Why The Religious Need To Stop Fighting Gay Marriage

Ever since I wrote a blog post about gay marriage, one question has been roiling my brain.

What would I do if my child was gay and they wanted to get married?

It was comparatively easy to talk about being gay on a societal level, and even to speak about my own experiences with it.

But what about the one thing that really matters: how would I deal with a situation if it was in my face, planted there, unable for me to avoid by writing a blog post and then running for the hills?

And there’s always one answer I keep coming back to.

What would I do if my child was gay?  If this child wanted to get married?

I wouldn’t do a thing.

I wouldn’t fight it, argue, get upset.  None of that.

Why?

Because at this point in their life, the time when he or she would be making such big decisions in their life, I would have already imparted everything I can to him or her.  Why on earth would I push that child away?

G-d forbid that anyone, religious or otherwise, would push away their child or family member or friend when they make a decision that goes against their values.  G-d forbid that we should even think in such a way.

No, I wouldn’t push that child away, nor would I push a family member or a friend away.  No, I would hug that person.  I would hug and kiss that person, because they are family, because they are a love in my life.  And aftertward I would live an example of a life that matters to me so that they can see why I take it so seriously.

And so, as the whole Facebook world is erupting with disagreements over “marriage equality” and “gay rights”, I wonder to myself: what really is the hubbub over this issue?

Because as far as I can tell, disowning a child for a life they’ve taken ownership over is wrong.  So why is it so wrong to stop this person, an adult, from making a decision they believe in?

I thank G-d every day that my parents still embrace me despite my choosing to becoming religious, choosing a life that is in direct conflict with their own.  I thank G-d every day that I live in a country that allows Jews to live safe, productive lives because it gives them equal rights.

So why should I care if that same government wants to deal with its citizens the same way I deal with my children and my family and my friends?

In fact, the more this whole debate rages, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps there is something more deeply wrong happening here.

I keep asking myself: why are these conservatives, these orthodox Jews, these religious folks, so caught up in this argument?

I’ve read arguments all over the place, and most of them seem to imply one thing: this is about where our country is headed.  We are turning marriage into a “civil union!”  We are destroying the sanctity of a beloved institution!  Our nation is going down the crapper!

All of this sounds to me like a reactive parent dealing with his child rather than a proactive parent.

A parent who is reactive always argues with their child based on their son or daughter’s arguments.  They put themselves down in the dirt of an argument with their child instead of rising above.

For example, a parent who is worried about their child’s rebellion may choose to lock that child away in their room, not realizing that they are really fueling the fire of rebellion rather than addressing the root cause of it.

This is the way the religious are dealing with the issue of gay marriage.

They want to ground their gay kids, whether real or metaphorical.  Lock them up in a room, put their fingers in their ears, and scream “LALALALALA!  This doesn’t exist!  If I don’t give you a choice, then I won’t have to deal with your reality!”

It’s a shame, really.  Because there’s a whole generation of these folks who are wasting their energy, fighting the wrong fights, getting in the wrong debates, and, in the end, losing.  Because they’re not talking on the level they are meant to talk on.

What’s that level?

The main strength a religious person possesses in relation to the secular world is that he lives for something.  He has a mission.

The outside world is arguing and debating over RIGHTS! and FREEDOM! and LIBERTY FOR ALL!

On the other hand, the life of a religious person, a truly religious person, has absolutely nothing to do with these principles.  These principles, according to a religious person, are only important insofar as they give us a chance to then fulfill our mission in life.

A religious person says, “Okay, I have rights.  Wonderful.  Now what?”

And that is what the religious need to be discussing in the secular world.  They need to leave the dustheap of debates and embrace their own worldview.  A worldview that goes beyond rights and towards something higher.

And gay marriage is the perfect opportunity for such a discussion to take place.

Why?

Because the whole freaking world is finally talking about marriage again!  Can you believe it?  A society in which a divorce happens once every 13 seconds. Where 41 percent of first marriages, 60 percent of second marriages, and 73 percent of third marriages, end in divorce.  A country where marriage is often an after-thought to a career, and where having children is an increasing rarity.

But all of a sudden, this crazy, messed up, divorce-crazy, marriage-avoiding, career-obsessed, country wants to talk about marriage.

Thank freaking G-d.

And what are we doing?  We’re debating rights!  We’re point our fingers down at these people, telling them they’re horrible, just plain EVIL SINNERS!  We’re sickened!

You know what that sounds like to me?  Reactive living.  A life focused on fighting rather than creating.

Religious folks, let’s stop debating rights, and let’s start explaining what it means to have a mission.  Let’s stop arguing about whether people should be allowed to marry, and let’s discuss what marriage actually is.

Let’s take the national debate beyond breaking down barriers, and focus on the foundation that needs to be created after those barriers are broken down.

Otherwise, we’re just parents in denial, desperately trying to lock the door to control our world while our children are sneaking out the window.

  • There is no comparing your desire to follow G-d’s will, which stems from your Good Inclination, and a pro-gay activist’s desire to legitimize a sin in law, which stems from his Evil Inclination. Your parents’ choice to accept you is great for you, but it doesn’t mean that all acceptance is good and that all rejection is bad. (Note that I am not at all saying that gay-inclined people should be rejected, but that the comparison is false.)

    I see no reason why rejection and acceptance must be all or nothing. Why not split it (see Tanya ch. 32) and accept the person as a fellow human/Jew, while condemning the sinful thing he wants to do–the act of homosexuality, and, worse, the legitimizing of that act?

    I see no connection at all between the approach that society at large should take to institutionalizing, endorsing, and formalizing a sinful, destructive lifestyle, and the approach a parent should take to parenting his or her child, especially when they are older. Parents can look the other way, but a society has to take responsibility for the laws that it legislates, and ensure that they are helpful and not destructive to society, and in this case, the foundation of society–the family unit.

    Talking about marriage and family is meaningless without defining these concepts correctly. What some are proposing that we legitimize, or simply fail to protest against, is the institutionalization of a gross distortion of marriage and family. That’s the simple reason that the corrupt society of today wants to talk about it.

    As for who is a truly religious person, and your statement that such a person talks about mission and not rights. I agree, but more precisely, that person talks about the fact that G-d created the world for a purpose: on a basic level, to follow the Noahide laws. Homosexual behavior, even when done casually, and all the more so when legitimized through secular law, violates the will of G-d and His purpose for the world. Torah says that Jews and non-Jews must work together to create a society run by a legal system that follows the Noahide laws.

