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July 04, 2013 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-07-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Tuesday, July 9th - Saturday, July

at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield.
The event, which was attended by
more than 200 guests and officiated
by the entire clergy staff, had all the
trappings of a traditional Jewish wed-
ding, including a ketubah (Jewish
marriage contract).
"I attended, but I could not walk
down the aisle said Grossman. As a
Conservative Jew, it was hard for me to
accept at the time:'
Ross and Alan, who live in
Farmington Hills, were subsequently
married in New York, where same-
sex marriage is legal, although their
union is not recognized here. Today
Grossman wholeheartedly accepts her
son and his husband, whom she jok-
ingly calls her "son-un-law:'
"I'm 13 years older and wiser now,"
said Grossman. "I've come a long way.
I'm delighted they have each other.
Everyone should have someone they
love and who loves them:'
Kutinsky said the climate has
changed significantly since he and
Neumann became a couple more than
20 years ago.
At first, people didn't even know
how to invite both of us to a wedding;
now we are welcomed into the com-
munity with open arms," he said, add-
ing that having kids has had a positive
effect on the attitudes of others. "Once
you have children, people realize we're
not so different anymore. We all want
the same things:'

Religious Reaction

Representatives of the Reform move-
ment, which has long supported gay
rights and same-sex marriage, praised
the Supreme Court for its rulings.
An excerpt from a statement by the
Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the New
York-based umbrella organization for
Conservative rabbis, said, "... Judaism
views marriage as a sacred responsi-
bility, not only between the partners,
but also between the couple and the
larger community. Our movement
recognizes and celebrates marriages,
whether between partners of the same
sex or the opposite sex. We therefore
celebrate today's decisions on gay mar-
riage by the Supreme Court:'
Rabbi Aaron Bergman of Adat
Shalom Synagogue in Farmington
Hills, a Conservative congregation,
reinforced the RAs response.
"The Declaration of Independence
means all people are created equal,"
Bergman said. "This is a step in the
right direction. It's in the government's
best interests to create stable families:'
Not all members of the Jewish com-
munity celebrated the court actions.
The New York-based Orthodox
Agudath Israel of America said the

court's decision "grievously insulted"
the sanctity of marriage, which they
define as the union of a man and a
woman.
In a statement by the New York-
based Union of Orthodox Jewish
Congregations of America (OU), the
organization affirmed its opposition to
same-sex marriage while emphasizing
the need to respect all views:
... we reiterate the historical posi-
tion of the Jewish faith, enunciated
unequivocally in our Bible, Talmud
and Codes, which forbids homosexual
relationships and condemns the insti-
tutionalization of such relationships
as marriages. Our religion is emphatic
in defining marriage as a relation-
ship between a man and a woman.
Our beliefs in this regard are unalter-
able. At the same time, we note that
Judaism teaches respect for others and
we condemn discrimination against
individuals:'
Kutinsky and Neumann's children,
who were conceived using Neumann's
sperm and Kutinsky's sister's eggs,
were born and adopted in Illinois,
which has more liberal adoption and
surrogacy laws than Michigan.
"A lot of effort went into making
this family," he said. "We both really
wanted to be parents:'
Kutinsky and Neumann say they
would definitely get married if same-
sex unions are legalized in Michigan.
"We are excited; we're very excited,"
said Jewish Gay Network of Michigan
President Michael Phillips. "Now we're
trying to figure out what we can do
next to make positive changes and
keep the momentum going:'
Legislators and gay rights activists
agree that it remains to be seen how
the Supreme Court decisions will
affect individual states.
In a recent lawsuit brought by sev-
eral same-sex couples, U. S. District
Judge David Lawson for the Eastern
District of Michigan issued a pre-
liminary injunction against a state
law barring public employers from
providing benefits to individuals who
live with, but are not related to, an
employee.
"The state constitution is the final
word in Michigan, until it is chal-
lenged," Lipton said. "Do I expect that
to happen? Probably:'
For many same-sex couples and
their families, further legislative
changes, especially in Michigan, are
long overdue.
"I don't understand the fuss," said
Grossman. "I wish Michigan would
accept it (same-sex marriage); it only
helps to create better families. How
can you deny people the right to have
a normal family life?"



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