Reform Judaism Enters Brief Against Prop. 8
The Union for Reform Judaism today joined with other civil rights and faith organizations to file an amicus brief challenging Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that revoked gay marriages.
"We are proud to join with this important challenge to Proposition 8," said Mark Pelavin, associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in a statement. "We do so because we believe the law should treat each individual equally, affording every American the same rights and responsibilities, including the right to civil marriage. Over the past several years, through court orders, executive action, and legislation, states across the country are increasingly ensuring the right to marriage equality. Proposition 8 is a step in the wrong direction."
Pelavin emphasized that religious denominations can deny the sacrament of marriage while making it legal. "We recognize, as well, that the religious beliefs of people who oppose same-sex marriages should be respected; no clergy member or house of worship should ever be forced, under law, to sanctify a religious wedding that goes against his or her religious tenets," he said.
"Those religious institutions and clergy that wish to welcome and affirm same-sex unions must also be respected and protected."
Reform Judaism has been in the forefront of gay rights. It was the first major religious denomination to ordain gay clergy (rabbis), and the first to recognize and officiate over gay marriages.
Pelavin tied gay marriage to larger civil rights issues. "We reaffirm our commitment, as Jews and as Americans, to bring about the day when no one will face discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or religious conviction."
Rabbi Linda Bertenthal, an executive in the movement’s California section, pointed to local congregations’ work against Prop. 8