by Rabbi Mark Glickman
Last week’s Supreme Court decision affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry represents a great victory for us all – for our nation, for the Jewish people, for Congregation Har HaShem, and for all of us who uphold the equality and dignity of all human beings. I want to share a few thoughts with you about today’s historic events.
The decision represents a victory for America. Now, all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, can marry. Now, all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, can publically accept the responsibilities and legally benefit from the rights previously guaranteed only to those in opposite-sex relationships. Now, marriage can stand fully and proudly for universal human values – love, fidelity, commitment, and so much more.
The decision represents a victory for the Jewish people. Ever since this debate began, many opponents of same-sex marriage have turned to Jewish scripture to justify their views. They have singled out two brief statements in the Torah and argued that these indicate God’s abhorrence of homosexuality. Not only do they decontextualize and misread these passages, but they also ignore many of the Torah’s other 5,888 verses – verses calling for love, compassion, and dignity for all people. Now, the mistaken reading of our bible has been publically rejected by the highest court in our land – it is an event that we Jews should celebrate.
The decision represents a victory for Congregation Har HaShem. For decades- beginning with the courageous leadership of Rabbi Deborah Bronstein and Cantorial Soloist Holli Berman – our congregation has stood in favor of respect and inclusion for all people, regardless of sexual orientation. We have joyfully welcomed everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, into our congregation, and we have supported equal rights for LGBTQ individuals and couples. Our clergy have performed life cycle ceremonies for couples respecting the love and commitment they have for each other. We have provided advocacy and educational programs challenging our community to consider its position and reflect on Torah teachings. Many Americans have taken similar stands, of course, and we at Har HaShem, along with them, can claim a measure of credit for today’s historic events.
And of course, the decision represents a victory for human love, decency, and compassion throughout the United States, and it should make us all rejoice.
In short, my friends, this is a joyous day. Let us celebrate together.