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California Briefing / LOS ANGELES

Rabbi panel opposes gay marriage ban

September 27, 2008|Duke Helfand

Southern California's largest collection of rabbis voted overwhelmingly this week to oppose Proposition 8, the proposed amendment to the California Constitution that would define marriage as between only a man and a woman.

Leaders of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California -- with representatives from the Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements -- said they wanted to protect the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples.

"For many rabbis it speaks on a personal level in terms of people they deal with whose lives have been impacted over the issue," said Rabbi Stewart Vogel of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills and the board's president.

The board has more than 290 members. Roughly 120 took part in Wednesday's vote, the largest number of rabbis to weigh in on such an issue in recent memory.

Vogel said Friday that 93% of those who cast votes supported the resolution. Some voiced concern about the board wading into a political controversy given the diversity of its members' religious views.

Vogel said the resolution did not address the sanctity of gay marriage. Instead, it urged a no vote on Proposition 8 so that same-sex couples can continue to marry under civil law.

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