Reform Jewish Movement Responds to Today's Supreme Court Ruling on Texas' Sodomy Laws
Saperstein: Today's Supreme Court decision represents a significant leap forward in the protection of the equal rights of gay and lesbian Americans and in the right to privacy for all.
Contact: Alexis Rice or Barbara Weinstein 202-387-2800
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2003 - In a response to today's 6-3 Supreme Court decision striking down Texas' sodomy laws, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), released the following statement:
We are pleased by the Court's recognition in the case of Lawrence and Garner v. Texas that Texas' homosexual sodomy laws violate due process guarantees. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis are committed to the belief that all citizens are entitled to equal protection under the law and, therefore, oppose discrimination against homosexuals in any form, including discriminatory governmental statutes and practices of law enforcement agencies.
Today's Supreme Court decision represents a significant leap forward in the protection of the equal rights of gay and lesbian Americans and in the right to privacy for all. The ruling signifies how far the Court has progressed since its 1986 ruling in the Bowers v. Hardwick case, which found that gay and lesbian Americans did not share the right to privacy afforded to heterosexuals. We are gratified that a majority of the Court now recognizes that a law such as that in Texas "demeans the lives of homosexual persons." We applaud the Court's acknowledgment that gays and lesbians have "the full right to engage in private conduct without government intervention," and, beyond the specific issue of gay rights, the Court's affirmation of the fundamental nature of the right to privacy in American law.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose over 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1800 Reform rabbis .