Are Gay Ketubahs Valid?

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A question we get all the time is, are Gay Ketubahs valid?

Some thoughts on that issue.

Importantly, some religions are centralized, top-down. Think the Catholic Church, starting with the Pope and working his way down.

But Judaism is deeply decentralized — and has been for thousands of years. Just remember the medieval rabbis: Rambam (Maimonides), Rashi — the great rabbis of the Talmudic era — each rabbi had a different interpretation. And each Jew would follow the rabbi he believed in.

We see this today, in every aspect of Judaism. Take our humor: “Two Jews, Three Opinions.” Take the number of Jewish organizations and groups and sub-groups and affiliations and alliances — the number of them is basically the same as the number of Jews!

The closest Judaism today has to a centralized authority is what the government of Israel says. And that is still very variable: for example, Israel itself only allows for ultra-orthodox weddings. Famously, the Israeli Supreme Court Judges get married in Cyprus because, according to the laws of Israel (of which they are on the Supreme Court!), they can’t even get married in a non-Orthodox way. So this is far, far from binding.

As a result of this deep decentralization, what matters most is, what your rabbi or officiant says. We’ve worked with hundreds of different couples, and have seen hundreds of different Rabbinic opinions! So really all that matters is the opinion of your rabbi or officiant on this issue. If your rabbi will oversee and sign it–then great!

The final point is, the most important observation is that the main use of the Ketubah is, if you get a get for a divorce. This is the primary situation under which the Ketubah is used and enforced. So here, too, keep in mind that for a rabbi to accept a Ketubah to use in dealing with the get, he needs to first accept the Ketubah–so it should be your same Rabbi. But hopefully, that will never happen to any of you, since hopefully none of us will get divorced.

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