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Rabbinic Scion Clinches Same-Sex Marriage

With religious exemptions in place, N.Y. state Sen. Saland voted his conscience

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A celebration Friday night in front of the historic Stonewall bar.(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Just before 10 p.m. on Friday, state Sen. Stephen Saland, a Republican, told the Associated Press he would supply the decisive 32nd vote to allow same-sex marriages in New York. “My vote is a vote of conscience,” he said. “I am doing the right thing in voting to support marriage equality.” Close Albany-watchers were tipped off, however, that Saland, 67, a Conservative Jew, would reverse his position on marriage from 2009, when he voted against a similar bill: His wife, Linda, was already in the gallery, and as one person told the New York Daily News, “She wasn’t coming to watch her husband vote no.”

In the weeks leading up to the vote, Saland was heavily lobbied by the Agudath Israel, an ultra-Orthodox advocacy group, which appealed to Saland’s family tree—he is a relation of Shmuel Salant, the powerful late-19th-century chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Jerusalem—to sway him. But people familiar with the lobbying effort told Tablet Magazine in its final days that the group was less concerned with blocking the legislation than with making sure that if it passed, it would provide sufficient exemptions for religious groups opposed to same-sex marriage. (On Saturday, the Anti-Defamation League applauded both the exemptions and the legalization of same-sex marriage.)

Those exemptions were enacted before the dramatic vote, in no small part thanks to Saland’s quiet negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Thus, late Friday night, Saland was able to tell the Senate, the public, and his wife that he was voting according to what he learned in his Jewish household. “My parents taught us to be respectful, tolerant, and accepting of others, and to do the right thing,” Saland explained in his floor speech. “I must define doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality in the definition of law as it pertains to marriage. To do otherwise would fly in the face of my upbringing.”

Saland: Decision ‘Rooted in My Upbringing’ [Poughkeepsie Journal]
All Eyes Were on State Sen. Stephen Saland’s Wife [NY Daily News]
NY Gay Marriages Can Begin As Early As End of July [AP/Yahoo]
Religious Exemptions Were Key to Vote on Gay Marriage [NYT]
Behind N.Y. Gay Marriage, an Unlikely Mix of Forces [NYT]
Related: Destination Wedding
Earlier: Jewish Lawmaker Holds Key to N.Y. Marriage Bill

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kenneth says:

Don’t this man read the torah. Same is so wrong .be ashamed to be afraid of the Lords judgment.

Henry Julius says:

Torah, New Testament, Koran, whatever. America is not a theocracy. This is a libertarian issue and Saland made the right choice. The law allows two consenting adults equal rights regardless of sexuality. And the section saying religious institutions are not compelled to allow gay wedding ceremonies is correct as well. Houses of Worship turn down weddings all the time for various reasons, as is their right. They are in essence private institutions. Same with ministers, who do want to marry couples for a host of reasons. But if my rabbi says fine, then great! Off to the synagogue I go. And if I want to be married in Central Park, given I pay all the proper fees and get all the right permits, well,it’s a public space.

Again, this is not a legal religious issue. No one is being told not to worship as they please. You are free to disagree with a wide gamut of ideas based on religious beliefs; you are not free to create laws for the entire public which are grounded in religious belief.

We are a free society, not a theocracy. Hence, we’re free to disagree but not given right to discriminate based on scriptures

is he a scion-ist?

Yosef says:

There must of been hundreds of Jews at Stonewall on Friday night, including dozens wearing kippot. Many had just come from Pride Shabbat services at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. There was hora dancing and niggunim being sung.

every thing is possible.
wedding in israel

Mike Forde says:

On Saturday, the Anti-Defamation League applauded both the exemptions and the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Because goys disobeying God, well, its good for the Jews!

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Rabbinic Scion Clinches Same-Sex Marriage

With religious exemptions in place, N.Y. state Sen. Saland voted his conscience

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