Times: Rabbis Mull Over Gay Weddings

The Times' Joseph Berger has summarized brilliantly and with great judgement the state of the question for Conservative rabbis who are mulling over the issue of whether to perform weddings between two gay persons. Here is part:
...All but several Orthodox rabbis, from Modern to Hasidic, oppose same-sex marriage largely because of the explicit ban against homosexual sex in Leviticus and would never officiate at a Jewish wedding ceremony, while most, but not all, Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis will do so.

The Reform movement and the Reconstructionist movement, an outgrowth of Conservative Judaism, have allowed or encouraged rabbis to officiate at same-sex ceremonies since 1993. A Reconstructionist manual offers suggestions on how to perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples, and the Reform rabbinate provides a listing of possible vows.

The Conservative movement’s committee on Jewish law and standards struggled with the issue and in December 2006 came up with two advisory — but not compulsory — rulings that, with classic Talmudic paradox, seemed to contradict each other. One ruling, by Rabbi Joel Roth, said rabbis “will not perform commitment ceremonies for gays and lesbians”; the second, by Rabbis Daniel Nevins, Elliot Dorff and Avram Reisner, said that “stable, committed, Jewish relationships” were necessary for gay and straight people alike and should be celebrated.

The latter opinion, however, fell short of explicitly authorizing an authentic Jewish wedding for same-sex marriages.

But the movement, which believes that Jews must conserve traditions yet also holds that laws must evolve to meet the shifting realities of modern life, has long given individual rabbis in its 700 congregations in North America the authority to make many decisions for their communities under a privilege known as mara d’atra — authority for a place...more...

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