Jewish groups reacted positively to a Boston appeals court’s ruling that an application of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld yesterday a court ruling declaring the block of federal benefits to same-sex couples went against an individual’s constitutional rights.
"We commend the First Circuit Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision striking down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act’s provisions denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples,” said Mark Pelavin, associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “Today’s decision is a vital, overdue, and very welcome step toward marriage equality and a more just society.”
“While each rabbi or religious leader may determine the guidelines of religious marriage in his or her community, the state has an imperative to grant all citizens the rights that accompany civil marriage,” added a statement by the Rabbis for Human Rights.
The Anti-Defamation League said: "DOMA represents a form of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation that has no place in American society. This unanimous decision makes it clear that all legally married couples must be treated equally by the federal government."
Thursday’s unanimous decision was the first instance of an appeals court ruling against a section of DOMA, first created in 1996. The case was not centered on the section of DOMA focused on same-sex marriage, but rather the rights afforded to same-sex couples. The case is now likely to head to the Supreme Court.
The decision came just weeks after many Jewish groups praised President Barack Obama’s announcement that he supports gay marriage, making him the first US leader to declare such a stance.