Jewish Reaction to Gay Marriage Decision

Jewish Reaction to Gay Marriage Decision June 28, 2015

So how has the Jewish community responded to the marriage equality decision?

My own Facebook page demonstrates 100% approval. But that’s not really so scientific. Nevertheless, it does reflect the actual American Jewish consensus. The last poll of the community indicated that 83% supported marriage equality.

The Forward provided a breakdown of Jewish celebrities. We Jews do love bragging about our celebrities. The 83% support of American Jewry combined with Hollywood’s nearly 100% approval means that every single Jewish celebrity supports gay marriage. If there is one who doesn’t he or she ain’t tweeting.

Twitter was the forum of choice for much of the organized community’s support.

The Anti-Defamation League tweeted this:

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This is a great day for Civil Rights! Happy Pride!

The American Jewish Committee also tweeted:

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For 109 years AJC has stood for liberty and human rights. Today is a happy day for that proud tradition.

And the Reform movement even changed its Twitter icon:

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Still riding the high of today’s #SCOTUS #marriageequality decision as we head into #Shabbat!

Even Israel’s Likud defense minister had something nice to say:

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I hope additional countries, including Israel, will follow in the footsteps of the United States and grant this basic right to all.

I don’t like his policies about the Palestinians, but I imagine this will tick off some of his right-wing American evangelical supporters. So take that John Hagee and Christians United for Israel!

During the case twenty-five Jewish organization, including the Society for Humanistic Judaism, filed an amicus brief in favor of the petitioners.

Of course not everyone was that happy.

The ultra-Orthodox Agudath Israel of America also filed an amicus of their own. After the decision they expressed their disappointment about the results:

… we are deeply concerned that, as a result of today’s ruling, and as the dissenting Justices have pointed out, members and institutions of traditional communities like the Orthodox Jewish community we represent may incur moral opprobrium and risk tangible negative consequence if they refuse to transgress their beliefs, and even if they simply teach and express their religious views publicly. That prospect is chilling, and should be unacceptable to all people of good will on both sides of this debate.

I doubt if they’ll experience any “tangible negative consequences.” But not only will they “incur moral opprobrium” they should incur it. Then again, they incur it for all kinds of stuff already so they probably won’t incur any extra opprobrium. They’ve pretty much topped out on the incurring of opprobrium.

Not all the Orthodox were worried about opprobrium. The more moderate Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America did not file an amicus. They weren’t happy about the result, but their statement was pretty mild. They talked about “condemning discrimination” and were conciliatory about the outcome:

We … recognize that no religion has the right to dictate its beliefs to the entire body politic and we do not expect that secular law will always align with our viewpoint. Ultimately, decisions on social policy remain with the democratic process, and today the process has spoken and we accord the process and its result the utmost respect.

My own Facebook feed revealed an awful lot of support from young modern Orthodox Jews. Through family and mutual friends I have many connections to that community and received quite a few congratulations from them.

It was a great day for America and I’m thrilled with the 83% support of American Jews.

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