Press Statement issued by SA Jewish OutLook
SA Jewish LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) Alliance
May 31, 2007
Jewish Outlook, an organization representing lesbian and gay people in the Jewish community welcomes the decision by the South African Union of Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ) to allow its rabbis, and lay marriage officers to marry same-sex couples in a full Jewish ceremony. Particularly important, was the decision that the status and recognition of lesbian and gay relationships would be equal in progressive communities to that of heterosexual couples and would be recognized as a full Jewish marriage or kiddushin.
David Bilchitz, chairperson of Jewish OutLook, welcomed the decision as "an important milestone on the road to the recognition that the Jewish community is diverse and needs to find place within it for the full and equal treatment of lesbian and gay Jews. Through this decision, the Progressive Jewish community has made an important statement that it provides a home to all those Jews who wish to reconcile their Jewishness with a belief in human rights and the values of the new South Africa".
He continued: "In light of the modern scientific understanding of homosexuality, it has become fundamentally unjust and un-Jewish to continue treating lesbian/gay loving relationships as second-class. The decision of the SAUPJ thus continues in the spirit of our great tradition to affirm the full humanity of all Jews in our communities".
The SAUPJ decision means that marriages for same-sex couples (of two Jewish partners) will be conducted in synagogues and the ceremonies will be largely equivalent to those of heterosexual couples.
Michael Smolinsky, Political Officer of Jewish OutLook stated: "This is a historic decision that fundamentally turns its back on the prejudice experienced by many lesbian and gay Jews in the Jewish community. The decision should challenge other religions and more traditional denominations such as Orthodox Judaism to transform their cruel and unjust stance towards lesbian and gay people into a position that conforms with the dignity and equality owing to all human beings irrespective of sexual orientation". – Issued by Jewish Outlook
US Conservative Judaism rules for same-sex unions, gay ordination