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March 12, 2015 2

ADL Urges Supreme Court to Protect Religious Freedom by Supporting Marriage Equality

ADL brought together a broad coali­tion of reli­gious, cul­tural and civil rights orga­ni­za­tions, rep­re­sent­ing diverse faiths, tra­di­tions and cul­tures, to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to reject efforts to impose one par­tic­u­lar reli­gious under­stand­ing of mar­riage into law.

Photo credit Victoria Pickering

Photo credit Vic­to­ria Pickering

ADL filed a friend– of-the-court brief in the four cases pend­ing before the Court: Oberge­fell v. Hodges, Tanco v. Haslam, DeBoer v. Sny­der, and Bourke v. Beshear. These cases chal­lenge Mar­riage Bans in Ohio, Ten­nessee, Michi­gan, and Ken­tucky, state con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments that define mar­riage as exclu­sively between one man and one woman. The brief, filed on behalf of a coali­tion of 25 orga­ni­za­tions, recounts how dis­crim­i­na­tion tar­get­ing dis­ad­van­taged groups – odi­ous arti­facts such as slav­ery, seg­re­ga­tion, bans on inter­ra­cial mar­riage, and laws sub­ju­gat­ing women – all now con­sid­ered anachro­nis­tic blem­ishes – were jus­ti­fied by reli­gious and moral dis­ap­proval, an argu­ment that has been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief also argues that over­turn­ing the mar­riage bans would not only ensure that reli­gious con­sid­er­a­tions do not improp­erly influ­ence which mar­riages the state can rec­og­nize, but would also allow reli­gious groups to decide the def­i­n­i­tion of mar­riage for them­selves. Reli­gions are, and absolutely should remain, free to sol­em­nize and rec­og­nize mar­riages as they see fit, as they do when it comes to inter­faith mar­riages or mar­riages post-divorce. This brief is just the lat­est effort by ADL to advance Les­bian, Gay, Bisex­ual, and Trans­gen­der (LGBT) rights around the coun­try and across the globe. ADL was joined on the briefs by The Amer­i­can Jew­ish Com­mit­tee; Bend the Arc – A Jew­ish Part­ner­ship for Jus­ticeThe Cen­tral Con­fer­ence of Amer­i­can Rab­bis and the Women of Reform Judaism; Global Jus­tice Insti­tute; Hadas­sah – The Women’s Zion­ist Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­ica, Inc.; The Hindu Amer­i­can Foun­da­tion; The Inter­faith Alliance Foun­da­tion; The Japan­ese Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens League; Jew­ish Social Pol­icy Action Net­work (JSPAN); Keshet; Luther­ans Concerned/North Amer­ica; Met­ro­pol­i­tan Com­mu­nity Church; More Light Pres­by­te­ri­ans; The National Coun­cil of Jew­ish Women; Nehirim; Peo­ple for the Amer­i­can Way Foun­da­tion; Pres­by­ter­ian Wel­come; Rec­on­cil­ing­Works: Luther­ans for Full Par­tic­i­pa­tion; Recon­struc­tion­ist Rab­bini­cal Col­lege and Jew­ish Recon­struc­tion­ist Com­mu­ni­ties; Reli­gious Insti­tute, Inc.; The Sikh Amer­i­can Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tion Fund; Soci­ety for Human­is­tic Judaism; South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Together; T’ruah: Rab­bis for Human Rights-North Amer­ica; and Women’s League for Con­ser­v­a­tive Judaism. The law firm Green­berg Trau­rig LLP pre­pared the friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of ADL.

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June 7, 2014 0

Why Pride?

“Stonewall was just the flip side of the black revolt when Rosa Parks took a stand.  Finally, the kids down there took a stand. But it was peace­ful.  I mean, they said it was a riot; it was more like a civil disobedience.”