    • How is the family unit affected by gay marriage? How is your family unit, specifically, affected if gay people can marry? People always talk about this in abstract terms, but they inevitably fail to list specific things they fear will happen.

      • The world is becoming a place where there are no boundaries. Everything is okay. And when the law announces to the world that a marriage between two men is just the same as a marriage between a women and man– that is turning the world upside down. G-d created a men and women to complete each other, and create children together– when making children becomes unimportant, and the way G-d intended the world to be is disregarded, everything becomes more blurry and chaotic. I’m not saying that gay men should not be allowed to be together, but it should not be promoted in society as an ultimate situation.

        • It seems that based on the logic presented in the boundaries argument that women should have never been allowed to go to university/ enter the workplace etc. substitute ‘women’ with any group as you see fit. keep the existing boundaries because they exist”
          Men and women don’t necessarily complement one another – the masculine completes the feminine and vice versa.
          If complements are what is at issue should we measure how a man and women complete each other before we allow them to wed.
          One clear societal benefit of gay marriage is the it creates a supply of loving families that adopt the ‘unwanted’ children of otherwise ‘straight’ people.

          • We do see wether they complement each other- that’s what dating is for. I do not think it is necessarily a societal benefit to have children being raised by same sex marriages- but that is a different issue all together. They can raise a child wether they are married or not. We should not keep boundaries because they exist, but because they are meant to exist. it is not an imaginary boundary that I or others decided is correct, it’s based on Torah. And I never said anything about it being not feminine to go to university etc.

        • again- the vague platitudes. Be specific Basya Feldman. Tell me how YOUR children, as you imagine, will be affected by gay marriage. I don’t want vague “the-world-is-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket” song. Tell me about you and your kids. What do you fear will happen to them?

        • dGratt

          I agree! The world was so much better when Christians knew there should be a boundary between us and them.
          They gave us sections of the city where we could live and apply our own laws
          They encouraged us to focus on only a few occupations that kept us in the city and with other Jews.

          They insisted those dens of secular learning and political power were not for us there by giving us more time to learn and grow in Torah.

          And in return all they ask is for us not to protest when they vented their anger against us.

          I so miss the days when religious Christians ruled over us.

  • Princess Lea

    What I find funny is how in the Torah triefus is called an abomination, but Jews aren’t picketing Red Lobster.

    This isn’t our country. The fact that we are able to live here in peace is because of the separation of church and state; if we withhold gay marriage rights, it would be because of religion, and that could potentially lead to a slippery slope that would not be to our benefit.

    Additionally, we have specific parameters for what qualifies as marriage, and two people declaring undying love is not it. If a heterosexual couple got “married” like that, they wouldn’t need a get, because that is not what religious Jews consider a binding contract, such as the kesubah and two “kosher” eidim.

    The act of male “gaytitude” is what the Torah forbids. Banning gay marriage won’t stop gay couples, so what does it matter?

    If a gay man wants to have the right to visit his sick partner in the hospital, or inherit his money without taxation, how does that affect me and my day-to-day life? The state of marriage between a man and a woman has been pretty crappy lately. As someone said, “Why shouldn’t gay people have the right to be miserable like everyone else?”

    • Dear ‘Princess Lea,’

      We are all part of this society. America isn’t our country’ — yes it is–temporarily. This country is composed of immigrants.
      If we don’t voice our dismay at changing cherished definitions, then where will this lead?

      I also resent two men or women being called ‘married’ and sharing the same benefits I have as a married man.
      To permit ‘gay marriages’ is a travesty of justice. That intelligent-moral human beings, created in ‘The Image of G-d’ (Many don’t understand this–lousy education.) can sink to such a depraved level, using only their hearts but forgetting their heads demonstrates the mindlessness that has become so prevalent.
      I love my male business partner and roomate–perhaps we’ll get ‘married’ and reap the economic benefits? How many homosexuals are seeking therapy in order to overcome their ‘illness?’ A lot more than are going the other way. So, to let ‘sick’ people ‘marry’ is like giving someone who temporarily uses a costly, motorized, wheelchair, the right to keep it.
      How would this fare in ‘the budget committee.’
      Extended these gay marriage rights also gives a societal-governmental ‘stamp of approval’ encouraging these ‘sick’ couples to stay together. Would these supporters wish this for their loved ones?
      Then there is the evil inclination to let these barren couples bring up children. This harms children.

      • Ugh. What is depraved about gay people? Why are they sick? You don’t prefer their bedroom practices? Very nice, don’t engage in them. Many people might find your bedroom practices unpalatable, yet they are not petitioning against your right to engage in them.

        Most gay people are not in reparative therapy. No idea where your statistics are from. No idea where you get your idea that children are harmed by havijng gay parents- you’re just spouting invectives without any research to back up your theories. .

        Gay marriage is the same thing as straight marriage: honey, don’t forget to pick the milk up on the way home, can you wash the dishes, should we get pizza or chinese tonight? The only ones who are so focused on the sex part of gay marriage are its opponents.

        • It’s not the same- because two men cannot complete each other, an a physical or soul level. They cannot have children naturally. I do not oppose thier private activity, but i don’t want my children living in a world where everything is acceptable to the point where two men together is considered the same as a man and woman together, because the two are very different.

          • Let’s replace gay marriage with interracial marriage and see how much of a bigot you sound like, shall we? “i don’t want my children living in a world where everything is acceptable to the point where a black and a white living together is considered the same as two of the same race together”. <- That logic is what was used to protest interracial marriage. If you don't want your children to see gay marriage as correct, tell them it's wrong. It doesn't mean you have to try to restrict human rights to a group of people because of your joke of a religion.

          • Sensai

            An action like what you do with your genitals is not a civil right. That means anyone can say they are gay and get special rights. Implying that the black struggle is the same as the gay struggle shows your ignorance and closeted bigotry. The Constitution is clear in the 10th Amd that it is a States issue. Either change the Constitution of present scientific proof that people can be identified as gay. Saying “I’m born this way” isn’t proof and is exactly what the perverts of NAMBL say. Marriage has always been with different races (some have banned it) but this will be the first time it redefines marriage totally.

            This is about punishing and criminalizing people who think it’s sick, immoral and sinful. We don’t care what you do with your genitals but you care what we think. Like all big brother governments.

          • 10th amendment- nothing to do with gay rights. The most you can say is that the 10th amendment allows states to decide this issue for themselves. Thanks for playing.

          • Christine Spencer

            Actually LGBT people don’t care what you think. We don’t care at all.

