The Shmooze

In Albany, A Scuffle Over Marriage Equality

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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If you were to ask the question “Who is a Jew?” to some ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrating against marriage equality yesterday in the New York state capitol, their answer would definitively be “Not Sharon Kleinbaum.”

In a video made yesterday by The Times Union (the newspaper serving the Albany region) and posted today on the gay website Towleroad.com, the ultra-Orthodox protesters can be seen muscling the pro-marriage equality sign-toting lesbian senior rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (New York’s LGBT synagogue) out of a photo-op with State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. Diaz is a Pentecostal minister who strongly opposes marriage equality.

It appears that when Kleinbaum put her hand on the shoulder of one of the black-clad, bearded protesters, he jerked away and he and the man standing next to him began either spitting on her or cursing her. A moment later, a man can be heard shouting, “You’re not a Jew! You’re not a Jew!” to the rabbi and into the camera.

Kleinbaum has since issued the following statement about the incident:

Any objections to the Marriage Equality Bill now in Albany is bigotry cloaked in religious garb. Nothing more, nothing less. The First Amendment to our constitution protects religious freedom. No religion can be “coerced” into sanctifying same sex weddings if they religiously object. This Bill is about CIVIL LICENSES not about RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES. The Catholic Church does not recognize religious ceremonies for divorced people, but New York State does not allow the Catholic Church to outlaw all civil licenses for those who have been divorced. Those who use religion as a weapon against LGBT people are blaspheming God’s name.

Watch the Times Union Video:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sharon Kleinbaum, Gay Rights, Marriage Equality, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

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