California Gay Marriage Reversal Angers, Satisfies Jewish Groups
08/05/10
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(JTA) -- Jewish groups on opposite sides of the same-sex marriage debate reacted to a federal court's decision to repeal California's Proposition 8.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker on Wednesday overturned Proposition 8, which defines marriage under state law as only between a man and woman, ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

He stated that the freedom to marry is recognized as a fundamental right protected by the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.

"Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriage on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional," the judge said in his ruling.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America stated that "Traditional Jewish values recognize marriage as being only between a man and woman."

"In addition to our religious values – which we do not seek to impose on anyone - we fear legal recognition of same-sex “marriage” poses a grave threat to the fundamental civil right of religious freedom," the statement continued.

"Forcing a choice between faith and the law benefits no one," the statement added, concluding that it looked forward to the appeals process.

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism welcomed the judge's ruling, a decision which "reaffirms the strong commitment to equality upon which our nation is built, " Mark J. Pelavin, associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

"We know, of course, that this decision will be reviewed by other Courts, including in all likelihood, the U.S. Supreme Court. And we know that long march to full marriage equality will not be uninterrupted; there will be victories such as we celebrate today as well as setbacks. But it becomes clearer every day that we are now, finally and blessedly, on a road that is destined to end with justice for gay and lesbian Americans," he said.

Last Update:

08/06/2010 - 07:28

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How is "In addition to our religious values – which we do not seek to impose on anyone - we fear legal recognition of same-sex “marriage” poses a grave threat to the fundamental civil right of religious freedom," the statement continued." How is allowing gay marriages to occur gravely threatening the fundamental civil right of religious freedom, any more than allowing supermarkets to not follow kashrut? Honestly, it's like saying that Stop and Shop is allowed to sell pork, therefore it is a threat to religious freedom, or that Catholic civil rights are threatened by condoms being sold at Rite-Aid. Nobody is forcing religious people to marry gays in a religious ceremony. That's where your 'freedom of religion" comes in. NOT denying people the right to marry, but just telling them that your religion won't tolerate it. Someone in an Orthodox church can refuse to marry two people if they are not of their religion based on religious reasons. This is no different. Common sense must win out over reactionary fear of things people don't understand. If you argue against the civil rights of fellow Americans, you should be ashamed of yourself and your own childish fears. Personal freedoms are always the right choice. Infringing freedoms of other citizens to uphold your own is WRONG.

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