            We certainly don’t want to punish and criminalize people for their thoughts..

            We don’t punish a rapist for having a rape fantasy….we punish a rapist for violating someone else.

            We don’t punish someone for thinking about murder….we punish them for killing someone.

            Only an idiot would care about what someone thinks…we care about what you DO because of the thought.

            You think it’s wrong to be LGBT…fine. You think you need to exact vengeance because of it…fine. You exact vengeance….not fine….go to jail.

            Marriage is a fundamental constitutional right in the US as defined by the supreme court.

            It doesn’t take a moral genius to have an issue with NAMBLA…they advocate to harm kids in a way that is clearly harmful to them. Kids can’t enter into binding legal contracts….it’s not allowed and frankly it’s sick.

            You claim not to care about my genitals but that’s just a lie. It’s all you and people like you can think about. You talk about it all the time. After you failed to maintain the laws to control my genitals you are now fighting to continue to control who I am legally able enter into a marriage contract with. Really?!? Because it’s going to impact you…no…because you want to CONTROL our genitals…STILL.

            Rationally, if gay couples can marry, this is generally the social expectation, and marriages are understood to be exclusive monogamous relationships….aka a pretty traditional marriage structure…will the spread of STDs slow, remain the same, or accelerate? The answer is it can ONLY slow.

            Rationally….does the presence of a traditional marriage structure with LGBT couples create more or less financial stability? It must be more because two people are much less likely to have no job and the spouse will be the first to bear the brunt of the loss when one comes…rather than the social safety net.

            Rationally….does having LGBT people come out and accept themselves early…marrying someone compatible with them lead to less or more straight divorces? Less, with LGBT people no longer in the straight pool of partners the success rates of hetero marriages can only go up.

            Frankly, if you look at it rationally….LGBT marriage DOES affect you…positively.

            Stop looking at genitals and start looking at people. Real living, feeling, breathing people.

            Feel free to keep thinking we are disgusting freaks but think about that person that doesn’t break some straight girls heart, use your tax dollars for HIV treatments or because they lost their job….you can smirk and think we are all doomed…we don’t mind…really.

            We can ignore your thoughts….even your words. We have our own.

          • So you believe that we shouldn’t be able to vote on the topic? We vote according to what we want our country and world to look like. I want the the place I live to align with my beliefs as much as possible. If it’s a “joke of a religion,” why are you reading this blog?

          • Because they cannot have children they do not complete each other? And your perspective on elderly or infertile couples is the same?

          • Ruth

            I believe she means in a Spiritual way.

          • What does that mean? Really? The whole thing about neshamos, blah, blah, blah? Okay if you believe that, that’s nice for you. Why would you legislate that to the gentiles? I doubt you believe gentiles complement each others’ souls in the first place, nothing supports that in Judaic hashkafa.

          • Ruth

            I don’t believe in legislating it to gentiles- and I do believe that gentiles can compliment each others’ souls, and I must admit I do not know the halacha on the matter.

          • Torah says to encourage non-Jews to legislate the sheva Mitzvos, as part of the Mitzvah for non-Jews of dinim.

          • Because ultimately only a man and women can have children, it should be seen as an ultimate relationship. It doesn’t mean that they always do, but relationships that do not bear children should not be encouraged in society and seen as ultimate. An infertile couple usually is not seen to have an advantage…

          • Even according to your explanation, I don’t see why only “ultimate” marriages should be permitted.

      • Heshy Rosenwasser

        “I love my male business partner and roomate–perhaps we’ll get ‘married’ and reap the economic benefits?”

        Of course, heterosexuals would *never* enter such marriages of convenience. Ever!

      • Elisheva

        why do you resent two men or women being called ‘married’ and sharing the same benefits you have as a married man.? How does this hurt you in any way?

        • Sensai

          No one cares what people do with their genitals. This is about punishing and criminalizing people who think it’s sick, immoral and sinful. We don’t care what you do with your genitals but you care what we think. Like all big brother governments.

          Next religious groups and leaders who don’t perform the ceremonies will be arrested or sued.

          Here is the start…
          http://abcnews.go.com/Business/washington-florist-sued-refusing-provide-flowers-sex-wedding/story?id=18922065#.UWXeYDdPFGo

          • Religious groups will be excused from any nondiscrimination law referencing homosexuals, just as now they are largely excused from the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

          • liveandletlive

            but a flower shop can be sued for not wanting to service a gay wedding? That is not right.

          • A flower shop can be sued for not servicing people with red hair, if that state passes a law saying red haired people are not to be discriminated against. Nothing to do with the definition of marriage or whether gay people are permitted to marry or not

          • liveandletlive

            But that infringes on their freedom of religion.. it has e/t to do with gay marriage..you said that religious groups will be excused from the non discriminatory law but then you go and say that the flower shop can be sued.. that doesn’t make sense. If the store owner knew that the couple was engaging in premarital sex and they objected then the store owner should be able to discriminate based on freedom of religion. Nobody obligates a gay person to go to x flower shop. They can go to another.. Religious people should be able to have the right to live according to their beliefs .. that’s in the constitution.

          • If your religion requires you to violate a general law of neutral applicability (a law that applies to everyone and doesn’t specifically target your religious group, i.e. don’t smoke crack, pay taxes, don’t speed, don’t discriminate) then you will be required to obey the law and the First Amendment doesn’t care about your problems. If the law, however, targets your religious group (don’t circumcise, don’t eat kosher, etc) that’s where the 1st amendment steps in to protect you.

            Separately, religious groups (of which a florist is not one) are generally permitted to discriminate as needed for their religion (the law against discrimination specifically excepts religious groups, so they are not violating the law), but there are some limits here. So, a court will never look at a case where a Hindu sues a Jewish school for not hiring him as a rabbi or a janitor. Most courts will not even look at cases where a black person sues a jewish school for not hiring him as a rabbi or janitor, although some courts will.

            If the florist feels his state passed a law which interferes with his first amendment rights, he or she is welcome to sue in federal court. That’s not what happened here, yet.

          • liveandletlive

            Sorry. but a person should have the right to not service anybody they do not want to. Americans are so phobic of discrimination that they don’t see that there are times when it is valid..

          • So if I own a shopping mall and I’d like Jews not to enter without a yellow star, that’s okay by you?

          • Asher Lovy

            Would you say that a church should have to officiate the marriage of two Jews? Or vice versa?

          • no. What does that have to do with it.

