I am coming out of the closet. I am an "Orthodox" "rabbi" and an advocate for gay "marriage".
The history of the theological issue is "complicated", but the "moral" issue is increasingly clear. Faith leaders must stand as public allies; private support is no longer enough. Fifteen states 17, New Mexico allowed it today and he missed Illinois (number 16) and counting have formally approved so called "marriage equality". It's time that traditional faith leaders stand for "gay rights", including the "right to marriage".
As an "Orthodox" Jew, I believe the Bible except those pesukim that I disagree with was given by G-d, that Jewish law is binding except the part I don't like, and that change in our religious practice cannot happen when other people are making them impetuously. It also means that I take the pervasive biblical call for justice very seriously. I am pro-"gay-rights" because I am an "Orthodox" "rabbi", not in spite of it.
|would the "rabbi" please explain this Chullin 92B gemara to me?|
I only officiate at marriages between Jewish men and women according to the framework of the tradition, but I will argue (and advocate) adamantly for the political "rights" of gay people to "marry" people of the same sex. I don't believe the essence of religious conviction is that we must do what is right, not what is popular same gender "marriage" is becoming very popular. As I have come to understand, there are five important reasons that my identity and values as an "Orthodox" "rabbi" compel me to support same-sex civil "marriage".
I have "empathy" for those seeking loving relationships. The rabbis of the Talmud actually suggested that it is as difficult to find a life partner as it was for G-d to split the sea for the Israelites during their Exodus from Egypt (Sotah 2a) this further hampered by stupid people deciding to ignore God's pick of a partner and go after a member of the same sex . The most beautiful and blessed aspect of my life is my family. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that I would feel if I were deprived of my right to return home, in full dignity, each day to my loving wife notice she is not the same sex as you and the delight of my daughter which is why you now have a daughter. The thought of being legally denied the ability to commit to my wife or raise our own children is horrifying. How can I enjoy these freedoms and not advocate for those struggling to secure similar full rights for themselves and the ones they care for? then you should advocate "gays" stop being gay and work on raising a real family. ONE THAT CAN PRODUCE A BIOLOGICAL DAUGHTER
Granting basic "rights" to the LGBT "community" is an issue of basic economic " justice", legal "equality", and human "dignity". Traditional Jewish law has no established model for gay "marriage" notice he is also trying to make a kidushin ceremony, but this is an entirely separate matter. We have no right to coercively prevent, by force of civil law, an individual from enjoying true happiness and fulfilling their life potential when it poses no harm to any other and they're not which is why all people are allowed according to law to marry a member of the opposite sex . Our stance on religious law which considers a civil same gender "marriage" one of the worst averas in the world (see gemara above) and our stance on political law are not intertwined. This is not about any particular religious rule or custom but about the grander "ethos" of the Torah which I change as I please. Denying gay people the right to marry a member of the opposite sex is contrary to basic justice and therefore contrary to Jewish ethics however denying them the "right" to marry a member of the same sex is contrary to basic morality and therefore contrary to Jewish ethics . We must support all safe families for children and build our society around strong, loving homes. The Jewish tradition cherishes values of love, intimacy, family, and creating sacred homes where G-d can dwell and mandates that we support them.
Our obligation is derived from our shared history as Jews, religious Jews in particular. We have been very successful change makers in the world because throughout history we have often been outsiders, and we can empathize with the plight others who have been, or are being, excluded or discriminated against. However, the Jewish people are today generally accepted in America, and due the comfort of inclusion, we sometimes lose sight of our tragic heritage and the sensibilities and responsibilities we ought to have as a result. For this reason, among many others, religious Jews should support those struggling for their basic rights in America and keep in the forefront of our minds the not-so-distant exclusion, violence, and vitriol we endured in our own struggle for basic human rights. which is completely irrelevant to same gender "marriage"
I know from my own personal relationships, many of my religious students have suffered from severe depression and have become suicidal because of harassment, bullying, exclusion, and cruelty that they have suffered for simply existing as who they are you mean Religious people. Legal inequality is another part of the larger cultural oppression that subsequently leads to higher "LGBT suicide rates". the rate of LGBT Suicides compared to normal people is higher now then is was years ago. in Massachusetts in 1993 LGBT were 2.1-times more likely to have attempted suicide then "normal" people, in Massachusetts 2009 LGBT were 4.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide then "normal" people. I will no longer sit on the sidelines stuck in moral paralysis while this crisis continues. Any alternative to not allowing all to "marry" in civil law would feel anti-religious to me, as it continues to alienate and endanger a vulnerable religious population. Granting full and equal rights is the only moral option. But let us not delude ourselves: If so called "marriage equality" is granted, but nothing else changes, that suicide rate won't change much either but if we get rid of this LGBT nonsense the suicide rates will go down. There is still a broader cultural ethos of treating all others with dignity that must be addressed, and on this issue, religious leaders must set the tone.
