Voting no

With 1,000-some “friends” on facebook, most days when I log in, I see that someone has gotten engaged or married. While I am happy for these couples, truly, something about this is also really sad to me.

It’s not just that I am unsure when that day will come for me, it’s that I’m unsure if it can – legally. Couples I know have discussed where they plan to marry, they grew up in different states and have to decide – they can decide. This is a privilege.

In a few days my home state will vote on marriage equality. Minnesotans will vote on a civil right, my civil right, the freedom to marry. The vote is not about the religious institution of marriage but marriage can certainly be a religious institution. Religion is often how marriage is framed; for me, I’ve dreamed of being married in a synagogue all my life – so, yes, marriage is religious.

There are so many right wing Christians speaking out about the Minnesota marriage amendment that it’s sometimes easy, as a Jew to feel superior, or at least comforted. My people don’t get that crazy. Except, they do. A rabbi from New York stated this week that Hurricane Sandy is punishment for gay marriage being legal in New York.

Well, rabbi – while you may wish for me to think that a few phrases in Leviticus (18:22, 20:13) forbid same-sex marriage, I know that in reality, classic rabbinic texts do not address same-sex marriage at all.  Being one of the few kids who actually paid attention during Hebrew school, I know Judaism says that all human beings are created b’tselem Elohim, in G-d’s image. Deuteronomy teaches tzedek, tzedek tirdof, justice, justice shall you pursue. And, time and time again, the Torah commands us not to oppress the stranger, because we were strangers in the land of Egypt and we know the heart of the stranger.

Opponents of marriage equality base their opposition on two sentences from the holiest document of the Jewish faith; it seems to me that Jews should have something to say about this! In reality, Jewish values obligate us. We are challenged to work for the betterment and perfection of this world and for me, voting no is one small step to doing just that. Join me on Tuesday.