Rabbi Gilles Bernheim was one of the most vocal opponents of same-sex marriage in France, as well as being that nation’s top rabbi. He has resigned effective immediately, but not over his views about same-sex marriage. Rabbi Bernheim was caught plagiarizing several authors and lying about his academic status.
Sammy Ghoslan, the vice-president of the Central Israeli Consistory of France, stated that “He recognized his faults, apologized, and gave explanation.” It was decided that his resignation as grand rabbi was “a solution that brings more serenity,” according to Ghoslan.
A caretaker would take up the vacant post until a permanent successor is chosen to lead France’s 500,000-strong Jewish community.
Rabbi Bernheim apparently plagiarized other authors writers for sections of his 2011 book “Forty Jewish Meditations.” Additionally, Rabbi Bernheim claimed to have been awarded a rare and prestigious academic status from Sorbonne University, but it was found by the AFP to be false. Rabbi Bernheim may have also plagiarized parts of his essay arguing against same-sex marriage from pre-existing works. That essay was cited by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in an address this past December.
Rabbi Bernheim initially denied all wrongdoing and them claimed that the plagiarism was carried out by an assistant. He claimed that he would be deserting his duty if he were to resign. He was in the middle of a seven year tenure as the chief rabbi of France.
France’s Senate just passed the portions of the marriage equality bill which allows for not only same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. France will be the latest nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Uruguay has recently passed same-sex marriage. Opponents of same-sex marriage loaded down the marriage equality bill some 5,000 amendments in order to do everything that they can in order to slow down the bill.