Washington, DC, October 25, 2006- In response to today's ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court requiring swift action by the legislature to ensure equal rights for gay and lesbian couples, Rabbi Randi Musnitsky, Regional Director of the Union for Reform Judaism's New Jersey/West Hudson Valley Council, issued the following statement:
Today's ruling requiring the New Jersey legislature to provide within 6 months a means by which same sex couples are afforded the rights and privileges of marriage is a joyous step forward on the path to equality for all Americans. The Reform Jewish Movement has long fought for equal rights for all of God's children, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. We are taught in the very beginning of the Torah that God created all humans B'tselem Elohim, in the Divine Image, so that the diversity of creation represents the vastness of the Eternal (Genesis 1:27). The stamp of the Divine is present in every human being, and we can not accept discrimination, such as limiting the right to civil marriage, against any individual.
While today's ruling is an important victory for gay and lesbian Americans, we are also hopeful that the legislature will ensure all couples the right to civil marriage, rather than simply the rights and privileges thereof. The denial of the right to civil marriage for gays and lesbians denigrates those faiths that celebrate the unions of loving same-sex couples and, as a matter of religious principle, consider such partnerships worthy of not only blessing, but of affirmation by civil authorities. No American should be deprived of the rights and privileges of marriage. We take heart in today's ruling and remain firm in our efforts to ensure the same rights are guaranteed to Americans of all sexual orientations across the nation.