Scary Op/Ed Seeks to Roil Orthodox Waters

maxresdefault[1]The Supreme Court decision granting equal marriage rights to gays is bringing fear mongers out of the closet. Nathan Lewin’s op/ed My Rabbi Needs Legal Aid in The Jewish Exponent strives to instill in the Orthodox community a wholly unnecessary fear of gay rights. The article argues that an Orthodox rabbi may be forced to officiate at a gay wedding, contrary to the view of marriage expressed in Genesis 2:24, “A man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his woman and they shall become one flesh.”

The Supreme Court is, of course, precluded by the First Amendment from adopting the Bible as its law. Separation of church and state requires that it find other bases for decisions.

When two important Constitutional rights collide — say my right of equal protection of the laws and your freedom of religious practice — courts need to decide which right prevails. Contrary to the Nathan Lewin’s worries, the trend today is full tilt in favor of religion.
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Tel Aviv Redefines Itself as “Most Gay-Friendly City in the World”

For: Gay Sports News

After becoming the first gay couple to wed in France, Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau celebrated their honeymoon with 100,000 people at Tel Aviv’s gay pride weekend.

On May 29, 2013, Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau were the first gay couple to be married in France after the country became the 14th in the world to legalize gay marriage and adoption. According to The Jerusalem Post, French Ambassador Christophe Bigot, who hosted the couple in Israel, said the couple represents the spirit of liberal French people, and he was excited to see them promote ‘tolerance and understanding’ around the world. Bigot said the couple was invited ‘to create new links between France and Israel’.

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Against: Catholic Online

Just over a week ago, François Hollande signed a law which utterly destroyed the concept of marriage as it was known in France since medieval times. Under the law, two individuals of the same sex may now call themselves “married.” Vincent Autin, 40, and Bruno Boileau, 29, were the first homosexual couple to get married under the new law. For their honeymoon, they visited Israel. The media followed the couple as though they were celebrities. They were invited to the opening event of Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Month. In honor of the event, the pillars on the Old City Hall were lit up in rainbow colors with trance music blaring from speakers.

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Cartoon courtesy of Yaakov “Dry Bones” Kirschen.

JSPAN Joins Briefs In U.S. Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Cases

— by Lynn Zeitlin, JSPAN Past President

There are two cases before the United States Supreme Court involving same-sex marriage. We are pleased to announce that JSPAN has joined the two amici briefs for which the ADL was the lead amicus.

One brief was filed in support of Edith Windsor, who challenged the constitutionality of Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), after being denied treatment as a surviving spouse under federal estate tax and other laws despite having been legally married in Canada. Section 3 of DOMA amends the United States Code to define “marriage’ and “spouse” for federal laws, rules and regulations as follows: “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.”

More after the jump.
The brief JSPAN signed makes the argument that Section 3 of DOMA violates not only the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of Equal Protection but also the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The brief points out that numerous religious denominations recognize marriages between two men and two women and points out that the Establishment Clause prohibits laws that favor a particular religious view over others and does not have a secular purpose as its primary purpose or effect. The brief argues that DOMA had only a religious purpose that flies in the face of longstanding Establishment Clause principles and is therefore unconstitutional. The Fifth Amendment argument is grounded in the absence of any legitimate governmental purpose in enacting DOMA so that the only motivation for its passage was moral disapproval of gay and lesbian people, which has never been a sufficient rationale for justifying a law that discriminates, citing Justice O’Connor’s concurrence in the Lawrence v. Texas case that overturned a Texas law criminalizing gay sex practices.

The second brief joined by JSPAN is in the case out of California popularly known as the Prop 8 case. In May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that the California law barring same-sex couples from marrying violated the state’s constitution. In November that same year, Proposition 8 was passed by voters; it defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The brief makes the same point as the Windsor brief, pointing out that the Court no longer relies on religious or moral disapproval as a legitimate basis for any law. Thus, the brief argues, laws that discriminate against historically disadvantaged minorities have been rejected by the courts as societal support for discrimination.