          • liveandletlive

            I wouldn’t care. but this is totally different. People like to mix the race card into this when it has nothing to do with the issue at hand. By doing the flowers for a gay marriage that person is saying that they are okay with people who are acting in a perverse manner.A person can’t control if they are Jewish or not but they can control if they act on a physical urge. Would you service a sex offender in your store? or how about a rapist? or a molester? That is the equivalent here even if people don’t want to see it that way.

          • well, I don’t think it’s perverse. Many heterosexual couples engage in the same acts. Should all of them be not permitted to marry or kicked out of your flower shop? How far are you going to go with spying on people’s bedroom habits?

          • Also, I really fail to see what is wrong with prohibiting discrimination based on what kind of sex a couple has. I mean, say you and your fiance are engaging in pre-marital sex and I don’t approve. Should I just be able to discriminate?

          • So you believe that we shouldn’t be able to vote on the topic? We vote according to what we want our country and world to look like. I want the the place I live to align with my beliefs as much as possible.

          • I don’t believe majority vote should decide this country’s freedoms. For example, I don’t think a state where the majority voted to outlaw bris milah, should be allowed to outlaw bris milah

      • dGratt

        Our Reshonim never considered gay people sick, they viewed the act as a perversion but they never condemned the individuals themselves sick, read the Rambam sometime, he never called anyone engaging in such acts as depraved. Though he did clearly call the action a sin.

        Christians on the other hand have a long history of condemning and attacking homosexuals irrespective of their actions. Its a shame that a large portion of the Torah world has become infected with Christian views that have perverted our Halacha.

        • A desire for a perverse act is not in itself perverse?

          • dGratt

            No its not. Ask your Rabbi if it is an issur to desire a cheeseburger, or have a want to drive a car on Shabbat. Or feel the urge to have premarital sex.

            He will say no. Their are very few places in the Torah were thoughts and desires are prohibited. Haskafah is a different story, but halacha is very clear that their is no sin wanting to have bacon.

          • Did I say those desires were perverse? And did I say that to desire and issur is an issur? I said neither. All I suggested, in the context of a specific desire under discussion here, was that if something is itself perverse as an act, then to desire it is perverse. I’m interested to hear a Torah source that suggests otherwise.

            However, generally speaking, all desire for sin constitutes sickness–spiritual sickness. See here.

          • There’s nothing perverse about the sexual act. If you’re referring to the term toevah, please look up all the other ways in which toevah is used and share whether you think those desires and actions are perverse.

    • Rebecca Klempner

      I want so much to agree, and I’m 100% in agreement that property rights, etc. need protection (which can be done under civil partnerships, anyway) and am in accord that our community is wasting time in arguing over this issue, but–

      The end of your statement is what I have to object to. The reason the average marriage is miserable is because people don’t understand marriage. The reason the divorce rate is so high, people cheat, people delay marriage more and more often, is because people don’t understand marriage. The reason gay marriage is even an issue is because people don’t understand marriage.

      In Judaism, marriage is an opportunity to build something with a person who you will never understand because their brain, biology, and spiritual role is different than yours. It is an opportunity for men to become givers and for women to become takers, although they have strong urges to do exactly the opposite. It is an opportunity to focus on responsibilities, not rights.

      Today’s “marriage” is about taking as much pleasure, social and financial benefit as each person can get from the other until they get bored. It’s about “love,” but only when it’s fun, convenient, and easy.

      If we want to defend marriage, we collectively must strive to improve the quality of our marriages. We must develop a culture of responsibility, not entitlement. We need to teach ourselves and our children that life isn’t about fun or about material success, but about unconditional love and union with G-d through doing His Will.

      A huge project, of course. But we need to stop spending time on the symptoms and attack the essential problem.

    • “The act of male “gaytitude” is what the Torah forbids”- what is the gaytitude?

      • Ruth

        Specifically, D’rita, “a man may not lie with another man as he would a woman” – so male homosexual intercourse. D’rabbanan, I am not sure. It probably includes female homosexual intercourse as well.

        • Deoraita there is nothing about female sexual relationships. There is a rabbinic mention of this as “maaseh mitzrayim.” Again, why do we need to legislate against Maashe Mitzrayim to the gentiles? It makes no sense.

          • The issue here is not legislating against the act, but leaving the status quo in which marriage is defined as a commitment between a man and a woman vs. those who want to redefine marriage from the way that the Creator defined it, and elevate a certain act into a formal institution of a marriage relationship.

          • Why do you care how marriage is defined? It makes no difference, not to your marriage or to mine.

          • Are you asking me that question from a Torah perspective or from a secular perspective?

    • It matters in principle. If it is allowed to be called marriage- there would seem to be no difference between a gay couple and a regular couple. But there is, because a man and woman complete eachother on a spiritual and physical level and naturally create children together

      • The problem with your argument is that we live in a country that has (or is supposed to have) a separation of church and state. Yes, according to most religions, same sex couples cannot get married, but we do not live in Jewmerica, we live in America.

        Now I have a question. As a Jew (I am guessing you are Jewish), is your marriage in the context of Judaism more important or is the legal document you received from city hall more important to you? I am guessing that you care more about marriage under the chupa. So fine, you object to same sex marriages in terms of Judaism’s view of spirituality, but why should a legal document matter? Maybe a solution would be changing the legal term “marriage” to “civil union” on a state or federal level, and leave “marriage” to be at the discretion of religious institutions? And at the end of the day, same sex couples who live in states that don’t allow same sex marriage can still have ceremonies and can still consider themselves married. So why not let two people of the same sex who love each other be granted the same legal freedoms as two people of opposing sexes?

        • Ruth

          Naomi, exactly! The terms should not be confused, and I think that if they were not, much of the debate would disappear!

        • So you believe that we shouldn’t be able to vote on the topic? We vote according to what we want our country and world to look like. I want the the place I live to align with my beliefs as much as possible.

          • Naomi Feuerstein

            I never said anything about denying you or anyone else the right to vote on any topic. That is a fundamental part of democracy. I don’t understand where you got that misconstrued idea.

            You are completely entitled to your opinion and to voice that opinion in a political way. I personally disagree with your views on gay marriage. More than that, as a fellow Jewish woman, I disagree with allowing your religious beliefs to interfere with human equality. I understand wanting to live somewhere that upholds your values, but I don’t understand imposing your religious beliefs on a secular system.

          • Basya Feldman

            I definitely understand your point. However I do not refer to them as “religious beliefs.” I believe in certain truths. And I searched for them. And I came to conclusions about the person I want to be and what I would want our world to look like. I believe in these concepts with every part of me. Therefore they will be integrated into every decision I make- from my clothes to my voting. I do believe in human equality- we should all have the same rights. And I do not believe that any of us should have the right to marry a same sex partner.

