OU Statement on NJ State Senate Judiciary Committee Vote on Same Sex Marriage Legislation
Today, the Orthodox Union, the nation's largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, released the following statement after the Judiciary Committee of the New Jersey State Senate voted 7-6 to bring proposed same sex marriage legislation to the full Senate (a vote is expected as early as Thursday):
The Orthodox Union opposes in principle the recognition of same sex marriage, and we reiterate our opposition to those who would impose this radical change to a timeless institution today. We are dismayed that the Judiciary Committee voted as it did.
In addition to our religious values, which we do not seek to impose on others, we fear that same-sex marriage poses a grave threat to the fundamental civil right of religious freedom. Scholars and advocates on both sides of this emotionally charged debate agree that codifying same-sex marriage without providing robust religious accommodations and exemptions will create widespread and unnecessary legal conflict that will "reverberate across the legal and religious landscape."
Already, in states with same-sex civil unions and similar laws -- including New Jersey -- religious institutions, including churches, social service providers and youth groups have been penalized by authorities for their beliefs. The amendments to the bill deal solely with solemnization of marriages and are wholly superfluous to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; they offer religious institutions none of much needed protection.
Forcing a choice between faith and the law benefits no one. We urge the full Senate to vote no.