(JNS.org) Prominent Jewish groups welcomed the United States Supreme Court's decision striking down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and California’s ban on gay marriage. The decision paves the way for federal benefits to be extended to same-sex marriages.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC), which filed an amicus brief in the cases decided Wednesday, praised the decision but also called for more progress on gay rights.
“Full recognition of marriage equality—the right to marry the person one loves regardless of gender—is a right whose recognition is long overdue. Today’s decisions are a large, but, unfortunately, incomplete, step in that direction,” AJC General Counsel Marc D. Stern said.
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly, said, “Our [Conservative Jewish] movement recognizes and celebrates marriages, whether between partners of the same sex or the opposite sex. We therefore celebrate today’s decisions on gay marriage by the Supreme Court.”
With the Supreme Court’s decision, the U.S. joins Israel and several other Western countries that extend government benefits to same-sex couples. Israel, which does not permit same-sex marriage or civil marriage, does recognize same-sex unions for the purposes of taxes, immigration and other state benefits.
"Yesterday’s rulings are a reaffirmation of our country’s commitment to our founding ideals and will pave the way for the protection of civil rights for all Americans," stated Marcie Natan, national president of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.