Conservative Jews seek middle on gay issues

Balancing Reform and Orthodox positions
When it comes to questions of whether to ordain gay and lesbian rabbis and perform same-sex commitment ceremonies, Reform and Orthodox Jews know where their movements stand. Simply put, Reform Jews do both, Orthodox Jews do neither.

But the Conservative movement, full of nuances and complex legal processes, is not as easy to categorize. On paper, the movement forbids both the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis and the blessing of homosexual unions. Yet if a Conservative rabbi blesses a gay union, as some do, that rabbi does not face disciplinary action.

A prolonged debate over homosexuality among Conservative legal scholars is coming to a head. It is a vivid case of the movement’s ideological struggle between preserving traditional Jewish legal precedent and embracing modern morality.


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