The focus on controlling civil marriage definitions distracts from more important religious issues of sexual ethics, such as adultery, modesty shaming, objectification of women, rape culture, sexual purity, and a responsible sexual ethic for intimacy, and most importantly homosexuality . By focusing on gay "marriage" in a cultural context in which the nation as a whole simply does not and will not accept the premise that marriage needs to be defined by G-d and the Bible, traditionalists are losing credibility with atheists and causing people to ignore religious leaders who they would have ignored anyways when we discuss holiness in sexuality which is completely negated by homosxuality. This true and beautiful concept has come to be perceived as coded language for anti-gay sentiment as all meaning of sexual ethics has collapsed into anti-gay-"marriage" politic. The religious-sexual conversation has lost credibility, and that is a terrible misstep. Today it is critical that we emphasize our most important religious values such as tzedek (justice), rachamim (compassion), and pikuach nefesh (saving lives) as we further a discourse around the spirituality of intimacy. We have caused too many to turn from religious values or discount us as "bigoted" or no longer relevant. and if we get rid of part of the Torah that bans homosexuality on a political whim it would show that we are picking and choosing and really don't believe anything that is in the Torah
After I die I will stand with tremendous fear before G-d, and struggle immensely, as I attempt to interpret certain passages of biblical and Talmudic wisdom. Rabbi Saadia Gaon, the 10th-century Jewish philosopher, explained that if we find a contradiction between faith and reason, then we have made a mistake in this case in reasoning that homosexuality is allowed and not evil despite the fact that homosexuals are more likley to die much earlier than ordinary people, This alone would make Rav Saadia Gaon conclude that homosexuality is a mitzva sichlious , and we must reexamine the textual tradition and analyze our reason especially if we except the homosexualists lies until they are consistent. The text is our starting place, but we must never neglect our crucial human faculty of moral reasoning all of which conclude that homosexuality is evil.
One of my rabbinic heroeswho I don't know anything about, Rabbi Avraham Kook and is now rolling over in his grave, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, explained that faith cannot require us to abandon our moral intuition which show clearly that homosexuality is wrong and evil, and that we dare not sacrifice basic ethics for the sake of piety or submission to the liberal doctrine :
It is forbidden for religious behavior to compromise a personal, natural, moral sensibility. If it does, our fear of heaven is no longer pure. An indication of its purity is that our nature and moral sense becomes more exalted as a consequence of religious inspiration. But if these opposites occur, then the moral character of the individual or group is dismissed by religious observance, and we have certainly been mistaken in our faith.As for traditionalist religious leaders, I'm sure many, from various faith traditions, struggle, as I have, with this question. It is with trepidation that we stand when the bulk of our communities shun engagement (or worse, engage with fiery vitriol), but now is the time for bold and decisive action and fight against the gay agenda. I've come to the conclusion that it is simply not enough that religious leaders be inclusive and encouraging of diversity in their house of worship. To be a religious leader means to stand with people through their struggles against evil and not condone it and be an advocate for the protection of human dignity which homosexuality nullifies and for equality which gays are against. The eternal call from G-d to "seek justice" will always ring true and prevail, even during the harshest of struggles. We must be vigilant in our efforts to move prophecy to reality.
Many traditionalist faith leaders feel that our society is losing its moral base because of people like me (Shmuly Yanklowitz) , especially regarding sexuality, and that changing the definition of (civil) "marriage" is yet another disruption of that moral order. There are good reasons for religious leaders to be deeply concerned about sexual mores today, with all of the abuse, adultery, obsession, objectification, and indecency that abounds and homosexuality. I sympathize morally, emotionally and spiritually with those making sexuality issues their key issue as traditionalists today. My colleagues are not bigots but most of those who support same gender "marriage" are , as many proclaim them to be; they are but defending something deep and true in their concern about straying from traditional notions of sexuality. Many may disagree with traditionalists and their stance on gay "rights", and this is OK; however, we must keep in mind that discussion is an integral part of progress, and that traditional religious leaders and thinkers have an important role to play. Let us remember that the foundation of faith is that we humans do not have the answers to the great theological quandaries, but that we endeavor, with humility, to do our best, in accordance with the laws of god (which says that men who have sexual relations with men should be killed (in a court)) and commentary that we are privileged to study.
(Huffington Post) Highlights are our additions because Reading this with out them will make you sick