Britain's Chief Rabbi Opposes Gay Marriage

Jonathan Sacks Stakes Out Position in Submission to Home Office

By Simi Lampert

Published June 19, 2012.
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Britain’s Chief Rabbi has reportedly announced his opposition to gay marriage.

Rabbi Jonathan Sachs
getty images
Rabbi Jonathan Sachs

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks made the pronouncement in a submission to the British Home Office, the jc.org web site reported. It came a month after Out4marriage, a gay rights campaign, began pressuring all members of the House of Lords to proclaim their stance on gay marriage.

British same-sex couples can currently hold civil partnership ceremonies, and the British government is proposing offering civil marriage as well.

The Reform and Liberal movements have taken up the cause in favor of the law, Sacks avoided making any public statements until today.

The Chief Rabbi’s court, the London Beth Din, and the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue have now stated that same-sex unions—both partnerships and marriages—are “against Jewish Law.”

Sachs told the Home Office that “any attempt to redefine this sacred institution would be to undermine the concept of marriage.”

Additionally, the document includes the point that should the law change to allow for civil marriages, it would be expected to include the possibility of religious marriages for same-sex couples. Otherwise, the law would “be subject to challenge to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds of discrimination.”


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