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Urge the Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act
In June 2022, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned decades of precedent established by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and left abortion rights up to the states. Although the decision focused on abortion, the majority opinion signals a willingness to overturn long-held rights, and Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly wrote in his concurring opinion that the Court should revisit other “substantive due process precedents,” including Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which established a constitutional right to marriage equality. In response to this opinion, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10), Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Sen Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act (H.R.8404/S.4556) to codify protections for same-sex and interracial marriage. 

The House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act  on July 19, 2022. Now, the Senate must act. Urge your Senators to support the Respect for Marriage Act. 

Background 

The Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA) defines marriage, for the purposes of federal law, as between a man and a woman and allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted by other states.  Although the Supreme Court struck down DOMA’s definition of marriage in United States v. Windsor (2013) and invalidated the provision allowing states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the law officially remains on the books. The bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404/S. 4556) formally repeals DOMA, codifies marriage equality for same sex and interracial couples as guaranteed by Obergefell v. Hodges and Loving v. Virginia (1967), and establishes additional legal protections for marriage equality. Even though the Supreme Court rulings currently make these rights the law of the land, the recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and Justice Thomas’ concurring opinion make clear the need for Congress to codify these rights into law. 

Jewish Values 

Judaism teaches that all human beings are created b'tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27). The belief that the stamp of the divine is present in all humans is fundamental to Reform Judaism and teaches us that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any person because of their identity. Guided by this belief, the Reform Jewish Movement has long supported marriage equality.  

For More Information

For more information on this issue, visit theRAC’s LGBTQ+ rights issue page or contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Rachel Klein. 

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