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Orthodox Union It Is Happy With Religious Liberty Protections In Senate’s Version Of Respect For Marriage Act

By 11/18/2022 12:14 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

The Orthodox Union has declared that it could support federal legislation that upholds the right to same-sex marriage for the first time, endorsing the religious liberty clauses introduced to the Respect for Marriage Act.

The OU, an umbrella organization representing Modern Orthodox synagogues, was not one of the more than 100 Jewish organizations that supported the Respect for Marriage Act last summer.

Previously, the group had also watched from the sidelines as the U.S. In Obergefell v. Hodges; the Supreme Court determined that the Constitution protected same-sex marriage.

This decision was made in 2015.

However, in a letter to senators working on the Respect for Marriage Act this week, the OU claimed that sufficient protections for religious freedom had been introduced to the law to ease the group’s worries.

The organization lobbied lawmakers to include the clauses by collaborating with other religious organizations, such as the Mormon church.

Nathan Diament, the OU’s director of activism, informed the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that a representative erred when they said the OU was “expressing support for the compromise bill.”

According to its long-held position, the OU still does not support same-sex marriage under Jewish law.

Diament told JTA that the OU would also be okay if the bill were to fail.

However, the letter claims that even if the measure becomes law, which it is expected to do, Orthodox rabbis and communities won’t be forced to compromise on their religious convictions.

A bipartisan group of senators offered an amendment to the measure that would guarantee safeguards for religious organizations that do not endorse same-sex marriage as a matter of doctrine in response to the OU’s and other organizations’ campaigning.

Three OU executives wrote to the four senators, “The leadership of the Orthodox Union… cannot approve the main goal of H.R.8404.”

However, we applaud the measures introduced to this bill by your substitute amendment in the Senate that adequately address concerns about religious liberty (provisions missing in the bill enacted by the House of Representatives).

A decades-old federal statute that stipulates that marriage must be between a man and a woman is to be repealed by the Respect for Marriage Act, which the Senate approved on Wednesday.

Obergefell replaced that legislation, but Justice Clarence Thomas referenced Obergefell as another ruling he thought should be considered when the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

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