Reform Jewish Movement Commends Vermont Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Couples, Calls on Vermont Governor and Legislature to Extend Full Civil Rights to Gays and Lesbians
Saperstein: "We hope that this decision will mark the start of a new era, an era in which we will no longer tolerate efforts to discriminate against gay men and lesbians simply because of their sexual orientation."
Contact: Jeff Mandell, (202) 387-2800
WASHINGTON, December 21, 1999 — Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement today in response to the Vermont Supreme Court's ruling yesterday granting gay and lesbian couples the same protections and benefits given to heterosexual couples:
Yesterday's decision by the Vermont Supreme Court to grant gay and lesbian couples the same protections and benefits given to heterosexual couples is a powerful reaffirmation of the core American values of equality and tolerance; it is a rejection of our culture's historic hatred and bigotry against gay men and lesbians. The Reform Jewish Movement enthusiastically supports this decision as an important step towards completely fulfilling American's promise of liberty and justice for all. We are finally opening our arms and extending the protection of our laws to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
This landmark decision reflects profound religious values as well, recognizing that all God's children are created in the divine image. We hope that this decision will mark the start of a new era, an era in which we will no longer tolerate efforts to discriminate against gay men and lesbians simply because of their sexual orientation. We understand how controversial this decision is, but how can two loving adults coming together to form a family harm family values? Are America's families and marriages and communities so fragile and shallow that they are threatened by the love between two adults of the same sex?
The State Supreme Court left to the legislature the specific decision regarding marriage. We urge Governor Dean, the state legislature, and citizens of Vermont to embrace the decision of the State Supreme Court and take this final step in allowing gay men and lesbians the right to legally acknowledge that the love God calls us to, the love that binds two people together in a loving and devoted commitment, is accessible to all God's children.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis in 875 congregations throughout North America.