Conservative Judaism working to make same-sex wedding ceremonies equal

According to the Israeli newspaper HaAretz, Conservative Judaism is working to come up with a same-sex marriage ceremony.

Note: Yes, same-sex marriage is performed in most branches of Judaism. Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Same-sex weddings are not performed in Israel, but neither are Reform weddings.

Here’s the debate that’s going on. Conservative Judaism wants the same-sex marriage ceremony to be as close to the traditional ceremony as possible. They argue that if the ceremony is different, then the marriage is different. If the marriage is different, then it isn’t kiddushin, or holy. Separate isn’t equal, they argue.

But in the traditional marriage ceremony as it’s existed since Biblical times, the husband is taking ownership of the wife. How would that work in a same-sex relationship? Who would buy whom? Would a dowry be paid?

So some who are coming up with the new ceremony want to update the vows to emphasize the loving relationship and partnership and support the couple gives each other.

Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism have already updated their vows. Husbands don’t generally buy wives in Reform synagogues.

And here’s where Maggie Gallagher, the American Family Association and all their right-wing buddies are completely right. Same-sex marriage is destroying traditional marriage as it’s existed since Biblical times.

In Judaism, rabbis are looking at those traditional marriage vows and throwing them out. Women don’t want to be purchased and men don’t want to own them and rabbis don’t want to be involved in transferring property rights.

But the Conservative Movement is right that the same-sex wedding ceremony needs to be as close to the opposite-sex wedding ceremony because separate isn’t equal. In the end, the Conservative wedding for opposite sex couples will change to reflect the equality of a same-sex marriage.

So once again, gays and lesbians are making the world a better place and to heterosexuals, we say, you’re welcome.

—  David Taffet