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Reform Movement Hails Advances for Marriage Equality

Saperstein: “Loving, committed couples deserve the opportunity to celebrate their relationships and have them validated in the eyes of the law.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Jason Fenster
202.387.2800 |

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2009 –In response to an Iowa Supreme Court ruling today in favor of marriage equality and to adoption of similarly supportive legislation in the Vermont House of Representatives, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Today’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling reaffirms that denying civil marriage equality violates the American concept of equal protection and equal justice. We are pleased to have joined an amicus brief in the case, Varnum v. Brien, along with other faith organizations that believe that civil marriage can exist in harmony with a diversity of beliefs on the issue of religious same-sex marriage.

The stamp of the Divine is present in each and every human being. Loving, committed couples deserve the opportunity to celebrate their relationships and have them validated in the eyes of the law. Thanks to today’s ruling, same-sex couples in Iowa will now have that opportunity.

We also commend Vermont’s legislature for passing the “Act to Protect Religious Freedom and Promote Equality in Civil Marriage.” As the first state to allow civil unions, Vermont is once again placing itself at the foreground of civil rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation. We are, however, disappointed by Governor Douglas’s threat to veto the legislation and we call on him change him mind and continue Vermont’s legacy of equality.

Our religious values teach love and respect for all of humankind and that all people are created b’tselem Elohim, in the Divine image, deserving of tolerance, respect, love and equality. As long time supporters of equal rights for members of the LGBT community, we are encouraged by this week’s civil rights advances. We will continue to work toward the day when Americans in all 50 states enjoy the right to full marriage equality and all the rights and responsibilities that it entails.


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.

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