May, 2014 marked a wonderful and important milestone in the life of our nation, the tenth anniversary of Massachusetts becoming the first state in the nation to establish equal marriage as a civil right. Seventeen states now allow equal marriage, joining such nations as Canada, Iceland, Norway, Argentina, Portugal, New Zealand, Brazil, France, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Belgium and the Netherlands in affirming this fundamental human right.

Over the course of the past decade I have been privileged to officiate at a number of same-sex wedding ceremonies and deem myself blessed to live in an equal-marriage state. Moreover, I have witnessed–as have we all–tremendous strides as our society comes to grip with the reality that human sexual and gender identity is spread across a wide-spectrum. Barriers are falling across our nation with increasing and encouraging frequency and it will not be long before the Supreme Court [yes, even this Supreme Court] finds a constitutional rationale for equal marriage. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently noted, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” We are proud witnesses to the bending of that arc.

The month of June is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride Month, originally designed to to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, which were a major turning point for LGBT issues in the United States. Today, Pride Month is observed in communities across the country with parades, festivals, and other joyful events that celebrate the LGBT community, as well as with educational elements and memorials to honor those who have died of hate crimes and HIV/AIDS.

Reform Jews are committed to the full participation of [LGBT people] in synagogue life, as well as society at large. As it says in Genesis 1:27, “And God created humans in God’s own image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them.” This guides Reform Jews’ support for equality and inclusion.

Keshet [www.keshetonline.org], an organization that works for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews in Jewish life, has made available a number of great resources to help Jews celebrate Pride Month and show their support for LGBT equality. Visit its website for a wealth of information and ideas. Check out this list of Pride Month events throughout the Jewish community to find an event near you. […] Tell the world you support equality! Keshet offers printable posters and downloadable graphics which are great for marching in pride parades or sharing on Facebook. Year-round, Keshet offers a resource database of articles, rituals, poetry, sermons, and more, all related to LGBT equality and inclusion in Jewish life and beyond.

Learn more about the Reform Movement and LGBT equality from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism [www.rac.org].

Happy Pride Month!

Reb Elias

[The material on Pride Month found above is reproduced, with permission, from ReformJudaism.org]