The big news in the United States right now, and certainly in New York City, is that the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal, sanctioned civil right throughout the whole country. This ground-breaking but perhaps not unexpected news is trumping all kinds of news-- from the Supreme Court's decision in favor of the Affordable Care Act, the violence in Tunisia, the NBA college basketball draft last night, the two killers on the loose from an upstate New York prison, the deaths of dapper actor Patrick Macnee and devoted local politician Mario Biaggi, and so many other stories.

This is certainly big news in an urban area such as NYC, which has a substantial LGBT population, and yes, it is big news in the American Jewish community. But make no mistake about it, this decision, and the fact that it was announced in June, also known as Pride Month, will be causing much controversy.

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There are Americans who are against LGBT rights, and same-sex marriage in particular gets them angry and flustered. For many it is a private issue, one of religious observance and personal discomfort. These people may not support LGBT rights and issues but they may not be vocal in their opposition. They may roll their eyes and turn to other issues.


But there are people in the Jewish community who are strongly and stridently against LGBT rights. Their opposition is rooted in their Torah observance. And I will say that they have the right to be upset about this decision, about the whole issue of LGBT rights. But ultimately, new York City, New York State and the whole United States is ruled by secular law and although each person is entitled to her or his opinions, the rule of law in the US now is that same-sex marriage, and other LGBT civil rights, are acceptable.

And I can imagine that the Supreme Court decision today will increase the anger of some people in the Jewish community, as well as other communities, in regard to LGBT rights. When you live in a modern society, a democracy, you have to accept that you will not like or agree with every rule and law. I do not agree with everything that is "on the books." But I also know that religious law is not civil law. There is overlap, yes...Thou Shalt Not Kill crosses over from the 10 Commandments to secular law. But same-sex marriage is now accepted legally, everywhere in the US. A clergy member need not be forced to perform such a marriage. A scholar can gripe about same-sex marriage. A student can cringe, if he or she really wants to cringe. But it is part of our "American Pageant", as they say.

I have at least one relative who is gay, and some friends, male and female, who are gay. They now have the right to marry and their marriages are legal everywhere within the United States. It is a civil right issue, and even an economic issue. And I do feel for them today. It is certainly, certainly, certainly a Big News Day in the USA.

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