Contemporary American Reform Responsa
201. Homosexual Marriage*
May a rabbi officiate at the “marriage” of two homosexuals? (Rabbi L. Poller, Larchmont, NY)
ANSWER: The attitude of our tradition and of Reform Judaism toward homosexuals is clear. For a full discussion, see the responsa by S. B. Freehof and W. Jacob (American Reform Responsa, # 13, 14). The resolution of the Central Conference of American Rabbis on homosexuality deals exclusively with the civil rights and civil liberties of homosexuals and seeks to protect them from discrimination. It does not, however, understand it to be an alternative lifestyle which is religiously condoned.
Judaism places great emphasis on family, children and the future, which is assured by a family. However we may understand homosexuality, whether as an illness, as a genetically based dysfunction or as a sexual preference and lifestyle -we cannot accommodate the relationship of two homosexuals as a “marriage” within the context of Judaism, for none of the elements of qiddushin (sanctification) normally associated with marriage can be invoked for this relationship.
A rabbi can not, therefore, participate in the “marriage” of two homosexuals.
Please note: This responsa has been invalidated by CCAR’s Resolution on Gay and Lesbian Marriage from 1996, and this Responsa on Same-Sex Marriage as Kiddushin from 2014. This responsa remains available here for the purpose of historical reference, but is no longer representative of today’s CCAR and the Reform Movement.
If needed, please consult Abbreviations used in CCAR Responsa.