Counting the Omer: 2 Impact Opportunities For Marriage Equality

There are 2 opportunities to act for LGBT civil rights this week, so in today’s count, we focus on social change!  FIRST: FOR THE RIGHT TO HAVE A MARRIAGE RECOGNIZED STATE TO STATE, JOIN US THIS THURS–US District Judge Mary McLaughlin has scheduled the oral arguments for Cara Palladino & Isabelle Barker v. Governor Thomas Corbett for Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 9:30 am in Courtroom 13-A, US Courthouse, 6th & Market Street, Philadelphia. Supporters of marriage equality are encouraged to be present at this historic case.

SECOND: SIGN-UP TO STAND TOGETHER WHEN THE MARRIAGE EQUALITY JUDGMENT COMES IN–If you would like to be on “stand-by” to gather for a rally on the evening of the decision of the Whitewood case which seeks to open the door to marriage equality in PA, please add your name by emailing edu@rodephshalom.org.

This week of Omer counting focuses on Hod, glory, and the glory of just decisions is exactly what we are praying for.  Inspired by the Torah’s teaching that human beings are created in God’s image, our congregation affirms the worth and dignity of all God’s children and is proud to support Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania and the movement to bring the freedom to marry to loving same-sex couples in Pennsylvania. For some time, the Why Marriage Matters PA campaign has known that our congregations and clergy stand with Marriage Equality. Now, we literally have the opportunity stand with the movement and to show up. Sometime in the next weeks, the judge in Whitewood v. Wolf, the case that seeks to strike down Pennsylvania’s law denying same-sex couples marriage equality, will decide in a summary judgment.

Whichever way the Whitewood decision goes, the Why Marriage Matters PA campaign will facilitate rallies throughout the state for people to gather, and depending on the decision, and to either cry together or rejoice together. We do not know when the judge will decide or whether the judge will give 24 hour notice. So the campaign is planning now for possible locations such as Love Park or City Hall plaza or possibly even Rodeph Shalom. It will be our challenge to get the word out quickly, so we are developing a Marriage Equality Judgment communications list. To receive information about when and where to go to the rally once a decision is announced, please join our list by emailing your contact information to Rachel Thomas: edu@rodephshalom.org.

Here are some basics about the case: Less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in the ACLU case United States v. Windsor, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed the first post-Windsor federal challenge to a state Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The ACLU- PA’s case, Whitewood v. Wolf, seeks to strike down Pennsylvania’s law denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry and refusing to recognize out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. The 25 plaintiffs include 11 loving, committed same-sex couples who are either married or wish to marry in Pennsylvania, 1 widow who lost her same-sex spouse, and 2 teenage children of one of the plaintiff couples. On April 21, 2014, the ACLU filed a motion asking the court to decide the case in their favor. All legal papers in the case will be filed by May 12, 2014, and the judge could issue a ruling any time after that. There will be no trial. Learn more about the case here.

Many thanks to Steve Mirman, the RS Marriage Equality chair, Joan Levin, the Congregation Beth Ahavah president, and the whole Marriage Equality Task Force. May we all join them and demonstrate that Jews, and faith-inspired people, stand with LGBT rights.

When was the last time you knew your presence made a difference for social change?

Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha-olam asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al s’firat ha’omer.  Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with sacred actions and enjoins us to count the omer.

Hayom shmonah v’esrim yom, shehem arbah-ah shavuot la-omer. Today is 28 days which are 4 weeks of the Omer.

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