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Court Decision Overturns DOMA, Welcome Step Toward Equality

Pelavin: "Today's decision is a vital, overdue, and very welcome step toward marriage equality and a more just society."

Contact: Sean Thibault or Noah Baron
202.387.2800 |

Washington, D.C. May 31st, 2012 - In response to today's decision by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the First Circuit, striking down the "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) as unconstitutional, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

"We commend the First Circuit Court of Appeals' unanimous decision striking down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act's provisions denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. In doing so, this court joins numerous District Courts in holding that DOMA unconstitutionally and unfairly relegates same-sex couples to a different, lesser status under the law.

"Today's decision is a vital, overdue, and very welcome step toward marriage equality and a more just society. The Reform Movement has long been inspired by our religious tradition that teaches that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, for we are all made in the image of the Divine (Gen. 1:27). Those lessons, our own experience as victims of discrimination, and the United States' history of expanding rights inform our view that today's First Circuit decision will long stand as a key moment in the progression of civil rights.

"We look forward to more progress of this sort and will continue to work to ensure a world in which all men and women are able to marry the person whom they love."

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 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.

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