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Reform backs same-sex marriage ban challenge

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Union of Reform Judaism has joined a brief challenging the legality of a California ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage.

The friend-of-the-court brief argues that Proposition 8 denies equal protection under the law to same-sex couples, which it says would be a violation of the California state constitution. The Progressive Jewish Alliance and a number of other religious organizations also signed on to the brief.

"We are proud to join with this important challenge to Proposition 8," said Mark Pelavin, the associate director fo the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. "We do so because we believe the law should treat each individual equally, affording every American the same rights and responsibilities, including the right to civil marriage."

Pelavin added that "the religious beliefs of people who oppose same-sex marriages should be respected; no clergy member or house of worship should ever be forced, under law, to sanctify a religious wedding that goes against his or her religious tenets."

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