        • Rebecca Klempner

          Here’s the thing:
          From a cross-cultural and historical perspective, the term “marriage” is overwhelmingly referring to a relationship between a man and a woman. That is even true in cultures that do not shun homosexuality. It’s theft of a term for one thing to apply to another.
          You can give all the legal rights of marriage under secular law to people who have domestic partnerships. But it would not be a “marriage” in most cultural and historical milieus.

          • Naomi Feuerstein

            A marriage is when two or more things come together. Yes, in the context of human relationships “marriage” has typically been used for a union between a man and woman. However, there were no societies that openly allowed a true union between people of the same gender (i.e. having a family together). Just because historically something was one way, doesn’t mean it will be or has to be forever. And if you must, say “same-sex-marriage”.

            Really my point was that the term marriage (as your point emphasized) creates an unnecessary hullabaloo. People should have the same rights within a secular legal system regardless of sexual orientation.

      • How do men and women complete each other? Please.

        • If you believe in The Zohar, there are sources that explain that Adam and Eve were created as one being and then separated. proof of this is how the shapes of our bodies fit together and when they fit together, they can create something. In Kabbalah it explains that the physical features of a man and woman are representative of their emotional and physiological natures- which naturally complete each other.

          • Rebecca Klempner

            For the Litvish in you, there are mussar-based works that suggest the same.

    • its only a problem if we care, maybe we shouldn’t dont know the answer to that.. our sages say that the 7 laws of noach are what the system of law of the goyisha nations should protect, writing a marriage contract for homosexuals is in violation of the 7 noicide laws for non-jews… should it be a big issue for us to propagate this idea, not if its the cause of argument. people should be told to vote their conscience and if they ask for advice individually or as a group……any good leader knows you cannot lead people in a direction they dont want to go.

  • I understand your genuine desire to leave this issue behind. I have honestly looked for a way out of caring about this for a long time.

    If this were just a matter of religious views, that would be one thing. But opposition to defining any other arrangement than a women and a man coming together as marriage is not just about religion. There will be consequences to redefining marriage, particularly for children. If the institution of marriage becomes genderless, we are basically saying that children do not need both mothers and fathers. Even apart from our religious beliefs, we know that this is simply untrue.

    This is an excellent piece on the religious person’s difficulty in confronting the issue of gay marriage. It is from a Catholic point of view but I think you will connect with the world view: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2013/04/the-difficulty-with-engaging-gay-marriage.html

    An excerpt:

    “In regards to the gay marriage debate, the Catholic should oppose the redefinition of civil marriage out of love for others.

    For me — saved by Catholicism from the Adam-and-Steve argument, hatred, and all the rest — the question of redefining civil marriage ultimately boils down to this: Do children have the right to a mother and father? If the answer is yes, then I oppose the redefinition of marriage on the grounds that such a redefinition would restrict a child’s basic, human right. Genderless marriage means the creation of new, intentionally fatherless and motherless family structures. This is not a question of religion, nor a conservative position upheld for the sake of conservatism, and it certainly isn’t hatred. It is concern for human families and their children. It is a view shared by men and women who are gay themselves, proving — once again –that no matter how hard our culture tries to objectify gays and lesbians into emotion-driven creatures that couldn’tpossibly think for themselves, they turn out to be — shock! — unique human beings who exist outside of our political brushstrokes.”

    Many blessings,

    Sr. Theresa

  • Asher Lovy

    As a religious Jew I oppose gay marriage on principle, meaning I do not approve of it and believe it is morally wrong, but I don’t treat gay people any differently than I treat anyone else. I can’t presume to understand their nisayon, it is not my nisayon, therefore I cannot judge them as people. I can disapprove, I can know that what they’re doing is immoral, but I can’t mistreat them because of it. That’s between them and God, not them and me.

    Gay marriage, however, is a separate issue. We life in a country governed by a constitution. Granted, much of the moral foundation of our country comes from Judeo-Christian values, the framers never intended this country to be governed by Judeo-Christianity; they intended this country to be governed by the constitution. Constitutionally speaking, there is no reason for gay people to be denied the same governmental consideration as heterosexual couples. Marriage, as a government institution, is largely a financial benefit. Marriage as defined by the government is not a religious institution, it is a government institution to accommodate the needs of two people who sare their lives together thus changing the nature of their financial needs and situations. To deny those benefits to two people who need them because they are gay, regardless of the fact that their financial and living situation is exactly the same as any heterosexual couple, is discriminatory and unconstitutional. Check your bibles at the door when you enter the Supreme Court.

    • Ruth

      Asher, I completely agree with you, though I would go the step farther and say that Governmental “marriage” should go by the term of Civil Union (or Partnership) in order to distinguish it from Religious Marriage.

      • Asher Lovy

        You run into “separate but equal” problems with civil unions. That’s like saying to a black person that he can’t drink from your water fountain, but that there’s a lovely working water fountain over there that he can drink from. The government is under no obligation to recognize religious marriage and by extension protect it. In fact, the separation of church and state would preclude that. The reason, I imagine, why legal marriages are called “marriages” is because that was the socially recognized term for a “civil union” between a man and a woman. I agree with you that in the eyes of the American people and the world, legalizing gay marriage would legitimize it and put it on an equal plane as religious or heterosexual marriage, and like I said I oppose that on principle, but once marriage is a recognized term for that kind of legally recognized union, and marriage is not something exclusively religious, the government cannot allow union between a gay couple to be termed differently than union between a heterosexual couple.

        • Ruth

          I agree- but that was not quite what I meant. All Governmental unions of that sort, hetero or homosexual, should be called what they are- Civil Unions.

          • Asher Lovy

            Interesting. A friend of mine told me that she would prefer if government marriages were abolished altogether and your tax benefits depended on the number of dependents. I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen, but I suppose that would be equal too.

          • Ruth

            I think I agree with her.

        • the courts will have no choice but to distinguish once the many law suits related to these unions start cluttering the system..

