Pelavin: "The Respect for Marriage Act is a positive and welcome step toward full equality for the LGBT community."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 16, 2009 - In response to yesterdays introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act of 2009, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act in its entirety, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Rep. Jerrold Nadlers introduction yesterday of the Respect for Marriage Act is a beacon of hope and equality following 13 years of civil rights denials under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that denies married same-sex couples from receiving the more than 1,100 federal protections granted to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint taxes, receive spousal health care benefits, receive spousal benefits under Social Security, and many more experiences of life taken for granted by married, heterosexual Americans.
In the 13 years since DOMAs passage, a growing number of states have legalized recognition of same-sex marriages. The Respect for Marriage Act, introduced with the support of 91 cosponsors, would repeal DOMA in its entirety, allowing legally married same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits and protections as heterosexual married couples.
All individuals are created b'tselem elohim, in the image of the Divine, and as such, are entitled to respect and equality. The Respect for Marriage Act is a positive and welcome step toward full equality for the LGBT community.