– Storme DeLarverie (1920–2014), early leader in the Gay Rights Movement

June is LGBT Pride Month.  To under­stand the LGBT move­ment, it’s impor­tant to appre­ci­ate the mean­ing of pride.  Pride, accord­ing to Merriam-Webster, is “a feel­ing that you respect your­self and deserve to be respected by other peo­ple.”  How does this trans­late into LGBT pride or pride amongst any other group of peo­ple such as African Amer­i­cans, Jews, women or immi­grants? Espe­cially for groups of peo­ple who have been oppressed, mar­gin­al­ized, dis­crim­i­nated against and tar­geted for bul­ly­ing, harass­ment and vio­lence, pride is key.  Pride is a group of peo­ple stand­ing together and affirm­ing their self-worth, their his­tory and accom­plish­ments, their capa­bil­ity, dig­nity and their vis­i­bil­ity.  It is a vocal and pow­er­ful state­ment to them­selves and the world that they deserve to be treated with respect and equal­ity. Pride is a way out.

The LGBT Pride Move­ment began at Stonewall in the sum­mer of 1969.  On June 28, a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in NYC, turned vio­lent when cus­tomers and local sym­pa­thiz­ers rioted against the police.  The riot embod­ied the mount­ing of anger and weari­ness the gay com­mu­nity felt about the police depart­ment tar­get­ing gay clubs and engag­ing in dis­crim­i­na­tory prac­tices, which occurred reg­u­larly dur­ing that time. And yes, it also rep­re­sented their pride. The Stonewall riot was fol­lowed by days of demon­stra­tions in NYC and was the impe­tus for the cre­ation of sev­eral gay, les­bian and bisex­ual civil rights orga­ni­za­tions.  One year later, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Ange­les and Chicago, com­mem­o­rat­ing the Stonewall riots. The Pride move­ment was born.

Forty-five years later, there have been major strides in the rights and treat­ment of LGBT peo­ple: in nine­teen states plus D.C. same-sex cou­ples have the free­dom to marry ; we have openly gay pro­fes­sional sports’ play­ers — Michael Sam (NFL) and Jason Collins (NBA); and this month Lav­erne Cox became the first trans­gen­der woman to grace the cover of Time mag­a­zine.  At the same time, there remains much work to be done.  Just as LGBT Pride rep­re­sents a wide diver­sity of peo­ple and issues, there are a wide vari­ety of oppor­tu­ni­ties for edu­ca­tors to cel­e­brate, teach and demon­strate their pride for LGBT people:

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March 3, 2014 0

The Arizona Effect

Josh Deinert

AP Photo/Matt York

Last week Ari­zona Gov­er­nor Jan Brewer vetoed the State’s now infa­mous “reli­gious free­dom” bill. 

The clear intent of the SB 1062 was to effec­tively allow per­sons and busi­nesses to dis­crim­i­nate against the State’s LGBT com­mu­nity by pro­vid­ing a pow­er­ful legal defense based on asser­tion of a “sin­cerely held reli­gious belief.” 

Due to its expan­sive nature, how­ever, the leg­is­la­tion would have broadly sanc­tioned religious-based dis­crim­i­na­tion whether the vic­tim was Jew­ish, Mus­lim, Protes­tant, Catholic, Mor­mon, Hindu or of no faith.   And the Anti-Defamation took a lead­er­ship role in defeat­ing this dis­crim­i­na­tory legislation.

Gov­er­nor Brewer ulti­mately vetoed SB 1062 under fierce pres­sure from the State’s civil rights and busi­ness communities.

But what hap­pens in Ari­zona does not stay in Ari­zona.  Prior to Gov­er­nor Brewer’s veto, at least twelve other states, includ­ing Geor­gia, Mis­sis­sippi, Ohio and Okla­homa, were actively con­sid­er­ing sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion.  Due to the back­lash against SB 1062, how­ever, Geor­gia, Mis­sis­sippi, Ohio, and Okla­homa tabled their bills.  So the new talk­ing point in oppos­ing such leg­is­la­tion should be “fol­low the lead of the Ari­zona leg­is­la­ture at your peril.”

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