June 26, 2015
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, Temple Emanu-El, Tucson, AZ
I must begin tonight by noting that things changed quite a bit in the United States during the last two weeks while we were on summer vacation. This week we learned that the US Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, has guaranteed gays and lesbians the right to marry everywhere in America, and to have all the benefits of married status. It has been a long struggle, and today a large majority of Americans strongly approve of this course. In effect, 37 states already have gay and lesbian marriage, including Arizona, so this measure impacts only 13 more states, but it is still a momentous and long-awaited change, and we are delighted. Now the law of the land now not only permits gay and lesbian marriage, but no doubt will further prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians in general. We know that in Judaism we are all created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, and this guarantees that here in America we are also all able to sanctify our marriages publicly and legally in the holiness of Kidushin. While I have long performed same-sex ceremonies, these now will have the status of legal marriages everywhere in United States, and that is something to celebrate.