A Message from Rabbi Allen on this Historic Day in Minnesota

(originally sent out on May 8th to our members who identify as GLBT)

Tomorrow (i.e., today) is a truly historic day for all of us as Minnesotans, and especially for each of you who have had to endure years of living with the sense that your love of another was somehow “unequal” to the love that two heterosexual folks might share. I want to take a moment and just say that I am hopeful that with this vote, the state of Minnesota will begin to create a type of society in ways that we have built our community over these past many years. I told a couple some 18 years ago that I was willing to work with them on a “Commitment Ceremony” (Simhat brit shutafot”) but was not yet able to call it marriage. I told them at the time that a generation would need to pass, enabling all to see that indeed their relationship was as sacred as my own is with Phyllis. And I said, if they were willing to be the pioneers and to (sadly have to) demonstrate that, the day would indeed come to pass that we would be celebrating the equalization of marriage.

Six and half years ago, members of the Conservative community gathered at Bnai Emet to address the Teshuva which permitted JTS to admit and ordain folks for the rabbinate who might also be gay or lesbian. I said in introducing the gathering the following: (In regards to the women previously referenced) “I salute these women, and indeed the other courageous and brave Jews who were willing to demonstrate that none of us are defined by a single variable and whose identification with traditional Judaism in Conservative shuls throughout this country meant that they were willing to live with the indeterminate, to live with the unresolved and the yet to live with their own sense of dignity in the face of what could only otherwise be called rejection. Thank-you.”

This past September, as I officiated at the marriage of two women, I knew that not only was our path correct–but that it was only a matter of time before the rest of Minnesota would catch  up with Beth Jacob. I want to sincerely say to each of you how much you have taught all of us about human dignity and the need to continually broaden our understanding of equality. The Psalmist said it this way–“This is the day which the Lord has made, let rejoice and celebrate on it”  Today is yet another day of celebration, and indeed, moving forward we all share in the burden of building an inclusive society and strengthening a community that has worked hard to demonstrate that human dignity, that the idea of kvod habriyot, is at the core of our being.

By the way, please contact us to schedule any weddings you might wish to celebrate!

B’Sasson u’v’Simcha,
Rabbi Morris J. Allen