Talking to a Rabbi About Gay Marriage

The Governor of Hawaii is a Jewish woman, and pretty soon she is going to decide whether to veto a piece of legislation allowing civil unions for gay couples in her state. Presumably there are a lot of different factors involved in her decision making process, but among them, apparently, is asking two rabbis what they think. According to the Associated Press:

Krasnjansky, who heads the Orthodox community group Chabad of Hawaii, said the Torah teaches that homosexuality, and by extension same-sex marriage, “is not something that should be condoned or should be legalized,” he said.

But Schaktman, who leads the Reform Temple Emanu-El, insists Judaism teaches that all people regardless of sexual orientation are and should be treated as “children of God,” and thus should not face discrimination.

“Civil unions are a legal arrangement,” he said. “Therefore, anyone who uses religion to oppose civil unions is purely using religion to further homophobia.”

Why did the Governor, Linda Lingle, consult with the rabbis? Because: Earlier this month, she described how divided Hawaii and its small Jewish community are on the issue, citing as an example the two rabbis she knows personally.

I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I love that she isn’t consulting one rabbi and one imam, as if to say, “Hey, one rabbi is all I need to get the Jewish perspective, and one local imam can totally stand in for 1 billion Muslims.” On the other hand, isn’t it supposed to be a matter of law, and not a matter of how Gov. Lingle reads her


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