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"Loving, committed couples deserve the opportunity to celebrate their relationships and have them validated in the eyes of the law."
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Washington DC, May 11, 2009 - Rabbi Marc Gruber and Honey Heller, co-chairs of the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State, today sent a letter to Governor David Paterson in support of legislation that would establish civil marriage equality in New York. The text of the letter follows:
May 11, 2009
Dear Governor Paterson:
On behalf of the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State, we write to express our strong support for legislation to establish civil marriage equality in New York
As a part of the Reform Jewish Movement, North Americas largest Jewish denomination including 1.5 million Reform Jews and 900 congregations, we know well that civil marriage can exist in harmony with a diversity of beliefs on the issue of religious same-sex marriage. Our tradition has long celebrated and sanctified loving same-sex relationships. At the same time, we are cognizant that other faith traditions hold differing views on this issue. That is why it is essential that civil marriage laws are not rooted in theology, but in the principle of equal rights.
Nothing in civil marriage legislation would require clergy to officiate at same sex marriages. Indeed, clergy would continue to be free to decide their role in such ceremonies. Loving, committed couples deserve the opportunity to celebrate their relationships and have them validated in the eyes of the law.
Our religious values teach love and respect for all of humankind and that all people are created btselem Elohim, in the Divine image, deserving of tolerance, respect, love and equality. We look forward to the day when New York takes its place alongside a growing number of states nationwide that recognize the importance of marriage equality as a means of validating relationships and ensuring individuals in those relationships legal protections, rights, and responsibilities.
Honey Heller and Rabbi Marc Gruber
Co-Chairs, Reform Jewish Voice of New York State