cake: ”Now Everyone Can Marry a Jewish Doctor”
First Wendy, now DOMA gets the boot! Sometimes things are really great.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) June 26, 2013
Don't wanna traffic in stereotypes but let's be real: I'm gonna love a gay wedding.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) June 26, 2013
No one be shocked if I get married and pregnant with a daughter today in a slightly premature fit of joy #americathebeautiful— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) June 26, 2013
A good day for equality indeed! Now come on California...don't embarrass me.— Alison Brie (@alisonbrie) June 26, 2013
Going to gay marry my wife today.— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) June 26, 2013
Can we reinstate the ban on gay marriage just so Ryan Seacrest is never happy?— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) June 26, 2013
Ding Dong DOMA's dead. Yay Gay!— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) June 26, 2013
Jewish Community Relations Council celebrates Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality
JCRC Supports Supreme Court Decision on Proposition 8 in California and Defense of Marriage Act; This is a Historic Day for Civil Rights and Equality in the United State.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, The Jewish Community Relations Council, 121 Steuart Street, San Francisco – The Jewish Community Relations Council applauds the Supreme Court’s decisions to strike down the key provisions in the Defense of Marriage Act and leave standing California’s ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. These are landmark decisions for the State of California and the United States as a whole, and an important step toward ensuring equality, liberty and justice for all American citizens.
JCRC President Jerilyn Gelt and Executive Director Rabbi Doug Kahn celebrated the decision, saying:
“The organized Jewish community overwhelmingly supports marriage equality out of an abiding commitment to civil rights in our society and therefore applauds today’s Supreme Court decisions as a major step forward. The Jewish Community Relations Council has advocated for same-sex civil marriage for many years as an essential step to eliminate discrimination faced by same-sex couples. We are also committed to maintaining the right of religious denominations to set their own requirements for religious marriage.
The Court’s decision that will permit same-sex marriages to resume in California will, we believe, lead to many more states recognizing that denial of such rights is incompatible with our society’s commitment to equal rights for all citizens. The Supreme Court’s companion decision striking down the key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act eliminates a major barrier to equal rights protection.
It is bittersweet that the ruling comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to significantly weaken the Voting Rights Act – an act that has played an historic role in safeguarding one of our society’s fundamental rights. Today, however, we join with many communities in celebrating the end of discrimination for same-sex couples seeking to marry in our state.”
Rabbinical Assembly celebrates Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage
In response to the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions today calling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and dismissing an appeal supporting an anti-gay marriage law in California, the Rabbinical Assembly, the international umbrella organization for Conservative rabbis, released the following statement:
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, RA executive vice president, said,
Judaism views marriage as a sacred responsibility, not only between the partners, but also between the couple and the larger community. Our Movement recognizes and celebrates marriages, whether between partners of the same sex or the opposite sex. We therefore celebrate today’s decisions on gay marriage by the Supreme Court.
RA president Rabbi Gerald Skolnik added,
On behalf of the 1,700 rabbis of the Rabbinical Assembly, I Join with Jews across California and the United States in acknowledging today’s Supreme Court decisions as opening the way for loving and committed same-sex couples to enjoy the rights and privileges of marriage. This is most clearly modeled in the case of Edith Windsor, a Holocaust survivor who enjoyed a loving relationship with her wife of many decades, and had been unable to inherit her partner’s estate as her spouse.
The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. Since its founding in 1901, the Assembly has been the creative force shaping the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement, and is committed to building and strengthening the totality of Jewish life. Rabbis of the Assembly serve congregations throughout the world, and also work as educators, officers of communal service organizations, and college, hospital, and military chaplains. More information is available at www.rabbinicalassembly.org.
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- L.A. Jewish LGBT community reacts to same-sex marriage decisions
- Edgar M. Bronfman: Jewish values dictate protecting gay marriage
- AJWS president Ruth Messinger applauds Supreme Court ruling on DOMA & Prop 8
- Jewish groups ride roller-coaster week of Supreme Court rulings