For: Immediate Release
STATEMENT OF THE ORTHODOX UNION RE: SAME SEX MARRIAGE ENACTMENT IN NEW YORK STATE
Consistent with our tradition and Jewish religious principles, we oppose the redefinition of marriage and the state sanction of same sex marriages. We opposed this legislation and believe it is a mistake to enact it in New York. We do note however that the legislation, as enacted, includes robust protections of religious liberties for organizations including synagogues, schools and social service agencies. For that at least, we are grateful. Just as we, in a democratic, pluralistic society do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others, same sex marriage, now the law in New York, must not infringe on anyone’s religious liberties. Sadly, in too many states, those acting on their religious beliefs have seen government benefits withheld, government funds, contracts and services denied and privileges such as tax exemptions revoked. New York’s law ensures that will not happen here and employers, social service providers and houses of worship are free to uphold their faith.
We are particularly thankful to the well meaning and passionate advocates on both sides of this issue who recognized the need for such far reaching exemptions. In particular, we thank Governor Cuomo, a staunch supporter of the bill and Senate Majority Leader Skelos, a firm opponent, who worked together to find common ground here. As well, we are grateful to Speaker Silver for agreeing to take up the legislation a second time in the Assembly to ensure these protections were in the final legislation.
The Orthodox Union (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America) is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella group, representing hundreds of synagogues across North America.