Reform backs gay marriage

Reform Jews denounce Cardinal O'Brien's attack on gay marriage law

By Simon Rocker, March 8, 2012
Two gay Jewish women under a Beverley Hills chuppah in 2008

Two gay Jewish women under a Beverley Hills chuppah in 2008

The Reform movement has branded as "inflammatory" an attack on same-sex marriage by one of Britain's leading Catholic clerics.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, described plans to legalise gay marriage as "madness" and a "grotesque subvesion".

But Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, movement rabbi for Reform Judaism, said that the cardinal's comments were "inflammatory and incitement to homophobia which can have grave consequences".

Reform welcomed the proposed legislation, she said. "A recognition of equality of marriage for homosexuals as well as heterosexuals can only strengthen society and the institution of marriage."

Rabbi Colin Eimer, who chaired a working party on the issue for the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK, said: "Religious ceremonies exist in Jewish life for heterosexual couples to express their love, commitment, values and ideals. We believe that homosexual couples should have that same opportunity for a religious ceremony within the sanctity of Jewish community, tradition and practice."

Chief Rabbi was 'not ready to comment on the matter'

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, co-chair of Liberal Judaism's Rabbinic Conference, said that he was "delighted that the Movement for Reform Judaism have now publicly come round to our view and decided to join Liberal Judaism, the Quakers and the Unitarians in pushing for full marriage equality.

"We look forward to welcoming them into a group of progressive religions that will try to help the government to form policy that reflects the reality of the vast majority of our society."

In 2005 Liberal Judaism became the first religious movement in the UK to publish official liturgy for same-sex commitment ceremonies. It has always been our long term aim to do everything within our power to make marriage equal for all people, both gay and straight.," Rabbi Goldstein said.

But Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks would "not be making any comment on this issue", his office said.

Last updated: 1:32pm, March 8 2012