Chief Rabbi voices opposition to gay marriage (UK)

Telegraph 25 June 2012
Changing the law to allow same-sex marriage would undermine a “sacred institution” recognized since “time immemorial”, according to the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks. In his only public statement on the subject he warned that any attempt to exempt religious groups from performing homosexual weddings would be likely to be challenged at the European Court of Human Rights. Lord Sacks, who is preparing to retire next year, has consistently declined to be drawn into the debate about the Government’s plans to allow same-sex couples to have civil weddings. A clutch of traditional rabbis have spoken against the Government’s plans while liberal branches of Judaism in Britain have given their support. But now a formal submission to the Government’s consultation process from the London Beth Din – the Chief Rabbi’s court, which adjudicates on legal matters – has reiterated traditional orthodox teaching that homosexuality is against Jewish law. “Marriage by definition in Jewish (Biblical) Law, is the union of a male and female,” it asserts. “While Judaism teaches respect for others and condemns all types of discrimination, we oppose a change in the definition of marriage that includes same-sex relationships.” It continues: “Our understanding of marriage from time immemorial has been that of a union between a man and a woman. “Any attempt to redefine this sacred institution would be to undermine the concept of marriage.”

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