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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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OU Disagrees With But Respects Supreme Ct’s Rejection of Defense of Marriage Act

The United States Supreme Court struck down a key part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, instructing that gay couples married in states where it is legal must receive the same federal health, tax, Social Security and other benefits that heterosexual couples receive.

In other words, where a state has passed a law that gay marriage is legal, gay couples residing in those states are entitled to equal treatment.  The Court declined to state, however, that gay couples have the fundamental right to marry wherever they live.

The Court’s opinion, Windsor v. United States, was delivered on Wednesday, June 25.

The leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America Union issued a statement in response to the ruling by the United States Supreme Court rejecting as unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

we reiterate the historical position of the Jewish faith, enunciated unequivocally in our Bible, Talmud and Codes, which forbids homosexual relationships and condemns the institutionalization of such relationships as marriages. Our religion is emphatic in defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Our beliefs in this regard are unalterable. At the same time, we note that Judaism teaches respect for others and we condemn discrimination against individuals.

We are grateful that we live in a democratic society, in which all religions are free to express their opinions about social issues and to advocate vigorously for those opinions.

While the OU leadership believes that its conception of morality, which has long been embraced in what is widely known as the Judeo-Christian ethic, has long been the predominant view regarding what constitutes marriage, they recognized that no religion has the right to dictate its views and demand that those views be accepted by everyone.

Ultimately, decisions on social policy remain with the democratic process, and today the process has spoken and we accord the process and its result the utmost respect.

 

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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