Conservative Rabbis receive same-sex wedding guidelines
The Conservative Jewish movement in the United States has approved a set of guidelines Rabbis can follow when performing same-sex marriages.
The guidelines passed the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards with a 13 to 0 vote and one abstention.
Director of the Religious Action Centre for Reform Judaism Rabbi David Saperstein (pictured) said the guidelines are a step forward in recognising that all people are created equal in ‘the image of the Divine’.
“The Reform Movement’s experience sanctifying same-sex marriage has made it absolutely clear that, like heterosexual couples, gay, bisexual, and lesbian men and women find happiness and strength in the holiness of their relationships,” he said.
“That holiness is reflected in stronger ties to God and to their Jewish faith, both of which the Rabbinical Assembly has now helped further.”
Prior to the guidelines being approved Rabbis had been improvising same-sex ceremonies since the ban on same-sex couples was lifted in 2006.
According to the executive vice president of the movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, there are now two sets of guidelines for same-sex ceremonies which Rabbis can elect to follow.
“We are a big-tent movement. There remain people for whom this is not what they understand Jewish law to dictate. They don’t have an obligation,” she said.
“The guidance is considered thoughtful and helpful to do what it was intended to do ... to bring sanctity between people who want to build a Jewish home.
“There is a tremendous sense of appreciation, of celebration.”
Despite these recent steps toward equality a conservative Rabbi is not allowed to perform a marriage between a Jew and non-Jew regardless of whether it’s a same-sex or heterosexual couple.