2013: A Year of Marriage Equality

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Delaware passed on May 7th, making it the 12th state to enact marriage equality. The legislation eliminated civil unions, converting any unions to fully recognized marriages.

Upon hearing the news, National Coalition of Jewish Women released the following statement, “NCJW salutes state lawmakers and the governor for this step forward for civil rights for the people of Delaware.”

In 2012, over half of the voters in Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The Legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill in May, which went into effect on August 1st.

Minnesotan Rafi shared his views on his own upcoming nuptials: “We were anxious to have a wedding in a state where members of our own family wouldn’t be able to do the same. We were relieved when Minnesota became the first Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage through legislation, led by Jewish State Representative Simon—with a host of Jewish groups proudly helping hoist the banner of equality.”

New Jersey
As a result of the court case Garden State Equality v. Dow, New Jersey legally recognized same-sex marriage in October. Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin were among the first in the state to tie the knot. Just after midnight on October 21st the two wrapped themselves in prayer shawls and broke the glass, telling Haaretz, “When we broke the glass, we were destroying inequality and discrimination in New Jersey.”

As the year marched on, Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriages, cementing it’s place as honeymoon capital of the U.S.

Just before Thanksgiving, the Land of Lincoln gave us something to be thankful for: same-sex marriage was signed into law.

An open letter from Illinois clergy and faith leaders reads, “We dedicate our lives to fostering faith and compassion, and we work daily to promote justice and fairness for all. Standing on these beliefs, we think that it is morally just to grant equal opportunities and responsibilities to loving, committed same-sex couples.”