    • i would argue that rape, murder, sealing, cheating is immoral, but not consenting gay couples being together, that is not immoral but un-holly. un-holly would be that which separates us from our base desires but causes no financial or other kind of civil damage. a man that sleeps with many women, if hes not deceitful, is not immoral but un-holly. a man eating a hot dog at a urinal is acting un-holly, not immoral. what is kadosh- holly or not is defined by god through the torah. all people have things to work on, we should be morew concerned with our own holliness and worried about the physical needs of others… not the reverse

      • Asher Lovy

        If morality is defined by the Torah then yes it is immoral. If something more objectively–in your opinion–immoral were being legitimized, as it were, by the government, would you not want to protest, regardless of your own flaws? My flaws notwithstanding, I still believe that the legalization of gay marriage is legitimizing something immoral. I may not be able to actually do anything to change that based on the laws of this country, but I can still object on principle.

  • I support civil unions and domestic partnerships. Marriage means something very specific and should continue to mean that. Biblically, when our Forefathers entered into a relationship that differed from a “Marriage” they called it something else.

    OT – I have a male friend who wanted to enter into a civil union with a female in California. He is not legally permitted to. Only gay couples are allowed to create civil unions. Equality?

    • *He is Jewish and did not want to “Marry” a non Jew – because it would not fit the Torah definition of “Marriage” – I think a fitting analogy.

    • Truth is, I think it makes sense to just call it all civil unions if it’s (ahem) civil. Anyway, I guess the point of the post is that we shouldn’t get too caught up in these specifics and spend more time on our “circle of influence” as Stephen Covey put it.

  • Pingback: Why Baal Teshuvas are bad for the frum community()

  • Nisan Vile

    You are so right. You brought that out so well I’m blown away. Especially the whole thing about chinuch. I’ve been trying to find the right words for this reactive/proactive thing for so long this is perfect. Thank you very much

  • you make an excellent point when you write that before reaching an opinion about gay marriage you consider how you would treat your own children if they were gay. This is a good maxim to follow and is rooted in the most exalted traditions of Torah Judaism. The positive commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself requires us to put ourselves imaginatively in the situation of other people before judging them.

  • The world is becoming a place where there are no boundaries. Everything is okay. And when a law announces to the world that a marriage between two men is just the same as a marriage between a women and man– that is turning the world upside down. G-d created a men and women to complete each other, and create children together– when making children becomes unimportant, and the way G-d intended the world to be is disregarded, everything becomes more blurry and chaotic. I’m not saying that gay men should not be allowed to be together, but it should not be promoted in society as an ultimate situation…

    • why are you writing the same thing 3 times?

      • liveandletlive

        Because this is what all of you need to read!!

  • jacklacton

    When they get married a man and woman make terrific sacrifices in terms of personal freedom, financial comfort and the ability to have sex with whomever they want. Men teach boys how to be men. Women teach girls how to be women. Women civilize men. Marriage creates a connection to past generations so that children can learn their family and society history, culture and values. Men and women spend 18+ years wiping kids’ bottoms, getting up in the middle of the night to feed/tend them, take them to school, sports training, piano lessons to name just a few time consuming activities. Society recognizes the importance of marriage by giving it a higher social status than singlehood, as well as tax and family benefits.

    What sacrifice do gays make in getting married that are for the betterment of society (and that they would not do if they were single)?

    The argument is about providing a group of people with a status they cannot earn. That’s why civil unions are such an appropriate institution. It places gay couples above single people but below married couples while also providing a legal framework for the union in terms of assets etc.

    • Gay marriage includes everything you listed about heterosexual marriage, with the exception of male body parts for lesbian relationships and female body parts for male relationships. Gay families teach their children how to function in society, family history, culture, and values. They take care of their children and change diapers and get up in the night to feed them, and take them to school, sports, etc. The couple makes the same monogamous committment as well.

      I just don’t think a vagina or penis is critical in raising children. I guess you do. Oh well.

      • liveandletlive

        Um, no it doesn’t.. a child needs the women’s nature in order to get what he/she needs from a mom and vice versa from a man.. the child needs the combination of the two on a constant basis in order to thrive in society and be the person they need to be. This has nothing to do with body parts but human nature. As a child of divorce I definetely feel it..

      • jacklacton

        Gay couples with children represent a tiny, tiny fraction of the gay population so to use them as the basis for changing one of the foundational institutions of civilisation seems a bit much, especially given the tenuous ‘proof’ provided by the pro-gay lobby – and the much stronger proof of the harm done to children of same-sex couples that is starting to emerge (after all, it’s only a recent thing). Even more tenuous is the claim that gay couples can adopt/have in vitro fertilisation to achieve a family.

        A woman cannot teach a boy how to be a man. A man cannot teach a girl how to be a woman. Doesn’t matter how hard they try they cannot. Cannot. Cannot. Boys that grow up without fathers are very much more likely to be involved in crime than those who don’t.

        • Where do I start. I’m a Jewish gay man who married his high school sweetheart (we’re together 29 years) who happens to also be a Jewish gay man. We were both raised by non-gay parents in loving homes. We are raising our son in a loving and spiritual home and I think that you might change your opinion if you got to know us on a personal level.

          You are completely wrong about your claims regarding harm done to children. The scientific evidence is clear, having two loving parents in a stable household is the best environment for raising children regardless of the genders of the parents. And that does not mean that children in other situations cannot have successful lives. Nor does it mean that every child in the best circumstances will turn out well.

          By the way, we were married with a katubah by a Rabbi and our version of the Jewish religion supports and embraces same gender marriage. No one person or group “owns” the truth of g-d or religion. There is separation of church and state for a reason. I have no interest in getting married by your Rabbi or in your synagogue. I simply want the CIVIL RIGHT to marriage as granted by the state. Take a look at your marriage certificate, it was issued by the state.

          The rest of this seems predicated on outdated and harmful gender role preferences.

          • jacklacton

            Congratulations, Andrew, on the length and stability of your union. I have gay friends who have been together for more than 20 years and who are partners via civil ceremony. I am extremely impressed by their commitment to and love for each other.

            To the science – there is strong evidence that children of gay couples are more socially backward than those of straight parents. This is not going to be true in all cases, as it may not be in yours, but it is what is emerging at the moment to the dismay of gay marriage advocates.

            I agree that it is better to be brought up by two loving gay people than in a dysfunctional, unloving household but that’s a straw man argument. The comparison needs to be loving straight couple vs loving gay couple. There is no doubt that a child will be most balanced in the former than the latter.

            ‘Outdated and harmful gender role preferences’ – you must have gone to an elite university to believe such drivel. And arrogance, too, that you are wiser than all of the great thinkers and moralists of the last two thousand years.

