Rebuttal to the plea: “Justice, justice we will pursue and make history” by Rabbi Zari Weiss (Rabbi’s Turn, May 11).
With all deference not to offend the rabbi, Washington State has same-sex partnership laws that contain over 170 rights and responsibilities in its provisions for civil union partnerships, which address discrimination and other civil rights concerns of same-sex domestic partnerships. These statutes form a body of legal remedy almost indistinguishable from the legal bases of civil marriage.
After 2008’s expanded domestic partnership law took effect, some of the domestic partner’s benefits and responsibilities included visitation, healthcare decision-making and information-access rights, as well as administration rights and veterans benefits.
Post-Referendum 71 in 2009, under state law domestic partners are treated the same as married spouses. Some of the more notable changes include rights to injured partners’ wages and benefits, unpaid wages upon the death of a partner, and access to unemployment, disability insurance, and workers’ compensation coverage.
Her arguments that all people deserve to be treated equally advances the notion that since God created man and women as equals, then they are interchangeable in every way such that a traditional family unit of a mother and father is equivalent to a same-sex couple. This is a radical departure from millennia of Jewish thought and law, in which marriage is between the parental ideal of a man and women sealed under the chuppah as a covenant with God and the family of Israel as witness.
One might ask, so what would be the difference if marriage can be between a same-sex domestic couple? And the answer may surprise you — since if there is no special relationship in a marriage, then what is to prevent someone wanting to marry his daughter, his mother or his son?
There isn’t an injustice of marriage. Rabbis can, if they choose, perform the same ceremonies with same-sex domestic partners. They can’t call it “civil marriage.” Legislation was introduced on January 28, 2009 intended to provide “everything but marriage” to domestic partners. In terms of support for this position, 31 states have enacted legislation defining marriage as between a man and a woman.