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Reform Jewish Movement Applauds Senate Defeat of Discriminatory Marriage Amendment

Contact:Barbara Weinstein or Brian Stoller
202.387.2800

Saperstein: Today’s bipartisan vote against the Federal Marriage Amendment is a victory not only for gay and lesbian Americans in their struggle for equality; it is also a victory for all Americans who value the dignity of all humankind.

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2004 - Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, today issued the following statement applauding the U.S. Senate for rejecting the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment:

I applaud the U.S. Senate for rejecting this cynical effort to write discrimination and religious intolerance into our Constitution. Today’s bipartisan vote against the Federal Marriage Amendment is a victory not only for gay and lesbian Americans in their struggle for equality; it is also a victory for all Americans who value the dignity of all humankind. By denying gays and lesbians the right to marry, the Federal Marriage Amendment would have tarnished America’s proud history of expanding the civil rights of our citizens.

The Federal Marriage Amendment would have undermined our Constitution and threatened religious liberty in America. The marriage amendment, which might be interpreted as ‘trumping’ the First Amendment, could have prevented individual religious denominations from sanctifying same-sex marriage if they choose to do so. We respect the rights of individual traditions to decide, based on their own religious teachings, whether or not to sanction same-sex marriage. Religious decisions should be made by religious communities, not by the federal government.

The Reform Jewish Movement has long been at the forefront of the fight for civil rights, and we are proud of our work to defeat this amendment. Countless Reform Jews across the country contacted their senators urging them to vote against the amendment. In addition, the Religious Action Center led an effort to gather more than 1,000 clergy signatures, representing more than 30 religious denominations, expressing opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. This letter, delivered to senators on the day of the vote, helped to dispel the myth that America’s faith communities universally support the Federal Marriage Amendment. In truth, millions of Americans, as represented by the clergy signing the letter, oppose using the Constitution to deny civil rights to an entire group of citizens.

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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(CCAR) whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis .



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