Hosted by Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, JewsOnFirst.org, January 30, 2009
Dr. Elliot Dorff is a Conservative rabbi and Rector and Sol and Anne Dorff Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy at the American Jewish University. He has a Ph.D. from Columbia University in philosophy and is the author of over 150 articles and numerous books, most recently For the Love of God and People: A Philosophy of Jewish Law. In our conversation Dorff said that the state should limit itself to civil arrangements:
The state should get out of the marriage business altogether. The state should have domestic partnerships or civil union arrangements. The interests of the state would be served by civil arrangements. That would leave individual religious bodies to decide the marriage issue … [and] would be real religious freedom.
Dorff also spoke of Proposition 8's impact on gay and lesbian teenagers.
We have very good evidence that the discrimination against gays and lesbians comes with very great costs among gay teenagers in terms of higher suicide rates, higher smoking rates, depression rates. This is a result of the kind of discrimination that society has imposed on gays and lesbians. Leaving the Supreme Court's initial decision alone would have been an indication that the discrimination against gays and lesbians was diminishing and the society was taking steps to recognize them as full and equal members of society.