Contact: Alexis Rice and Jennifer Gubitz: 202.387.2800
The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism Applauds the Leadership of Texas Reform Movement in the Fight Against the Legalization of Bigotry
NEW YORK, November 14, 2005 The Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of the Reform Jewish Movement in North America, applauds the diligent efforts of Texas congregations and Rabbis to defeat Constitutional Amendment #2 (CA#2) in Texas. CA#2 legalized bigotry by prohibiting the marriage between same-sex couples and implicates domestic partnerships and other private contractual relationships among individuals.
The Reform Movement has long opposed infringement on civil rights. According to Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action, the Reform Movement has a fifty year history as a strong advocate for Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) rights: In 1965, the Women of Reform Judaism passed the Movements first official stance on this issue, calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. The Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis took their first official stance supporting the establishment of human rights for homosexuals in 1977, and in 1996 and 1997, both groups passed resolutions opposing all government action that prohibits civil marriage equality.
Noting the leadership of the Reform Jewish clergy and congregations in this campaign against the codification of hatred Feldman said, We commend the Texas leadership of the Reform Movement for standing strong in order to fight for the rights all humans deserve, for truly we are created btselem Elohim, - the stamp of the Divine is present in each and every one of us.
Lay leaders, clergy and congregations across Texas have promised to continue the fight for human and civil rights even in the face of this defeat. One day gays and lesbians in this country will be able to have civil unions and serve openly in the military and not be victims of discrimination, proclaimed Dr. Alan Hurwitz, local organizer of the Jewish Coalition of the No Nonsense in November Campaign. It is only a matter of when. The most wonderful aspect of the last few months has been to see the tremendous, overwhelming support from the local Houston community, from Rabbis all across Texas, and from national Jewish organizations.
While this election is over, the Union for Reform Judaism stands strongly behind the supporters of civil rights and also continues to champion the right for civil marriage equality.
GLBT rights, and the status of legislative efforts across the country, will be discussed at the Union's Biennial Convention, meeting this week in Houston. More than 4,000 lay leaders and clergy from across North America, Israel and the Former Soviet Union will be in Houston for the convention.
The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (CSA) is a joint body of the Union for Reform Judaism, representing more than 900 congregations across North America encompassing 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis. The CSA oversees the work of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.