Watch a Kid Debunk "Traditional" Marriage at His Bar Mitzvah

Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
Dec. 3 2013 8:30 AM

"Traditional Marriage" Debunked at a Bar Mitzvah

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What tradition?

Still from YouTube video.

One of the bitter ironies of the marriage equality battle is the opposition's appeal to "traditional" marriage—especially as traced from the Bible—in their attacks. Same-sex unions aren't traditional, so the reasoning goes, and therefore gay couples should not be allowed to approach the altar. The joke, of course, is that the meaning of marriage has changed so much over the centuries that any notion of "tradition" is ludicrous ... but I'll stop there. In this video that's making the rounds, Duncan McAlpine Sennett, a 13-year-old bar mitzvah from Congregation Beth Israel in Oregon, uses his Torah reflection to explore marriage's evolution and the need for equality as clearly as I've ever heard. 

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.