Reform, Conservative Judaism tolerates gay marriage; Orthodox Jews still won’t perform ceremonies
Conservative Jews have joined the recent push to grant same-sex marriage rights, with some congregations embracing religious ceremonies for gays.
On Dec. 6, 2006, the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards voted to allow same-sex marriages within Conservative Judaism.
The move came after debating Leviticus 18:22 of the Torah for several years. The verse prohibits “a man to lie with another man as he would lie with a woman.”
However, same-sex marriage “is a contemporary reality that was not there 3,000 years ago,” said Rabbi Marc Soloway of the Congregation Bonai Shalom in Boulder.
Gay people were always welcomed into the Conservative Jewish community, Soloway said. Now, the traditional wedding liturgy is being reapplied to include same-sex marriages.
“It takes a much more egalitarian approach,” Soloway said.
All rabbis can create their own ceremony and liturgy. They must alter the liturgy more than replacing “man and woman” with “man and man” or “woman and woman,” said Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, who recently graduated from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.
Soloway and Naftalin-Kelman were not surprised that same-sex marriages were allowed. Some conservative rabbis have been performing such weddings for years. In fact, Soloway believes that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right for gays. Soloway said he thinks the prohibition on domestic partnerships is a form of discrimination.
“I believe in a full egalitarian society,” Naftalin-Kelman said. Naftalin-Kelman also said he would like to see Judaism influence other religions.
“I think that homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals in every aspect, including marriage,” said Erin Colvurn, who’s a 21 year-old junior psychology major at CU. “I thought a main problem was the religious aspect. If they can do it, why can’t others? I think it’s a step in the right direction.”
As for other Jewish denominations, Reform Jews also perform same-sex weddings, but Orthodox Jews do not.
Campus Press staff writer Gary Black can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org