Members of the Jewish community gathered with more than 60 leaders from the Bay Area faith community at a press conference in San Francisco a few hours after the Supreme Court announced its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act .
The June 26 gathering on the front steps of Grace Cathedral included Rabbi Reuben Zellman (Congregation Beth El, Berkeley), Rabbi Michael Lerner (Beyt Tikkun, Berkeley), Rabbi David Cooper (Kehilla Community Synagogue, Piedmont), Jessica Trubowitch (director of legislative affairs and intergroup relations for the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council) and Sophia Lanza-Weil (Bay Area organizer of Bend the Arc).
A few hours later, there also was a celebration at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco.
“The organized Jewish community overwhelmingly supports marriage equality out of an abiding commitment to civil rights in our society and therefore applauds [the decisions] as a major step forward,” read a statement from Rabbi Doug Kahn, JCRC’s executive director, and Jerilyn Gelt, its president. “These are landmark decisions for the state of California and the United States as a whole, and an important step toward ensuring equality, liberty and justice for all American citizens.
“We join with many communities in celebrating the end of discrimination for same-sex couples seeking to marry in our state.”
Susan Lubeck, the regional director of Bend the Arc Bay Area, pointed out that her social justice organization and its predecessor, the Progressive Jewish Alliance, “has worked for years on LGBTQ freedom and inclusion, with intensive organizing in particular in the wake of then-Mayor Newsom’s issuance of marriage licenses, bringing Jewish ritual to City Hall with a chuppah and ketubah for couples getting married there and being part of concerted interfaith efforts to defeat Prop 8.”
Bend the Arc and Keshet, a grassroots organization that works for full equality and LGBT inclusion, were two of the sponsors of the gathering/press conference at Grace Cathedral. The event included members of the Jewish, Christian, Mormon, Muslim and Buddhist communities. — j. staff