Reform Judaism, B'Tzelem Ehlohim, and Gay Rights
FAITH AND LAW: HOW RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS FROM CALVINISM TO ISLAM VIEW AMERICAN LAW, Robert Cochran, ed., NYU Press, 2007
21 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2006
This essay, to be published in a collection entitled Faith and Law: How Religious Traditions from Calvinism to Islam View American Law (Robert Cochran, ed., NYU Press, forthcoming), gives a brief survey of Reform Judaism before focusing on the position of Reform Judaism in favor of gay and lesbian rights. It does so by examining the Reform movement's interpretation of Jewish texts, its treatments of gays and lesbians within the movement, and its positions on issues of public policy involving discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The essay gives particular attention to the Reform movement's position on and reaction to Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 649 (2000), the case holding that the group's First Amendment right of expressive association protected its policy of discrimination against gays as members or leader. After Dale was decided, the Reform movement urged its congregations and individual members to end any associations they had with Boy Scout troops. The essay concludes with the author's account of her own congregation's decision to end its sponsorship of a Cub Scout pack during her tenure as its president.
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