Why Jews Should Care About Questions 4 and 6

This is a personal opinion piece by a member of the community and does not reflect the institutional positions of Gather the Jews.  Sarah Brammer-Shlay is a  Community Organizer and Avodah Corps Member at Jews United for Justice.  

 

On Election Day, in addition to the Presidential seat, Marylanders will be voting on several different ballot questions.  Jews United for Justice is organizing the Jewish community, heading up the Dream for Equality campaign, and working to uphold Questions 4 (Maryland DREAM Act) and 6 (Civil Marriage Protection Act) which focus on tuition equity for undocumented students and marriage equality for the GLBT community.  So why should we as Jews care about either of these issues and why should you sign up for a volunteer shift to ensure that Marylanders vote for justice?

As Jews, we were all immigrants.

We understand what it is like to be a stranger in a foreign land.  Our families often traveled difficult journeys to make it to this country and, for many Jews, our immigration stories are unclear because of our long and complex immigrations.  Check out David Cohen’s article previously published in the Jerusalem Post on why current immigration issues are Jewish issues.

Most of our parents saw college as the necessary next step.

Education plays such a huge role in the rhetoric of so many Jewish communities and homes.  In my home, college was not a question; from a young age, I was raised with the expectation that, after high school, I would attend college without question.  Undocumented students who have graduated from Maryland high schools and worked hard are missing the opportunity to attend college because the difference in cost between in-state and out-of-state tuition is simply too steep.  Check out the stories of many DREAMers and why voting FOR Question 4 is so important.

Marriage has too often been used in discriminatory ways.

Interracial marriages were not allowed in the United States until 1967.  Banning marriage between Jews and non-Jews was one of the first Nuremberg Laws passed in Nazi Germany.  In our society, marriage is a way to show your friends, family, and community the commitment you wish to share with an individual.  Marriage has a special meaning in our society, and marrying the person one loves means something in a way that civil unions and domestic partnerships do not.  Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo takes this stance when he speaks out in support of marriage equality.

Sarah Silverman likes marriage equality.

Our lovely, politically active Jewish friend Sarah Silverman is a major advocate of marriage equality.  In fact, Sarah Silverman has said that she will not marry until Gay and Lesbian couples also have the right to marriage.

Sign up to phone bank and canvass with Jews United for Justice and reach out to Maryland voters to ensure tuition equity for undocumented students who have invested in the state of Maryland and to end marriage discrimination towards same-sex couples!