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Jewesses with Attitude

Jewish mothers for marriage equality

The title on Feministing.com made me chuckle: "Jewish mothers lobby for right to nag all their kids about getting married." Yeah, that sounds about right!

New Yorkers United for Marriage will launch a new ad for marriage equality this week featuring the quintessential Jewish parents, Paul and Iris Blumenthal, with their strong Long Island accents and notably Semitic-sounding last names. Interestingly, the ad itself never mentions the Blumenthals faith or hints at their Judaism beyond these somewhat stereotypical traits, which Feministing plays on in its coverage of the video - but based on the message conveyed in the ad, I'll happily claim the Blumenthals as Members of the Tribe!

Iris Blumenthal, with her husband of 47 years beside her, explains that both of her sons have been in committed relationships for more than a decade. Their straight son has been married for 15 years; their gay son has been with his partner for 11 years but, of course, cannot marry him under New York state law. "A good marriage is thinking about and caring for the other person even more than you care about yourself and we’ve seen this in Jonathan and Eric’s relationship to each other," Iris says. "They’re a wonderful couple, they’re a caring couple. It would give us such great joy to walk them down the aisle and watch them get married."

Support for marriage equality is gaining steam across New York, with strong support from Gov. David Paterson. An April poll showed New Yorkers split 56-38 in favor of marriage equality, and in May, more than 700 state religious leaders signed a petition in support of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in New York state. Though signatories were largely of mainline Protestant faith, Jewish clergy and groups have played an active role in the fight for Empire State equality. Reform Jewish Voice of New York State, which has joined other faith groups in advocating in Albany for marriage equality, provides talking points to Jewish New Yorkers interested in doing the same.

New Yorkers United for Marriage's ad featuring the Blumenthals airs this week, when the organization will deliver more than 10,000 wedding-styler "reply cards" to the state legislature, all signed and sent in by New Yorkers who support marriage equality legislation. Not a New Yorker? You can still say "I do" to marriage equality by asking President Obama to fully support marriage equality at the federal level and give all Americans the opportunity to pledge 'til death do them part.

How to cite this page

Bigam, Kate. "Jewish mothers for marriage equality." 8 June 2011. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/jewish-mothers-for-marriage-equality>.

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