Jewish Same-Sex Couples Display Ketubot for Marriage Equality

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Same sex marriage is not only on the November ballot in Seattle, it's on the minds of people all over the country. As was pointed out in our current story on local same sex couples, this is the civil rights issue of our time. (If you haven't yet, be sure to watch Seattle hip-hop star Macklemore's new and lovely video, Same Love, in support of gay marriage.)

In light of this cultural zeitgeist David Jacobson, of the local Jewish Marriage Equality Coalition, has organized a one-night only (first time ever, nationally) display of ketubot—traditional, decorated Jewish wedding contracts—created by same sex couples. Read more about it below, and plan on checking it out during First Thursday art walk tomorrow.

"Equal Vows," the first exhibit nationwide of same-sex Jewish decorated wedding contracts ("ketubot") will be held tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 4 from 5 to 8pm at the Linda Hodges Gallery (316 First Ave. S.). It will be on view for one day only (though you are welcome to stop by late Wednesday or early Thursday). 

Signing wedding contracts has been integral part of Jewish marriage rites for the past 2,000 years. In the last decade or so, gay couples have taken up the ritual, as a means of affirming their commitment to one another in the absence of civil marriage. Though art exhibits of ketubot are commonplace, this is the first time that same-sex ketubot have ever been exhibited together nationwide.

What the exhibit really is really about is the story of 13 same-sex couples -- some old, some young, some who are Jewish, some who are inter-faith -- and of their multiple attempts to demonstrate their commitment to one another. Some of these couples have just formed; others have been together 25-30 years, and have gotten "re-married" (some even multiple times in multiple jurisdictions). But what unites them is that they've all latched onto a centuries-old tradition which has given the couples the means of demonstrating their love and commitment to each other in a meaningful, beautiful and public way.

The local Jewish newspaper JT News dedicated its cover story last week to the exhibit:  "Same-sex Ketubah Event Raises Awareness for Upcoming Vote."