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

Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2006-9

21 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2006  

Ellen P. Aprill

Loyola Law School Los Angeles

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Aprill, Ellen P., 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; Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2006-9. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=887386

Ellen P. Aprill (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
213-736-1157 (Phone)
213-380-3769 (Fax)

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