"This backward step is a deeply disappointing delay on the road to equality, and a vote that is on the wrong side of history."
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ALBANY, Dec. 2, 2009 ‹ Rabbi Marc Gruber and Honey Heller, co-chairs of the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State, today condemn the denial of equal marriage rights to same-sex couples in New York. Together, they issued the following statement:
On behalf of the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State, we are disheartened by the failure to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. This backward step is a deeply disappointing delay on the road to equality, and a vote that is on the wrong side of history.
We thank the members of the Assembly who have repeatedly tried to move equality forward for all New Yorkers and the members of the Senate who voted in favor of the Marriage Equality Bill. We will continue to work toward passage of a bill granting marriage equality to all New Yorkers regardless of gender preference.
As a part of the Reform Jewish Movement, North Americas largest Jewish denomination including 1.5 million Reform Jews and 900 congregations, we know well that civil marriage can exist in harmony with respect for a diversity of religious beliefs on the issue of same-sex marriage. Although the Reform Movement celebrates and supports the religious sanctification of same-sex marriages, we respect the view of those faith traditions that hold differing views on this issue. That is why it is essential that civil marriage laws are not rooted in theology, but in the principle of equal rights.
Our religious values teach love and respect for all of humankind and that all people are created btselem Elohim, in the Divine image, deserving of tolerance, respect and equality. We look forward to the day when New York takes its place among the growing number of states nationwide that recognize the importance of marriage equality.
The time when all Americans will be equally afforded the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage is drawing near. Our Movement will continue to support efforts to hasten its arrival, and promote tolerance and respect of all individuals in every state in the union.