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Jewish Groups Back Court Ruling on Gay Marriage

The Reform movement, the Anti-Defamation League and Rabbis for Human Rights-NA welcomed a court decision ruling unconstitutional an application of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, on Thursday upheld a lower court’s ruling that denying gay couples federal benefits accorded to straight couples was unconstitutional.

“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, in a press statement. “Today’s decision is a vital, overdue, and very welcome step toward marriage equality and a more just society.”

Rabbis for Human Rights-North America also issued a statement of praise for the First Circuit court’s decision noting that “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.”

In its statement, the ADL called the decision “a clear affirmation that the principle of equal treatment means that same-sex couples are entitled to all of the federal rights, protections and benefits of civil marriage.”

The three-judge panel became the first federal appeals court to issue a ruling against the 1996 federal government ban on same-sex marriage.

The decision comes two weeks after President Obama issued his support for the same-sex marriages following an earlier statement of support by Vice President Joe Biden on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Conservative groups are likely to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Until that court decides whether to proceed, the decision remains inactive.

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