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Jewish Groups Hail Court Decision on Gay Marriage

Three Jewish groups welcomed a U.S. court’s decision declaring as unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts the definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman.

The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York handed down its decision on Oct. 18. The act was passed in 1996 by both houses of Congress by large majorities.

“This decision reaffirms 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 Anti-Defamation League said in a statement.

The Reform movement in its statement noted that several of its constituent bodies had joined the ADL in a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the claim of Edith Windsor, who sued the government for forcing her to pay estate taxes after her wife died, even though spouses are exempt under the law from such taxes.

“We oppose DoMA because of our unequivocal support for equal rights for all people, including the right to a civil marriage license, reflecting our understanding that the stamp of the Divine is present in each and every human being,” the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center said in a statement.

Also praising the court was the National Council for Jewish Women, which had opposed passage of the law.

Opponents of gay marriage rights have suggested that they will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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