The topic of whether or not rabbis should officiate at interfaith weddings is in the news again. The argument that rabbis should officiate is basically that not doing so hurts people and it does not provide any positive effect (it does not prevent intermarriage):
Often they want a “Jewish wedding,” which is why they want the officiant to be a rabbi, preferably one with whom they have a relationship. That is why they are so hurt when we refuse.
It is delusional to think that a rabbi’s refusal to officiate will change any couple’s mind about whether to wed. Who would forgo a life with their beloved just because their beloved rabbi can’t be at their wedding ceremony?
(Seymour Rosenbloom: It’s time to allow Conservative rabbis to officiate at interfaith weddings)
The counterargument is mainly that there simply is not a Jewish wedding taking place (so no rabbi should officate) and the damage done is not that big if otherwise Jewish commitment is encouraged:
[…] the purpose of rabbinic officiation is not to take a chance on fostering Jewish commitment. It is to render a relationship sacred for two people who, even if nominally, are part of the Jewish people and its ongoing conversation in the world.
Finally, while the argument that couples being denied a rabbi’s officiation become hurt and alienated from Judaism has some merit in limited contexts, I think it it is overstated. In my twenty-six years of rabbinic experience, I find repeatedly that earlier sociological research is borne out: officiation matters far less to couples than the relationships which the rabbi builds with them through time.
(Dan Ornstein: Why Conservative Rabbis Most Certainly Should Not Do Intermarriage Ceremonies)
While I am not really in the situation, I can relate to feeling hurt by such decisions. For the moment, I have more or less given up on conversion, but I still go to services and community events. Most of the time whether or not I am officially Jewish does not make a difference. But among the things that hurt me in my situation is that none of the milestones of my life will be shared with the community. It’s not only about who officiates at a wedding. It is about sharing the joy of getting married. It is about getting someone to circumcize a baby boy, celebrating the birth of a baby girl, having a Bar/Bat Mitzva, saying Kaddish for a parent or sibling, getting a Jewish burial. If I am not Jewish, my children are not Jewish, so no Jewish ceremonies for them. I can mumble along Kaddish with someone else, but not say it alone. No one from the community will know if I died, there will be no announcement in the community and I will have to find a place in some non-religious graveyard [although being really sure that you will not be buried in the Jewish cemetary may be better than being denied to be buried there on account of someone not recognizing your conversion].
What I am saying is that we humans need communities. And an important part of a community is sharing your life’s milestones, whether joyous or sad. To realize that the community does not allow you to do that – it hurts. True, a long-term relationship with an otherwise supportive rabbi might mitigate that (I don’t know, I don’t have a supportive rabbi around). True, I understand the reasoning and I do think halacha is important. It is not my place to say that rabbis should do this or that. But you can argue, rationalize and discuss as much as you like – it still hurts.