Rabbi Steve Fox, CEO of Central Conference of American Rabbis, and Rabbi Hara Person, the Conference’s Director of Communications, published a piece in the Huffington Post, saying that striking down DOMA was just one step, and that the fight for full equality for LGBTQ Americans must continue.
When we heard the news that the United States Supreme Court had ruled 5-4 to strike down bans on same-sex marriage, we were thrilled. Reform Judaism, led by the Reform Rabbinate of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, has long advocated for the rights of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and this decision brought our world one step closer to fully realizing that we are all created b’tzelem Elohim, in the divine image.
But we also realized that this was just one step, and that the fight for full equality for LGBTQ Americans must continue. Despite how pleased we were with the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, in many states, members of the LGBTQ community are still at risk of losing their jobs for their sexual orientation, lack protection from physical violence, or are denied rights to hospital visits with ill spouses.
At the moment, only 19 states ban discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity, and three ban discrimination based on sexual orientation solely. Just as the tide of love and equal marriage rights swept the nation with the Obergefell v Hodges decision, now too must the demand for equal treatment and equal protection be enforced nationwide. This is why we’re expressing our strong support for the Equality Act, which was just introduced to Congress, and urge its swift adoption.
The Equality Act would at long last provide equal protection from discrimination to all Americans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It would build on the Civil Rights Act by amending and expanding existing laws that have been incredibly impactful in reducing discrimination based on race and adding protections for Americans from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, housing, public accommodations, education and many other areas of public life.