DE­MEAN­ING DE­BATE

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment -

Ge­of­frey Al­der­man’s ar­ti­cle (We don’t want ‘equal mar­riage’, March 23) made me ques­tion just how far Jews and gays and les­bians have come in the post-war era. The an­swer? Not as far as we thought.

What the gov­ern­ment is propos­ing is not equal mar­riage but equal civil mar­riage. Although the Lib­eral Syn­a­gogue per­forms cer­e­monies for les­bian and gay cou­ples, the full chup­pah ser­vice will re­main as it is, only avail­able to het­ero­sex­ual cou­ples. It is un­likely that the United Syn­a­gogue and sim­i­lar tra­di­tions would per­mit a re­li­gious ser­vice for gay and les­bian cou­ples even if Bri­tish law did recog­nise this, and, at present the chief rabbi has not yet stated his view. Per­haps he will if the gov­ern­ment presents a bill be­fore he leaves of­fice. Or per­haps, as his coun­ter­part Arch­bishop Wil­liams has found, si­lence on this mat­ter may be the best pol­icy.

The ex­am­ples Al­der­man states are ei­ther a bad joke or sar­casm. His ar­gu­ments de­means mar­riage, whether gay or straight. The grant­ing of a right you cher­ish to some­one you don’t ap­prove of is the fun­da­men­tal ba­sis for liv­ing in a demo­cratic coun­try. If Al­der­man could pro­vide one ex­am­ple of where gay mar­riage has led to in­ces­tu­ous mar­riage per­haps he could back up his ar­gu­ment. Jonathan Fraser j13fraser@hot­mail.com

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