Conservative Rabbis Issue Gay-Friendly Ruling
Posted on Dec 6, 2006
A panel of Conservative rabbis has approved a relatively gay-friendly interpretation of Jewish law, paving the way for ordinations of gays and same-sex commitment ceremonies.
A panel of rabbis opened the way Wednesday to allow same-sex commitment ceremonies and the ordination of gays within Conservative Judaism, which occupies a difficult middle ground between orthodoxy and liberalism in American Judaism.
The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards committee accepted three teshuvot, or answers, to the question of whether Jewish law permits homosexual sex. Two of the answers uphold the status quo, which forbids homosexuality. But one of them allows ordination of gay men and lesbians and same-sex ceremonies while maintaining a ban on anal sex.
Four of the committee’s 25 members resigned in protest of the decision.
It takes the votes of just six of the panel’s 25 members to declare an answer to be valid—meaning that it is a well-founded interpretation of Jewish law, not that it is the only legitimate interpretation. As Wednesday’s vote made clear, it is possible to approve contradictory answers.