            The proponents of gay marriage have to a) demonstrate that it is not harmful for children and b) will not undermine one of the foundational institutions of civilisation. Stamping your feet and saying I want it to be true in the narcissistic manner of your typical urban leftist is not a sound way to argue, as isn’t calling people haters or homophobes (which I note that you do not do). There truly is a lack of wisdom on the part of the pro-gay marriage people, in my view.

          • Leanne O’neill

            Regarding your comment ‘to the science’; the study you speak of has received a large volume of critisism due to its flawed methodology and ethical flaws. Please see; http://chronicle.com/blogs/percolator/controversial-gay-parenting-study-is-severely-flawed-journals-audit-finds/30255

        • Luckily, boys don’t need to know how to be men and girls don’t need to know how to be women. All we need to know is how to be civilized human beings, and luckily, any similarly civilized human being can teach us those skills.

          Seriously, what are you referring to? I have girls and boys and after reading your post, maybe I am not teaching my girls how to be women. What do you mean? Bra shopping? Kugel making? How should I teach them to be women?

  • Talia bat Pessi

    Oh my gosh this is such a good article. Thank you for writing this.

  • Dear Elad. You write on your FB page that this article came from discussions with a certain anti-religious gay fellow (may Hashem have mercy on him).

    But why didn’t you consult with Torah sources before making such a statement? Had you done not too much research, you would have learned that the Gemara in Chullin (92a-b) lists three things the goyim refrain from to their credit, and one of the items is that they do not recognize homosexual marriage. This means that despite all the idolatry and sexual immorality of those times, the gentiles had a minimal recognition of what is right and wrong, and this was considered a merit.

    There Rashi comments on the words “That they do not write a kesubah for males”: “even though they are suspect on homosexuality and they set aside a male for sexual purposes, they do not act with such frivolity (kalus rosh) with regards to this mitzvah to such an extent that they write for them a marriage contract (kesubah)).

    So Chazal clearly condemn this practice and in fact point to it as the depths of immorality, and being far worse than the act itself, and anyone identifying himself or herself as an Orthodox Jew must know that these are the values they should be identifying with and promoting as Orthodox Jews.

    • we don’t legislate the rambam or halacha. Otherwise, please support laws banning adultery, etc.

      • zale123

        Miriam, you seem to keep pushing this “we don’t legislate Torah” statement.

        Forget the Torah for a moment. I want to marry my daughter or my dog, is there a problem with that? We both consent, and we promise to raise children, get up at night for them, educate them etc..

        Tell me ONE thing wrong with what I want to do. Please. And don’t you dare start quoting the Torah, because we don’t legislate Torah, remember?

        Miriam, is ANYTHING acceptable in society, as long as there are two consenting people?

        • dGratt

          1. A dog cannot give legal consent. 2. If your daughter is an adult and is mentally competent I really do not care.

        • okay, Zale. Pay attention. Ready? Neither a child nor a dog can consent. Not legally, not morally, never. That’s also why your dog can’t buy a house or a car. The end.

        • If you are referring to your adult daughter, incest is taboo for a variety of reasons. The primary problems as I see them are the power issues inherent in this type of unhealthy relationship and also the medical issues.

        • Notice how well I managed not to quote the Torah. That’s because we don’t legislate the Torah. FYI, there are some sexual relationships permitted by the Torah yet forbidden by many states. Yet, those states will make exceptions for religious Jews.

      • The Torah does support laws criminalizing adultery.
        According to Torah, the non-Jewish world should legislate the Sheva Mitzvos, which this is one of.
        The Chullin passage concerning respect for the Torah doesn’t refer to a legal system, just to a societal attitude, but with regard to formalizing mishkav zochor unions, it certainly does refer to the non-Jewish legal system, and clearly condemns such formalization as the ultimate moral depravity.

        • dGratt

          So you support laws against Sodomy (male-male sex)? Because that is basically what you are asking for.

          • Such civil laws used to be followed, but I don’t think that in the current western world a campaign for them to be adopted again is feasible. However, to campaign that the status quo in which marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman simply be left alone–that is something that is definitely feasible.

        • The first of the sheva mitzvos bnei noach is not to worship idols. Why don’t you worry about criminalizing any non-monotheistic behavior and then when that’s all done, get back to us about the gay marriage thing.

          • Yochanan

            Or, how about us Jews fixing up our own problems first before lecturing the whole world.

  • Pingback: Why The Religious Need To Stop Fighting Gay Marriage | Pop Chassid | Aleph Melbourne()

  • Boruch S.

    The whole concept of marriage rights and legalizing gay marriage is mind-boggling. Why is the government involved in marriage in the first place? Marriage laws and customs can vary according to your faith, but the underlying theme of marriage is that it is making a promise to commit to someone in front of God. That is why you need a priest, minister, rabbi, or some sort of holy man there as a witness. It seems to be a religious issue, not a political one. If you are unable to get married, you need to sit down and think about your religion and your spiritual values. If you are a religious person and you want to participate in a gay marriage, you have to decide whether to follow the doctrine of your faith, or whether you want to find a new faith. The person you should be talking to is not your local government representative. So in summation, Point A- Marriage is a spiritual issue.

    Point B- What is marriage from a Jewish Perspective? G-d created adam and eve as one person. originally man was created whole/complete-both male and female. The natural state of the human is to be a man and woman unified. Then G-d separated man and woman, and made it the mission of the person to reunite with their other half. Why would G-d do this? Why would he separate man and woman if they were complete? Why “fix something that isn’t broken?” Simple. To give man a choice. To give man an opportunity to make marriage into a spiritual service to connect to G-d. The mitzvah of getting married is placed on every human to try their best to find their soulmate. Marriage, from the Jewish perspective, is not a union of two people. It is a REunion.

    In The secular world, a man tells a woman, “I need you in my life,” “I can’t live without you,” “i love you, and want to spend the rest of my life with you,” “you’re my everything,” etc. secular marriage seems fairly selfish. I need you, I want you therefore I want to marry you. It is a union based on love/infatuation. When the foundation of a marriage is emotion-love/infatuation, what happens a few years down the line, when the love doesn’t come easy? what happens when the craziness you felt when you first met begins to fade away, and real life sets in? what happens when you find your significant other no longer as attractive? what happens when you no longer love someone? why should you stay married to them? if a marriage is based on love, and the love is removed, the marriage is not based on anything. why remain in such a union? maybe because its comfortable, maybe because of kids, maybe because of finances, maybe because of anything. Or maybe you’re one of those almost 50% of couples that decide to end it.

