rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
[cross-posted to om_nom @ dreamwidth]

Heterosexual marriage damages traditional conservative values. You didn't know that? Well, take a look at the newest wisdom from Michael Steele.

Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday...

"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for," Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. "So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money."


Imagine the (presumably Republican) small business owner A. A's employee, B, marries an otherwise uninsured person of the opposite gender, C. In the present American health-care system (if it can be called a system!), A now has to insure C, so B's marriage is a burden on A's business. I fail to see how this situation is any different from the marriage of employee D and otherwise uninsured spouse E, when D and E happen to have matching XX or XY chromosome pairs. In both cases, marriage impoverishes the small business owner! Shocking! Wouldn't it be easier for A if no one got married at all?

You know what's even more shocking? Married couples sometimes produce children, and they too have to be insured by small business owner A. A's employees' procreation places an unwarranted burden on A, that good Republican business owner. By this logic, Republicans should be anti-childbirth! In fact, they should support all manner of birth control and abortion, because these things save small business owners money. Oh, wait, I forgot, Republicans are against abortion. Why not outlaw sex, extra- or intra-marital? Then no one will have to worry about poor A's insurance outlays.

Actually, I have a better idea. Why not let the American government provide us all with health insurance? Then A won't have to worry about it, and all of those heterosexuals and homosexuals and bisexuals can get married and have children without imperiling A's bottom line. Now, that supports good Republican values.
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
The news from the CJLS (the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, in charge of determining religious law for the rabbis of Judaism's Conservative Movement, in case you haven't been following along here) regarding same-sex marriages and ordination of gay and lesbian clergy is apparently no news. The committee asked the authors of the submitted opinions to revise their proposals; the issue will be treated again the next time the CJLS convenes in December.

ETA: The Forward has more details, including news of a recent change in the CJLS policies that requires 80% unanimity, instead of the more usual 24%, to approve legal opinions on "particularly momentous" issues (i.e., given the issues facing the Conservative Movement lately, gays, gays and gays!).

Edited again, on March 7, to add: Either the Forward article was unclear or I misread it. The New York Times article post-non-vote explains that only the most radical proposal on the table, which advocated a complete change (takanah) in Jewish law, would require an 80% vote to pass. The other three opinions only need the normal 24%.
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
(cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] one_in_a_minyan)

It's official and public: Next week, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS), the group of rabbis in charge of examining Jewish law on behalf of the centrist Conservative Movement of Judaism, is voting on same-sex marriage and ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis. All of the opinions have been written; there's nothing left for the CJLS to do but vote on which one (or more) of them to accept as binding halacha (law, sort of).

Pray with me that the committee makes its choice with wisdom and mercy. (I'm also praying that the committee legalizes both same-sex marriage and ordination of gay clergy*, but I recognize that even on Livejournal not everyone shares my political opinions.)

*Edit, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] naomichana: ...in a halachically viable manner...
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] one_in_a_minyan, (here, with fascinating discussions in the comments):

The Committee for Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS), which considers religious law for the centrist Conservative Movement of American Judaism, is meeting Tuesday for a formal reconsideration of its 1992 decisions prohibiting same-sex marriages and ordination of gay and lesbian (1) rabbis.

As a lesbian Conservative Jew, I have been watching what little bits of news emerged from the CJLS very closely. The 1992 decisions, which said that gay and lesbian congregants should be welcomed but refused to sanctify same-sex commitment ceremonies or to ordain gay and lesbian rabbis, were completely unsatisfying to just about everyone I've heard from. The several opinions all relied on dubious science to bolster their claims. I am not an expert on halacha (Jewish law) so I don't know whether the halachic arguments were any more convincing than the scientific arguments. (2) In any case, debate (often thoughtful and occasionally acrimonious) over the decisions has continued for the last fourteen years. About two years ago the CJLS chose to reopen discussion on homosexuality and Jewish law. Apparently (if we trust the Associated Press) the final discussion will be occurring this week. I don't quite know what this entails. Have the new responsa been written yet? Is the committee ready to vote? I would like very much to find out.

I pray that the committee finds a halachically valid solution that permits both some form of movement-recognized commitment ceremonies/marriages for same-sex couples and open ordination without reference to sexual orientation.

(1) The fate of bisexuals in the Conservative movement is not currently under discussion. Conservative Jewish leadership concludes that anyone who is attracted both to men and women could choose only to date/marry people of the opposite gender. I understand the position but I strongly disagree with it, for reasons I cannot articulate nearly as well as I would like.

(2)Summaries of all of the 1992 decisions, and links to the full decisions, are available here. Note that only items 1 through 5 on that list of decisions were officially approved as law.

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