Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Conservative Judaism likely to soon approve ordination of gay rabbis and same-sex marriage

Conservative Judaism is likely to sanction ordination of gay rabbis and same-sex marriage. The proposals would overturn the movement’s 1992 statement upholding the ban on ordination and gay marriage. According to the Forward,
The ordination of gay rabbis and the sanctioning of same-sex marriage
within Conservative Judaism is near certain, according to movement leaders who
spoke at a meeting in New York on Thursday night.

Organized by the movement’s congregational arm, the United
Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the gathering offered a preview of the
halachic opinions on homosexuality that are likely to be approved at a December
meeting of the movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. The purpose of the Thursday gathering, said the United Synagogue’s executive vice president,
Rabbi Jerome Epstein, was to help congregations begin to prepare for the “day
after” the rulings are handed down.

In December, the law committee “might accept — will accept, I think
— two or more of the papers [currently under consideration]: one that affirms
the current state of affairs, and one, at least, that liberalizes it,” Epstein
told the audience. The movement has room enough for congregations differing in
their treatment of homosexuality, he said, adding that, even if the movement
adopts a more liberal position, individual communities will have final say over
what course to pursue.

For several years, the law committee has been actively reconsidering its 1992 consensus statement on homosexuality, which upheld a ban on gay marriage and ordination. This past March, four opinions — two on each side of the issue — were submitted to the committee for review, and the final vote was scheduled for December.


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