Chief Rabbi abstains in House of Lords equal marriage vote

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The Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, abstained in last night’s House of Lords vote of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Speaking to the broadcaster and journalist Sir David Frost last month, Lord Sacks, rejected a suggestion that he had “come out strongly” against same-sex unions.

He said: “I’ve not come out strongly, I’ve simply said that in Judaism we don’t do it.”

Last year, in its official response to the government’s consultation on equal marriage for England and Wales, the office of the Chief Rabbi stated that Jewish Law prohibited “the practice of homosexuality,” and it argued against all same-sex unions, and same-sex marriages.

The Movement for Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism officially support equal marriage.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed its second reading in the Lords with a majority of 242 on Tuesday evening.

A ‘wrecking’ amendment by Lord Dear, a former chief constable, was defeated by 390 votes to 148.

The bill will now go forward for more detailed scrutiny by peers.

The Minister for Faith and Communities, Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, abstained in the vote.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, voted in favour of Lord Dear’s ‘fatal’ amendment, along with his predecessor, Lord Carey.