Central Conference of American Rabbis Endorses the Equality Act
Friday, July 24, 2015
The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) enthusiastically welcomes the introduction and urges the swift adoption of the Equality Act, seeking at long last to provide equal civil rights to all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Long a leader in the quest for civil rights, the CCAR first endorsed equality before the law for gay and lesbian Americans in 1977 and has continued to voice leadership for LGBT rights, including most recently a resolution on transgender equality. As rabbis who believe that each human being is made in God's image, according to Divine plan, we affirm the right of all persons to fulfill their destiny without forfeiting any right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. None should be denied equal access to employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federal funding, credit, or jury selection on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
As a rabbinic organization that embraces and is led by rabbis of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, we believe that discrimination against LGBT Americans is not only unjust but also goes against our deepest values and beliefs. At the same time, we recognize that other religious traditions approach sexual orientation and gender identity differently. Affirming free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and celebrating religious liberty as a key to Judaism's thriving on American soil, we support a strictly limited religious exemption in the Equality Act, consistent with the original vision that inspired our support for the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans have waited far too long for equal protection before the law. Now is the time for Congress to act, with bipartisan support and the President's signature, to adopt the Equality Act without delay.
Rabbi Denise L. Eger Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis