LONDON, June 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Rewriting the definition of marriage would undermine a “sacred institution” recognized since “time immemorial,” said Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, in comments to a government consultation on the issue. He warned also that attempts to exempt religious groups from conducting homosexual “weddings” would likely be challenged at the European Court of Human Rights.

Although Jonathan Sacks, a member of the House of Lords, does not represent all Jews in Britain, he is the leader of the United Synagogue, the largest synagogue body in the UK and is Chief Rabbi of the British Orthodox synagogues. He is usually referred to in the press as the “Chief Rabbi” of Britain, and as such has huge influence in politics.

The comments come in a submission to the consultation by the London Beth Din – the Chief Rabbi’s court, which rules on legal matters. It reiterated traditional orthodox teaching that homosexual activity is against Jewish law and that “gay marriage” cannot be a reality. “Marriage by definition in Jewish (Biblical) Law, is the union of a male and female,” the submission said.

“While Judaism teaches respect for others and condemns all types of discrimination, we oppose a change in the definition of marriage that includes same-sex relationships.

“Our understanding of marriage from time immemorial has been that of a union between a man and a woman. Any attempt to redefine this sacred institution would be to undermine the concept of marriage.”

Until now, Lord Sacks has largely remained aloof from the same-sex “marriage” debate in the UK. Previously he has excoriated modern European culture for its “consumerism” and materialism, saying that Europeans have chosen materialism over parenthood and that this is the source of the declining birth rate. He has also defended religious belief from secularist attacks and has said a major crisis facing Europe is indifference to religion.

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