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Chief Rabbi is wrong to denounce gay marriage: full letter

    It is a matter of great regret that Lord Sacks has chosen to make a statement in his official capacity opposing the right of gay and lesbian men and women to marry. Even if same-sex marriage is contrary to Jewish law, it does not compromise the position of Orthodox Jews to let others marry as they wish. Lord Sacks has sought to influence how the generality of the population leads its life.

    Further, and contrary to the submissions of the Beth Din, the change in the law will not force religious officers to officiate same-sex marriages against their wish. The law will apply only to secular ceremonies of marriage over which, by necessary definition, religious officers do not preside.

    Jewish law may prohibit same-sex relations and among those Jews who consider themselves bound by Jewish law it operates as a restraint on how they may otherwise live their lives. But Jewish law can play no part in a modern secular society in restricting the lives of non-Jews - and Jews - who do not accept its restraints. The proper response to the consultation should have been: it is not our proper business to comment. Speaking when silence is required is no virtue.

    Simone Abel
    Lisa Appignanesi
    Jeremy Brier
    Professor Josh Cohen
    Daniel Finkelstein
    Stephen Fry
    Eve Garrard
    Jonny Geller
    Professor Norman Geras
    Caren Gestetner
    Professor Simon Goldhill
    Richard Hermer QC
    Dr David Hirsh
    Julia Hobsbawm
    Anthony Julius
    James Libson
    Karen Mattison
    Lord Parry Mitchell
    The René Cassin Organisation
    Dr Felix Posen
    Dinah Rose QC
    Clive Sheldon QC
    Dina Shiloh
    Katy Showman
    David Toube
    Paul Usiskin

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