With great pleasure I share the news that Prop 8 has been overturned. U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker declared today that "because Proposition 8 disadvantages gays and lesbians without any rational justification, Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." Equality has prevailed "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."
We can all be proud that PJA has a long-standing commitment to marriage equality. We have been in this struggle all along, galvanizing support within and beyond the Jewish community. We were there when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom married Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon in February 2004. We were there when the California Supreme Court upheld the right for same sex couples to marry in May 2008. We were there during the fight against Prop 8, staffing phone banks. We were in the streets after Prop 8 passed in November 2008 and since then we've been in the courts, joining an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the federal marriage equality litigation.
Equality is a progressive value "Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals." --Judge Walker
The federal case has demonstrated that to deny loving gay couples the right to marry is to deny a civil right. Today the courts have decreed that all loving couples have equal access to the social significance and legal protections of marriage. The economic advantages of marriage equality are significant, with rights extended to healthcare, pensions, and more. The societal acceptance that comes with marriage equality cannot be underestimated in its positive impact, particularly on the children of LGBT couples.
Equality is a Jewish value 78% of Jewish Angelenos voted against Prop 8
The Jewish community can be proud of our historic support for equality, from participating in the Civil Rights Movement to voting strongly against Prop 8.
As progressive Jews, we affirm that LGBT people are created in the image of God (b'tzelem Elohim) and whose existence evidences the resplendent diversity of God's creation. We embrace the diversity and common humanity of our LGBT sisters, brothers, parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, colleagues, friends and neighbors. We welcome the LGBT families who pray in our synagogues and who are guided by our clergy through births and deaths, joys and sorrows.
Equality means to be treated without distinction, being provided the right for all to share in the many journeys of life. At the end of the day, people are people and marriage is marriage. All marriages endure the same domestic distractions, whether it's taking the trash out, washing the dishes, or crumpling the toothpaste tube. And all marriages are based in love, with two people sorting through the bigger challenges of life: how to care for each other if someone gets sick, how to raise good children, how to be a family. Equality can be found whenever we embrace our common humanity, when we recognize our similarities big and small.
The federal court's decision today recognizes what we all have in common, and removes the barriers of inequality for couples throughout California. Today, dignity and fairness have prevailed, and we can celebrate with humility, knowing that we helped make a difference in the lives of millions. I hope you'll join me, and thousands of other joyful Californians, in celebrating equality at the events listed below.
Today, we raise our glasses with a new toast: Here's to progress!
Elissa D. Barrett PJA Executive Director
P.S. Amidst our celebration, I hope you'll consider the central role of PJA in galvanizing the Jewish community to support marriage equality and donate to keep the momentum going as we continue to stand for economic and social justice for all. Thank you.
Celebrate Equality Today! 08.04.2010 -- Day of Decision Events in the Bay Area
Castro March + Rally 08.04.2010
5:00 pm Castro
6:45 pm Civic Center Plaza
March and Rally in the Castro
Meet at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro at 5 pm (map), ending with a march to Civic Center Plaza (map) for a rally from 6:45 - 8:00 pm.
The Contra Costa Chapter of Marriage Equality USA is hosting numerous rallies throughout Contra Costa County starting at 6pm today: -- Walnut Creek, City Hall, 1666 North Main Street (map) -- Concord, Todos Santos Plaza, Willow Pass & Grant (map) -- Martinez, County Clerk's Office, 822 Main Street (map) -- Richmond, City Hall, 450 Civic Center Plaza (map)
The day after the decision is announced, Reverend Roland Stringfellow and others are going to hold an interfaith service at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (map), helping to bring together our faith communities on this vital issue.
Contact Grace Cathedral for more details and to confirm, call (415) 749-6300.