Reaction to Prop. 8 ruling (UPDATED)


A number of Jewish groups are expressing disappointment with the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8 in California, which bars marriage between same sex couples, while Orthodox organizations are praising the ruling. Some excerpts from their press releases:

The Anti-Defamation League, which joined an amicus brief arguing that Proposition 8 represents a revision to the State Constitution, rather than an amendment, and as such requires approval by the state legislature: "The Court’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent.  As we argued in our amicus brief, ‘If the fundamental rights of gays and lesbians can be stripped away by a mere 52% majority, then future amendments will enable Californians to strip away fundamental rights from other disfavored groups.’"

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: "The Union for Reform Judaism joined an amicus brief, coordinated by the California Council of Churches, to make the Court aware of our unshakable commitment to the rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. The Court’s affirmation of the legal legitimacy of the 18,000 marriages before the passage of Proposition 8 embodies the hope that full marriage equality will soon by the norm across our nation. While today’s news dampens our spirits, it does not diminish our resolve."

National Council of Jewish Women: "The California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8 is a disappointing step backward. Denying same-sex couples the right to marry is an affront to civil rights. While disheartened by this ruling, we are buoyed by the Court’s decision to recognize the legal marriages of the 18,000 same-sex couples who wed in 2008."

Orthodox Union: "We supported Proposition 8 because in addition to our religious values, which we do not seek to impose on others, we fear that same-sex marriage poses a grave threat to the fundamental civil right of religious freedom. Scholars and advocates on both sides of this emotionally charged debate agree that codifying same-sex marriage without providing robust religious accommodations and exemptions will create widespread and unnecessary legal conflict that will "reverberate across the legal and religious landscape." Already, in states with same-sex civil unions and similar laws, religious institutions, including churches, social service providers and youth groups have been penalized by authorities for their beliefs. Forcing a choice between faith and the law benefits no one."

Agudath Israel of America: "Agudath Israel of America and Agudath Israel of California are gratified that the will of the people of California to preserve the traditional meaning of marriage has been legally affirmed by the State Supreme Court.  Agudath Israel of California was an early and vocal supporter of the state constitutional amendment that expressed this will, and thus takes a particular interest in the outcome of this case.There is one troubling aspect of today’s decision, the failure of the court to apply the people’s will retroactively to nontraditional ‘marriages’ entered into before the effective date of the state constitutional amendment.  The result will be inherently incoherent, to say nothing of offensive to tradition-minded Californians.  A wiser, not to mention more proper, decision here would have more accurately reflected the California electorate’s wishes."

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