Conservative Jewish leaders in the U.S. have approved same-sex unions and gay ordination but, bizarrely, still voted to ban gay sex.

The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, which interprets religious law for the Conservative movement of Judaism in the United States, ruled on Wednesday to allow both commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples and the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis.

“We rejoice that, like our ancestor Jacob, our sisters and brothers in Conservative Judaism have wrestled with this difficult question for a blessing,” said Harry Knox, director of the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign. “This historic decision represents a major expansion of the role of lesbian and gay rabbis in the leadership of the Conservative movement and a fuller embrace of the whole lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews.”

As reported in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards considered five proposals on issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

While one the of the rulings endorsed the recognition of same-sex commitment ceremonies and the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis, two of the opinions upheld existing prohibitions on same-sex activity, as well as the ban on sodomy between men.

Two other opinions were under consideration that would have removed all restrictions on same-sex activity. Those opinions were declared by the committee to be substantial breaks from tradition that would require an absolute majority of the committee members for adoption. The opinions were defeated.

“It allows individual congregations and rabbis to lead with their hearts,” said Rabbi Denise L. Eger of the predominantly LGBT Reform Congregation Kol Ami in Los Angeles and a member of the HRC Religion Council. “What this will do is allow gay and lesbian Conservative Jews to find a congregation which will welcome them. No, it’s the not the whole enchilada, but it’s a start,” he said.

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