Couples of all genders still want to get married under Jewish law in front of their families, friends and loved ones. In a city such as Los Angeles, with its wide range of diverse congregations, finding an officiant and creating the ceremony is becoming much easier.
In 2012, Rabbi Adam Kligfeld, senior rabbi at Temple Beth Am, married two Orthodox Jews. Recounting the experience in Variety this summer in the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, Kligfeld wrote: “I married them because their rabbi wouldn’t. Their rabbi couldn’t even be asked; he didn’t even know it was taking place. That’s because Orthodox rabbis don’t marry two men, and some Conservative rabbis don’t.”
Kligfeld, on the other hand, announced himself as “a traditional Conservative rabbi who has and will officiate at same-sex weddings … to welcome others out of the closet into our community, into a Jewish life that has a place for them.” He still remembers the wedding itself, saying it contained overflowing joy for a couple for whom Judaism is central and sacred.
“The opening blessing was changed to reflect the gender and situation. There was a ketubah. They stood under the chuppah and they broke the glass,” Kligfeld said. “It passed the smell test. It looked and smelled very much like a Jewish wedding, and that was very gratifying to me.”
Views on same-sex marriage have come a long way in the years leading up to the Supreme Court’s June vote legalizing same-sex marriage, although consensus remains elusive. Orthodox tradition does not recognize such unions, while Reform and Conservative branches have been quicker to embrace them.