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Reform Jewish Movement Responds to Yesterday’s Gay Rights Ballot Questions in Texas and Maine
In response to ballot initiatives in Texas and Maine pertaining to equal rights for gay men and lesbians, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement noting, "To allow only heterosexual couples the legal protection through marriage of their love relegates the gay and lesbian population to second class citizenship."

Pelavin: To allow only heterosexual couples the legal protection through marriage of their love relegates the gay and lesbian population to second class citizenship .

Contact: Alexis Rice or Jennifer Gubitz: 202.387.2800

Washington, November 9, 2005 – In response to ballot initiatives in Texas and Maine pertaining to equal rights for gay men and lesbians, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

As is becoming far too often the case, the rights of gays and lesbians were on the ballot yesterday.

Yesterday’s vote by the state of Texas to amend its constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, the 19th state to take such action, is another obstacle in the way of gay and lesbian Americans seeking to share in the same personal and legal privileges of marriage afforded heterosexual Americans.

While we condemn Texas’s decision, we strongly applaud voters in Maine for their election-day support for maintaining laws protecting not only the gay and lesbian community, but also utilizing specific language to protect the transsexual and transvestite communities. We encourage other states, and the federal government, to follow the example set by the voters of Maine.

The Reform Jewish Movement, inspired by Genesis’s teaching that all human beings are created b'tselem Elohim (in the Divine image), has long been committed to welcoming gay and lesbian Jews into our congregations, synagogues and communal life and staunchly supports legislative efforts to grant equal opportunity through same sex marriage for the gay and lesbian community. While we believe in the sanctity of same-sex marriages, we believe as well that each faith community has the right to make its own decisions about which marriages to sanctify. But when it comes to civil marriage, there can be no such disagreement: our laws must equally protect all Americans, no matter their sexual orientation. To that end, we must continue to remain steadfast in our intolerance of laws and regulations that do not reflect that equality. To allow only heterosexual couples the legal protection through marriage of their love relegates the gay and lesbian population to second class citizenship.

We look forward to the day when voters across the nation embrace the values of tolerance and acceptance and join in celebrating the love and commitment of Americans of all sexual orientations.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism , whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis , whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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