By Rabbi Heidi M. Cohen
There was a late anniversary present for my parents last week – Doma, the Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional and Prop 8 was declared void and unconstitutional. My parents celebrated their 50th anniversary two days before and as the court handed down their decisions, I cried tears of joy. Finally, we are on the right road toward marriage equality.
This ruling means that the 13 states in which marriage is legal for GLBT, the Federal government must recognize the marriage and the over 1138 rights and benefits afforded each couple.
I’ve read and heard the stories of families overjoyed when they told their children they were finally equal and legal. No family should have to fight for the basic rights each of us should be afforded. No child should have to defend the love of his or her parents to peers.
Why was this an anniversary present for my parents? Because they have always taught me that every individual should be treated equally and with dignity. When my mom moved to Florida as a teenager, she was outraged at the sight of separate water fountains, one for whites and one for blacks. Just to spite them, she drank from the water fountain marked for blacks.
I am proud that we are a congregation who believes and states that we are a congregation for all. We put this on the front of our website:
We celebrate our rich diversity as a congregation, a community of many communities. We are a great intergenerational family in a place where we care for and about one another. We are newcomers and old-timers, children and adults, individuals and couples and families, multi-racial families, LGBT and straight, Jews by birth and by choice, non-Jewish partners and spouses. Interfaith families are always welcome.
We know that there is still much to do toward bringing marriage equality and adoption rights to each state. There are still 33 states in which one can be fired for being gay. No, the fight is not over. But last Wednesday was a wonderful beginning.