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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Brian's comments on gay marriage

I assisted Brian Paddick's campaign for selection as the Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate for 2012. I am very proud of how well he did in the actual mayoral election campaign, as I saw him speak to one audience that left the meeting feeling more positive about the Lib Dems than they did at the start, which is a key test for any candidate. I was moved by his references to his husband and to gay marriage in his concession speech last night. I do not see how I would have the right to deny Brian and his partner the opportunity and the right to get married and to call it marriage. My own parents had a civil wedding, ie they got married in a registry office, and that was in 1965. Why should gay men and women not be able to do the same thing? Why should their civil marriages not be allowed to be called civil marriages - why should they be required to call them "civil partnerships"? As for the religious element, what business is it of mine (as an agnostic) if a vicar, rabbi, etc, chooses to officiate at a gay wedding ceremony? Nobody is obliging any particular vicar, rabbi, etc, to do such a thing if s/he doesn't want to. Some religious conservatives think that, among Christians and Jews, support for gay marriage is a fringe phenomenon; this piece (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17796511) suggests that such conservatives should think again, regarding Christian views on this. In my own Jewish community, it is true (in institutional terms) that Orthodox Judaism does not recognise non-Orthodox Judaism as being a normative expression of Judaism. In secular terms, however, Reform and Liberal Judaism are considered to be well within the mainstream of the Anglo-Jewish community. And both Reform (http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/64775/reform-backs-gay-marriage) and Liberal Judaism (http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/49807/liberals-celebrate-a-same-sex-wedding) support marriage equality, while this (http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/comment/57301/why-gay-sex-not-immoral) is an interesting piece by one Masorti rabbi. Even within Orthodoxy, the debate on this issue (http://www.thejc.com/judaism/judaism-features/63314/the-gay-dilemma-confronts-orthodoxy) is more complicated than might have been expected.

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