Religious groups applaud 1st Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on DOMA

Yesterday, a number of religious groups across the country applauded the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals' declaration that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The ruling, made yesterday, affirms that Section 3 of DOMA - which defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman - violates the Constitution. 

A wide variety of religious groups celebrated the court ruling.

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance, an organization dedicated to ensuring religious freedom for all, released a statement about the ruling's significance:

I am grateful that more and more federal judges are saying with the full weight of the law what Interfaith Alliance has been saying for years - the U.S. Constitution enshrines equal protection under the law and the freedom of religion, and no religion's beliefs should be able to trump these rights by forcing its beliefs on any other American. ...

The United States is a country that prides itself in being a democracy, where all are entitled to equal rights. In our America, marriage is a legal right that should not just be available, but also legally ensured, to all. When an individual is denied that right based on someone else's religious values, the promise of religious freedom to all is violated.

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism also spoke up about the historic ruling. The organization's associate director, Mark Pelavin, commented:

Today's decision is a vital, overdue, and very welcome step toward marriage equality and a more just society. We look forward to more progress of this sort and will continue to work to ensure a world in which all men and women are able to marry the person whom they love.

Previously, a diverse roster of 22 organizations with strong progressive religious affiliations - including the Hindu American Foundation, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Unitarian Universalist Association - filed an amicus brief challenging the constitutionality of DOMA. 

Freedom to Marry thanks these religious organizations for their vocal support of the freedom to marry. These organizations and congregations understand that the question of why marriage matters comes down to the Golden Rule - to treat others as they would like to be treated - and we are grateful for their leadership in the movement to advance the freedom to marry nationwide.