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This Week at the RAC: Supreme Court, Health Care & Legislative Priorities

I hope you’ve enjoyed a celebratory Canada Day or Independence Day, whichever side of the border you live on. Many of the RAC staff took in the Capitol fireworks, along with the usual array of barbeques and ball games.

We had a short workweek, since the URJ closed its offices (the RAC included) yesterday and today, giving everyone an extra long summer weekend. Nonetheless, we managed to pack the week full as always.

The Effect of Supreme Court Rulings: Webinar Recording
On Monday, we hosted a webinar focused on the recently concluded Supreme Court term and the landmark cases on marriage equality, voting rights and affirmative action. Our speakers included Brian Moulton, Legal Director for the Human Rights Campaign, Ellen Buchman, Vice President at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and our own Rachel Laser. David Saperstein moderated the webinar, which you can hear online.

New Legislative Agendas

Congress was away last week for the holiday, so things have been a bit quieter on the legislative front. But we’re gearing up for the efforts to come on passing immigration reform in the House, among other initiatives.

Now that part of the Defense of Marriage Act has been struck down by the Supreme Court, we’re also turning our attention to the legislative battle to get rid of the rest of it. The Respect for Marriage Act would overturn DOMA, requiring states to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. Take a moment to email your members of Congress about the bill. You can also weigh in on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which is moving in the Senate next week. Dial 1-888-897-0174 to receive instructions on how to participate in our call-in campaign to protect the rights of LGBT workers.

Contraceptive Coverage and the Affordable Care Act

Even though the President was traveling through Africa, the Administration issued the final rule on contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act. You can read David Saperstein’s statement about the exemption and accommodation for religious and religiously affiliated groups.

Machon Kaplan Program

We’re also still busy with our Machon Kaplan program interns (don’t forget to catch up on their summer experiences at MKBlog). Earlier last week, the group of 30 was divided into five and each Eisendrath Legislative Assistant spent an hour debating “tough choices” with the MKs, considering issues where we have competing interests and values. And on Tuesday night, we welcomed summer interns from other organizations to the RAC for dinner and a lecture by David Saperstein on the use and abuse of religion in election campaigns. Not surprisingly, we had a full house.

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Barbara Weinstein

About Barbara Weinstein

Barbara Weinstein is the Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and Associate Director of the Religious Action Center.

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