Conservatives Say Yes to Gay Rabbis

On December 6th, 2006, the Conservative Committee on Jewish Law and Standards voted to permit the ordination of openly gay and lesbian rabbinical students. The Committee accepted two very different halakhic interpretations, with rabbis Elliot DorffDaniel Nevins and Avram Reisner arguing for “the full normalization of the status of gay and lesbian Jews,” according to a statement released by the Jewish Theological Seminary. Because the traditional ban was also upheld, congregational rabbis and the movement’s multiple seminaries lave the right to choose which rulings they wish to follow. Although even the more liberal ruling upheld the ban on male homosexual intercourse, and the gathering did not discuss gay “marriage,” nonetheless the December vote is viewed as a major shift for the Conservative movement.