WHEREAS today same-sex couples face opposition to the right to civil marriage in the United States, and;|
WHEREAS same-sex couples are regularly denied access to the benefits automatically bestowed by civil marriage including, among others, health care coverage and related decision-making, privileges under immigration and naturalization law, inheritance rights, survivor benefits and child custody, and;
WHEREAS legal recognition of gay and lesbian relationships will provide these men and women and their families with these benefits, as well as providing them the respect they are currently denied, and;
WHEREAS we deem it imperative that progressive religious voices be raised in support of the equality that is currently denied to gay men and lesbians, and in opposition to attempts to present religious traditions in general, and Jewish tradition in particular, as being uniformly opposed to equality for gay men and lesbians; and
WHEREAS the Reconstructionist movement has a twenty-year history of advocating the inclusion and equality of gay men and lesbians in Jewish life;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association endorses and supports the right of same-sex couples to share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitments of civil marriage.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the RRA supports legislation and legal action that will secure civil marriage for same-sex couples. The RRA asserts that civil marriage for same-sex couples must include all the benefits commonly bestowed upon opposite-sex couples, including, among other rights, healthcare coverage and related decision-making, privileges under immigration and naturalization law, survivor benefits, inheritance rights, and child custody.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the RRA opposes all efforts to ban civil marriage for gay men and lesbian women.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the RRA endorses the Marriage Resolution of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund*, which reads:
“Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual personal choice, resolved, the State should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitments of civil marriage.”
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the RRA calls upon its members to:
Encourage the congregations, agencies, organizations, and institutions in which they serve to extend benefits to same-sex partners of staff members and employees.
Monitor local and regional developments and consider ways of advocating for same-sex civil marriage in their communities.
Offer tzedakah donations to organizations advocating for civil rights for same-sex couples.
Use pre-marital counseling with heterosexual couples as an opportunity to discuss the issue of equal rights for same-sex couples.
Speak about the issue of civil marriage for same-sex couples from the bimah, in agencies and organizations and institutions, in institutional newsletter articles, and in other settings, particularly at times when public attention is turned to gay and lesbian inclusivity, for example, on GLBT Pride weekends, Right To Marriage Day, Coming Out Day.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the RRA prepare “talking points” in support of civil marriage for same-sex couples. Such talking points should raise issues of religious liberty as well as economic and political justice, and be distributed to members of the RRA, who are encouraged to contribute letters to the editor, opinion columns and other public statements in support of civil marriage for gay and lesbian people.