LGBTQ+ Equality


The Reform Movement has been advocating for LGBTQ rights since 1965, when the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) called for the decriminalization of homosexuality. Since then, substantial progress has been made in pursuit of LGBTQ equality: the 2009 passage of the Matthew Shepard Act expanded US Federal Hate Crime Law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity; the US Senate repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2010, allowing LGBTQ people to serve openly in the military; and in 2015 the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal across all 50 states in Obergefell v. Hodges. Despite these gains, gaps in US federal nondiscrimination law omit the LGBTQ community from protection against discrimination in employment, housing, health care, and others. We must continue to advocate until the LGBTQ community is treated with full equality and dignity in society and under law.  

Why Should Jews Care

We are guided by a central belief that all human beings are created b’tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image. As it says in Genesis 1:27: “And God created humans in God’s own image, in the image of God, God created them.” Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said in an interview with Fox News, "As it says in Genesis, all humans were created in the image of God. And that means that every person, every soul, is a creature of God that looks like God, whether they are transgender or lesbian or gay, and so we welcome all of them." Each of us, created in God’s image, has a unique talent, with which we can contribute to the high moral purpose of tikkun olam, the repair of our world. Excluding anyone from our community lessens our chance of achieving this goal of a more perfect world.

Take Action

Tell Congress: Prohibit Discrimination Against LGBTQ People

​​​​​​Currently, federal law does not explicitly prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, federal funding, education, credit, and jury selection based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

What's New

Reflecting on Transgender Awareness Week in 2021

November 16, 2021
Transgender Awareness Week is a chance to educate the public. It is important for people who are not part of the trans community to understand the oppression transgender and gender-expansive people face every day. While it is always important to affirm trans identities, Transgender Awareness Week provides an opportunity to center the voices of trans and gender-expansive people.

Related Press Releases

Reform Jewish Movement Responds to Decision in Foster Care Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 17, 2021 WASHINGTON – In response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Fulton v. Philadelphia, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement institutions: We are disappointed

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Reform Judaism's Resolutions on LGBTQ Equality

Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

VIEW URJ RESOLUTIONS View Resolutions From Our Partners

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Engage Your Congregation

Get Involved

Get involved with the URJ’s Audacious Hospitality initiative to access toolkits and educational resources to make your spaces more inclusive.


Partner with a local LGBTQ organization to establish your congregation as an ally.


Dedicate religious school and youth program time to discussions and sensitivity trainings related to gender identity and transgender inclusion.


 Publicly affirm support for the transgender and gender non-conforming communities from the bimah or in a newsletter.

Contact our Legislative Assistants

For more information on this issue, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Rachel Klein.