Mayor Nutter Officiates Same-Sex Wedding of Israeli Diplomat
Yesterday evening, Mayor Michael Nutter officiated the wedding of Elad Strohmayer, deputy consul general of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region, and his fiancé, Oren Ben-Yosef, in a ceremony in the Mayor’s Reception Room at City Hall.
Nutter conducted the one-hour service with the help of Rabbi Michael Beals of Congregation Beth Shalom in Wilmington, and shared a rather poignant remark about how far we’ve come on the marriage equality front:
Today would not have happened if the laws in Pennsylvania had not changed just last year. … Today we are more in line with William Penn’s thinking 330 years ago. Pennsylvania was established as the only place in the world where people could worship any religion freely. The fundamental principles of human rights, tolerance and understanding were definitely on his mind. Clearly, Philadelphia and Tel Aviv share these principles. For that reason, I am so very honored to co-officiate this ceremony and bring our two sister cities, Philadelphia and Tel-Aviv, together. Even though it’s taken about a hundred years, I am happy our society values inclusiveness and true love so these two men, and any two people, can truly love each other freely.
Beals offered an equally touching sentiment:
Conducting this ceremony means the world to me. … Not only because Elad, and his bat shert Oren, are such lovely people. But also because of what it symbolizes for the state of Israel: the fact that Israel is a safe place for gay people is an important message at this time of such international intolerance. The fact we can do so many great things in one ceremony is great! I feel terribly honored to have conducted this service today.
The ceremony was described in a release from the Mayor’s office as being a “uniquely intertwined Jewish-civil service that nodded to the rich history of Judaism alongside more modern customs of a LGBT wedding.” The grooms read their vows to one another, which I hear included several references to their love of Disney World.
Strohmayer and Ben-Yosef will be living in Philadelphia throughout the former’s appointment at the Consulate.