(JTA) — Jewish groups on opposite sides of the same-sex marriage debate reacted to a federal court’s decision to repeal California’s Proposition 8, which defines marriage as only between a man and woman.
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon stated that "Traditional Jewish values recognize marriage as being only between a man and woman."
Meanwhile, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism offered a statement the same afternoon welcoming the judge’s ruling as a decision that "reaffirms the strong commitment to equality upon which our nation is built."
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker on Wednesday ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, saying that the freedom to marry "is recognized as a fundamental right protected by the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution."
"Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriage on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional," Walker, in San Francisco, said in his ruling.
The OU statement added that "In addition to our religious values — which we do not seek to impose on anyone — we fear legal recognition of same-sex ‘marriage’ poses a grave threat to the fundamental civil right of religious freedom.
"Forcing a choice between faith and the law benefits no one," it added, concluding that the OU looked forward to the appeals process.
In the statement from the Religious Action Center, associate director Mark Pelavin said that "We know, of course, that this decision will be reviewed by other courts, including in all likelihood, the U.S. Supreme Court. And we know that long march to full marriage equality will not be uninterrupted; there will be victories such as we celebrate today as well as setbacks. But it becomes clearer every day that we are now, finally and blessedly, on a road that is destined to end with justice for gay and lesbian Americans."