OU Welcomes Introduction of Constitutional Marriage Amendment

Posted on May 15, 2002 In Press Releases

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization representing nearly 1,000 congregations welcomed the introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives of the Federal Marriage Amendment by a bipartisan group of co-sponsors.

Nathan Diament, the Union’s director of public policy, issued the following statement:

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America welcomes the introduction of the Federal Marriage Amendment because we believe that this text is a reasonable and appropriate response to recent decisions by America’s courts in an important arena of social policy.

The Jewish tradition has long recognized the centrality of the institution of marriage, so much so that the term in Judaism for marriage is kiddushin – or, ‘holiness’ – our most central aspiration. Moreover, Judaism recognizes that the institution of marriage is central to the formation of a healthy society and the raising of children.

The Federal Marriage Amendment [“FMA”] will enshrine this critical institution in our nation’s foundational law. Recent decisions by the supreme courts of some states — such as Hawaii, Vermont and New York – clearly indicate that the definition of marriage will be increasingly subjected to court challenges in the coming years. The FMA is a reasonable and measured response to this trend. The proposed amendment will prevent America’s courts from unilaterally changing the institution of marriage and require such decisions to be made in legislatures and popular referenda. The FMA does not sanction discrimination against homosexuals, it will not deprive them of certain civil benefits that state or local legislatures might afford to homosexuals, it won’t even prevent the legislation of civil unions. It will, however, enshrine in law the traditional and historical definition of the institution of marriage. This is probably too little for some, and too much for others, but it is the right thing to do.”