Jewish groups split on gay marriage vote


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Orthodox leaders commended and Reform leaders condemned the New York State Senate’s vote to defeat a measure legalizing same-sex marriage.

Agudath Israel of America and the Orthodox Union lauded Wednesday’s 38-24 vote against the bill.

"While we must always respect all individuals as created b’tzelem Elokim, in the image of G-d, Jewish teaching clearly opposes homosexual conduct and the legal recognition of such relationships as being akin to traditional marriage," the Orthodox Union said in a statement. The OU also said it must "respectfully repudiate those who misquote or misappropriate Jewish law or thought in support of this legislation."

Agudah noted the work its members did in advocating against the measure.

"When our community comes together to respond to challenges, good things happen," said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel, the group’s executive vice president.

New York Reform leaders were disheartened by the vote.

"This backward step is a deeply disappointing delay on the road to equality, and a vote that is on the wrong side of history," said Rabbi Marc Gruber and Honey Heller, co-chairs of the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State, in a statement.

"We know well that civil marriage can exist in harmony with respect for a diversity of religious beliefs on the issue of same-sex marriage," they said. "Although the Reform Movement celebrates and supports the religious sanctification of same-sex marriages, we respect the view of those faith traditions that hold differing views on this issue. That is why it is essential that civil marriage laws are not rooted in theology, but in the principle of equal rights.

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