Same-sex marriage and Judaism

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Same-sex marriage in Judaism has been a subject of debate within Jewish denominations. The traditional view among Jews is to regard same-sex relationships as categorically forbidden by the Torah. This remains the current view of Orthodox Judaism, but not of Reconstructionist Judaism, Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism, which started changing its position to same-sex unions in 2006.

Branches of Judaism[edit]

Orthodox Judaism[edit]

Orthodox Judaism maintains the traditional Jewish bans on both sexual acts and marriage amongst members of the same sex.[1] The Orthodox Union in the United States supported a federal Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.[2] In Australia, the Organisation of Rabbis Australasia (ORA) have made submissions and written public letters against legalising same-sex marriage.

Reform Judaism[edit]

The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) supports the inclusion of same-sex unions within the definition of marriage.[3]

Conservative Judaism[edit]

The American branch of Conservative Judaism formally approves of same-sex marriage ceremonies.[4] Some synagogues within Conservative Judaism still reject recognition of same-sex unions as marriages, but permit celebration of commitment ceremonies, in part as an expression of their belief that scripture requires monogamy of all sexually active couples.[5] The decision avoids applying the Jewish legal term for marriage, kiddushin, to the same-sex situation, as the term is gender-specific.[6]

Reconstructionist Judaism[edit]

The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation leaves the choice of whether or not to perform same-sex marriages to individual rabbis.[7]


  1. ^ Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Orthodox Response to Same-Sex Marriage, NY Jewish Week (Mar. 26, 2004) (visited January 20, 2008)
  2. ^ "OU Restates its Support for Federal Marriage Protection Amendment". Institute for Public Affairs. 2006-06-06. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  3. ^ Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Civil Marriage for Gay and Lesbian Jewish Couples (adopted by the General Assembly 1997) (visited January 20, 2008).
  4. ^ "Conservative Jews approve gay wedding guidelines". Associated Press. 2012-06-01. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  5. ^ Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, Homosexuality, Human Dignity, & Halakhah: A Combined Responsum for the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (approved by a majority of the Committee on Dec. 6, 2006) at (visited January 20, 2008)
  6. ^ Ben Sales, "Conservative rabbinic group issues guidelines for same-sex wedding rituals", JTA, June 4, 2012
  7. ^ "FAQ's on Reconstructionist Approaches to Jewish ideas and Practices". Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-17.