I was very pleased to read that United Church of Christ "acted courageously to declare freedom" when it passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage on Independence Day. According to the AP story, “The resolution calls on member churches of the liberal denomination's 1.3 million members to consider wedding policies "that do not discriminate against couples based on gender." It also asks churches to consider supporting legislation granting equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples and to work against laws banning gay marriage. The endorsement by the church's rule-making body Monday makes it the largest Christian denomination to endorse same-sex marriage. The vote is not binding on individual churches.”
It is about time Christian denominations wake up about this issue and act in a more God like and loving way. I hope this spurs on several other churches to take a similar stand. Two of the liberal Jewish movements, Reform and Reconstructionist, have supported it for years. (The Conservative movement can’t reach a consensus and the Orthodox movement sees it as an affront to moral values.)
In March 2000, the Jewish Reform movement adopted a resolution by an overwhelming vote stating, in part, that "the relationship of a Jewish, same gender couple is worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual." It does not compel any rabbi to officiate at such a ritual and it does not specify what ritual is appropriate for such a ceremony. Nonetheless, the historical and religious significance of this resolution is indisputable. For the first time in history, a major rabbinical body has affirmed the Jewish validity of committed, same gender relationships.
The Jewish Reconstructionist movement has also come out strongly in favor of same-sex marriages, both civil and religious, claiming that just as the love between heterosexuals is celebrated, "so too we celebrate the love between gay or lesbian Jews." Reconstructionist rabbis are not required to perform same-sex ceremonies, however most do.
Our wedding was performed by a straight rabbi in a large suburban synagogue. Seventy percent of the guests attending were straight. It was the same ceremony any other Jewish couple would receive. We just don’t have an official civil license that is recognized by the state. One of the reasons we decided to have a wedding without the legal recognition was to demonstrate that a commitment of Faith and Family was not reserved for the religious right or those of only conservative beliefs. Both our straight and gay friends have commented on beautiful the service was with our families so involved in it. The reception party was a breakthrough as well. No one had ever danced with so many other gay and straight couples on the same dance floor at the same time.