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Same-Sex Wedding Announcement Causes Stir in Teaneck

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Avi Smolen and Justin Rosen (Photo/CBS 2)

Avi Smolen and Justin Rosen (Photo/CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Avi Smolen and Justin Rosen are less than two weeks away from their wedding in Connecticut, where same-sex marriages are legal. A Jewish ceremony is to follow in Syosset on Long Island.

The Jewish Standard newspaper printed their wedding announcement.

“It was great to see our picture in color and print in the Lifecycle section and and show our marriage being recognized,” Avi Smolen told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

But this first for the paper quickly came under fire in the form of angry letters and comments from those in the Orthodox Jewish community, including Rabbi Yehuda Levin of Rabbinical Alliance of America.

“We have a 3,000-year-old tradition of marriage called sanctity … holiness and our religion should not be mocked. Homosexual marriage is a misnomer, which is very, very offensive,” Levin said.

He said he applauded editor Rebecca Boronson when on Monday she reversed the policy on same-sex wedding announcements.

The 79-year-old paper released a statement stating: “We set off a firestorm … We have decided, therefore, since this is a divisive issue, not to run such announcements in the future.”

Then another twist on Wednesday as the publisher of the paper released a new statement apologizing for the apology.

“We believe now that we may have acted too quickly in responding to one segment of the community,” the statement read.

CBS 2 reached out to the editor and publisher by phone and left messages Thursday, but none were returned.

“I think they are in the middle of this tug of war,” Smolen said.

Smolen said the paper’s policy is left vague and uncertain, but he and Rosen won’t spend a lot of time thinking about that.

“For the next 10 days, we have to focus on finishing touches for our ceremony and reception,” Rosen said.

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