Here is the text of a letter to the Jewish Chronicle:
It is a matter of great regret that Lord Sacks has chosen to make a statement in his official capacity opposing the right of gay and lesbian men and women to marry. Even if same-sex marriage is contrary to Jewish law, it does not compromise the position of Orthodox Jews to let others marry as they wish. Lord Sacks has sought to influence how the generality of the population leads its life.Further, and contrary to the submissions of the Beth Din, the change in the law will not force religious officers to officiate same-sex marriages against their wish. The law will apply only to secular ceremonies of marriage over which, by necessary definition, religious officers do not preside.Jewish law may prohibit same-sex relations and among those Jews who consider themselves bound by Jewish law it operates as a restraint on how they may otherwise live their lives. But Jewish law can play no part in a modern secular society in restricting the lives of non-Jews - and Jews - who do not accept its restraints. The proper response to the consultation should have been: it is not our proper business to comment. Speaking when silence is required is no virtue.
The letters signatories are: Simone Abel, Lisa Appignanesi, Jeremy Brier, Professor Josh Cohen, Daniel Finkelstein, Stephen Fry, Eve Garrard, Jonny Geller, Professor Norman Geras, Caren Gestetner, Professor Simon Goldhill, Richard Hermer QC, Dr David Hirsh, Julia Hobsbawm, Anthony Julius, James Libson, Karen Mattison, Lord Parry Mitchell, The René Cassin Organisation, Dr Felix Posen, Dinah Rose QC, Clive Sheldon QC, Dina Shiloh, Katy Showman, David Toube, Paul Usiskin.
Seems spot on to me. If you operate within a theology that binds some of the choices in how you live your life, as Orthodox (and many other) Jews do, then that is your choice, Of course, if you live in a society in which you are not allowed to choose (Iran and many others) that is a whole different matter. But no canon law of any faith can or should attempt to regulate the lives of those who are not of that faith, still less the activities of secular state bodies. If you practise a faith then you accept the restraints it may place upon your activity and behaviour. My nephew is a member of a Catholic lay order which requires celibacy. That is one kind of restraint, which he has chosen. In email conversation with a noted Catholic theologian of my acquaintance (OK, it was my brother) he described himself as "taking very seriously" the disciplines and dictates of the Catholic Church over the centuries. Nobody made him do that. Unless, you may say, God made him do it.
My point here is not a theological one. I am not qualified, nor would I wish, to debate theology. My point is that the dictates of faith rub up against secular laws quite often in the "free" Western societies, and there is no need for them to. Faith groups should just leave it alone. Where there is an established church it gets a bit more problematic, as in England. But I am against the established church. And I am, these days, a practising Anglican, and I wish, wish, wish the Anglican Communion would leave it alone too.