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Conservative rabbis approve same-sex marriage ceremonies

JTA

June 1, 2012 | 8:28 am

The Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards—which sets halachic policy for the Conservative movement—has voted unanimously to provide the approximately 1,600 Conservative rabbis with guidelines on performing same-sex marriages.

The move is an official sanction of the ceremonies by the movement.

The CLJS approved the documents Thursday by a 13-0 vote with one abstaining ballot. For years, the Conservative movement has debated how to approach same-sex unions. Traditionalists often opposed such relationships while urging respect as progressives—particularly some rabbinical students—pushed for full equality.

In 2006, the CLJS officially sanctioned gay relationships. At the time, it stressed that rabbis were not obligated to perform such ceremonies, but could do so and not be violating RA standards.

Rabbis Daniel Nevins, Avram Reisner and Elliot Dorff created the new ritual guidelines. They offer two types of gay weddings, as well as gay divorce.

“Both versions are egalitarian,” Nevins told the Forward. “They differ mostly in style—one hews closely to the traditional wedding ceremony while the other departs from it.”

The templates do not include kiddushin, the ceremony in which the groom presents his bride with a ring. However, they do detail a ring exchange that is based on Jewish partnership law, an established halachic concept, Nevins told the Forward.

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