Race to hold first same-sex wedding is on

By Rosa Doherty, December 12, 2013
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Liberal and Reform synagogues are lining up to hold the first same-sex Jewish wedding ceremony.

The government announced on Tuesday that, under new legislation, same-sex marriage services would take place in England and Wales from March 29, rather than from the summer as had been expected.

As the news was released, Liberal Judaism snapped into action, calling for couples intending to marry to get in touch.

An email, headed “Liberal Judaism begins search for first same sex Jewish marriage couple”, was dispatched, hot on the heels of the government’s announcement.

Sent by the movement’s spokesperson Alexandra Ben-Yehuda, it requested: “If you’re in a loving and committed same-sex Jewish couple and would like to tie the knot under our chupah, please contact alexandra@liberal Judaism.org.”

She later told the JC: “We would be absolutely delighted if a suitable couple came forward.”

Meanwhile, Reform rabbi David Mitchell, of the West London Synagogue, expressed his desire to host a ceremony.

“We look forward to offering a number of our members same-sex Jewish weddings.”

The fact that March 29 is a Shabbat would not be an issue, he insisted, promising weddings “when Shabbat goes out, and going forward for the rest of the week”.

He added: “It is too soon to announce what we have booked, but we will be taking bookings from that evening.”

Rabbi Mitchell did raise an eyebrow at the government’s timing, however.

“We were slightly surprised it falls then, but we can get around it. It is still great news,” he said.

And he revealed that he and his partner were eager to be one of the first couples to wed under the new law.

Last updated: 5:45pm, December 12 2013