Proposed Federal Marriage Amendment To The United States Constitution

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR


Adopted by the 115th Annual Convention
of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Toronto, Canada
June, 2004


At its 1996 Convention in Philadelphia PA, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) resolved to “support the right of gay and lesbian couples to share fully and equally in the rights of civil marriage” and to “oppose governmental efforts to ban gay and lesbian marriage.” At its 2000 Convention in Greensboro NC, the CCAR recognized the legitimacy of same-gender unions and affirmed its support for rabbis who choose to officiate at such ceremonies.

These positions reflect Torah’s fundamental principle that all human beings are created in the divine image, and the Reform rabbinate’s commitment to welcoming and fully including lesbian and gay couples in all aspects of Jewish life. As we have grown in our knowledge and experience of same-gender couples establishing Jewish homes and raising Jewish children, we have learned to admire their courage, integrity and commitment despite the bigotry and discrimination that confront them daily in the larger society.

Moreover, as Reform rabbis, we have a deep and abiding respect for the United States Constitution. The lofty vision it articulates has much in common with the prophetic teachings of Judaism, and its wise principles of governance have allowed our communities to flourish. For decades, the Central Conference of American Rabbis has emphasized the importance of this foundational text and warned of the dangers of tampering with it. Having worked to ensure that the promise of equality put forward by the Constitution, and commanded by Jewish tradition, is extended to all, we are particularly concerned about the proposed changes to it which would codify discrimination, consign some in our society to permanent second-class status, and limit the protection of religious liberties. Moreover, we applaud the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for removing the barriers to civil marriage for same-gender couples, and hope that those constituencies’ policies can serve as a model for the entire United States and Canada.

THEREFORE, the Central Conference of American Rabbis resolves to:

  • Reaffirm our commitment to upholding the integrity of the United States Constitution, particularly concerning its guarantee of equal protection for all citizens, its prohibitions against discrimination and its safeguarding of religious liberties;

  • Reaffirm our commitment to pursuing full civil marriage rights for same-gender couples; and

  • Oppose any proposal to amend the United States Constitution or any state constitutions, or any state legislation that would limit these rights; and

  • Call upon CCAR members to play a leadership role on the federal, state and local levels on this issue, and to join coalitions and other efforts in local communities.