Conservative Jews approve gay wedding guidelines

The Conservative branch of American Judaism has formally approved gay marriage ceremonies.

The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards decided the issue in a 13-0 vote Thursday with one abstention.

The panel of legal scholars developed two styles of ceremony that can be used as a guide for a rabbi marrying a same-sex couple. The committee also issued a guide to gay divorce.

Conservative Jews first signaled official acceptance of same-sex relationships in 2006 by lifting the ban on ordaining gays and lesbians.

Conservative Judaism adheres to tradition but allows some adaptation for modern circumstances. The more liberal Reform and Reconstructionist branches of American Judaism accept gay relationships. The stricter Orthodox Jewish movement opposes same-sex marriage.

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