    In Judaism, you don’t form a union with someone. you form a REunion. you don’t get married because you want to love someone. you get married because reconnecting with your other half is part of your life’s mission. It is a mitzvah, it is a requirement, it is a part of your life’s purpose. your time on this earth is not by chance. you’re here because there is something you can contribute that no one else can. you have an integral part to play in the ultimate goal of creation-making this world a dwelling place for G-d. So a Jewish man marries a woman, not from an emotional place, but from a place of Logic/Rational ie the Shidduch System. He tells her, we are compatible, we can work well together, i’ve done the research and we are a good match. We share the same core values, we share the same goals, we share the same common vision. We both want to fulfill the mitzva of reconnecting with our other half. I want to marry you, and I will therefore do whatever it takes to make this reunion work. whatever you need, i will provide. if you need love, i will love you. I don’t marry you because i love you, i love you because i’ve married you.

    So now let’s get back to the theme of Same-Sex Marriage. Can two men (or women) love each other? yes. can they make each other happy? yes. can they decide to live together and remain devoted to each other for the rest of their life? yes. can they sign a piece of paper that says they are committed till death to us part? yes. can they have a marriage by Jewish definition? no. A Jewish marriage is a reunion of two souls: one male and one female. Two men can love each other for all eternity, but it will only ever be a union.

    “What am I supposed to do? I am gay! I was born this way, it’s not a choice!”

    you’re absolutely right. being gay is not a choice at all. Just like everything in life. you don’t get to choose the family you were born into, your financial situation, your natural skillset/talents, your temperament, your personality type, the people who surround you and influence you, you don’t get to choose your sexual preference, you don’t get to choose the opportunities presented to you in life, you don’t get to choose any physical handicaps/impairments you were born with or have, etc. etc. etc. you don’t get to choose any of those things. you don’t run the world, G-d does. That is the concept of Hashgacha Protis (divine providence). Where does Bechira Chafshis (free choice) come into play? you don’t get to choose the cards you were dealt with, only the way you play them. you don’t get to decide whether or not your car is going to get stolen, you only get to decide how you are going to react to that situation. will you get angry, curse G-d, curse the world, display anger and aggression to everyone around you? or will you realize that everything has a reason and comes from G-d and there is no reason to be upset? Are you going to take the money you received from your Bonus this year and buy a new flat screen tv? or are you going to realize that the money truly came from G-d and he is presenting you with an opportunity to do a mitzvah with it. the only money you can every truly own is the money you give away to charity, or spend on doing a mitzvah or help other people. once you use your money to accomplish a mitzva it is now yours for all eternity, no one can ever take that away from you. the money you have stored in your bank is not yours. it was given to you by G-d and can be taken away easily (whether through theft, or having to pay medical bills, or whether it will be taken to used for other emergencies). the money you use for doing a mitzva goes into your “spiritual bank account” and can never ever ever be withdrawn. it is yours. the only choice you truly have is whether or not to do a mitzva or to do an aveira (sin), and you have done a mitzvah. that is yours, you own it.

    The Torah predates the creation of the world. The Torah is written directly by G-d. It is not a history book. It is an infinite work, written by an infinite being, that can be learned on deeper and deeper spritual levels ad infinitum. we use the torah as the guideline for how we should live our lives. the tora tells us what is expected from us. the torah tells us how we can connect to G-d by doing all the various mitzvos. Everything presented in the Torah is true. Every mitzva given over to us can be achieved by everyone. Obviously, some are harder than others. Everyone is completely different (otherwise you wouldn’t be on this earth if someone else can do what you do) and therefore different mitzvas come easily or more naturally to you than others. And that’s OK. It is not a system where you are judged based on the abilities of others. You are judged based on your own set of standards. Nobody expects you to be a great Rabbi, or Talmudic Scholar, or Amazing Torah teacher. You are only expected to the best you can with what you have. You are expected to do your best and that is all you can do. There is no mitzva that is impossible to perform, only those that are more challenging for you than they are for someone else. Don’t be disappointed when I forget to make the After blessing after I eat. For you, it comes naturally. for me, it is incredibly challenging and you have no idea the inner battle that rages in me whether or not to make the blessings after i eat. Still, even though it is hard for me. It is not impossible. It can be achieved. I can do it. I don’t have to settle for not praying, just because it is difficult. I can do it. I can overcome my temptation, I can overcome my nature. I can be in charge of myself.

    Being gay is not a choice, but conversely, engaging in sexual intercourse with a man is expressly forbidden in the Torah. What can you do? You can’t simply just change your nature and be straight. that’s like telling someone straight to be gay. I can’t advise you on what to do or how to live your life. Ultimately it’s your choice. But if you believe in the Torah, if you believe in G-d, you can make the right decision. Just because you want to do something the Torah forbids, doesn’t mean you have to. I can’t tell you what to do, or what not to do, all i can tell you is that I truly sympathize (although probably don’t understand) with your challenges. Ultimately, the only one who decides your Judgement is G-d. Not your parents, not your family, not your friends, not that rude guy at the grocery store. You have your own special connection/relationship to G-d, and you need to figure out who you are and what your values are.

    ————————–

    So, if a child admits to being Gay, i agree with the author, that they must be accepted and loved. They have challenges in life just like everyone else. The way to reach them is not by shutting them out, or telling them they’re wrong. Only by telling them we care and that we have faith they’ll make the right decisions.Nobody is worse or better than anyone else. Everyone is different. Everyone succeeds at times, and fails at times. And yet with all our imperfections and shortcomings, G-d still created us and put us in this world because he NEEDS us. You are an integral part of our collective mission. I wish everyone much success with all their internal struggles, and hopefully by doing our best, and trying our hardest, we can merit the ultimate purpose of the creation of this world, Moshiach. may he come immediately.

    • Ruth

      Boruch, this is one of the very few times I have found someone else who shares my view on this matter, and put it so eloquently. Thank you, very much. May I post this elsewhere, crediting you?

      • Boruch S.

        Thank you very much Ruth. Of course you may repost, share, or edit my post however/wherever and with whomever you wish. There is no need to credit me; I’m just glad if I am able to help you put an opinion into words. Good Luck!

  • I wish that all the people arguing on this post would take a second to look at it and understand that this isn’t about legalizing or not legalizing. It’s about taking control of our own reaction to something, whether we agree or disagree with what steps are taken by the outside world.

    In other words, what is our own mission in this regard? Is it to get into these energy-depleting arguments or to go out and change things we have the power to change? The answer seems clear in my opinion.

    • Asher Lovy

      Then you misapplied the title to this article. If this wasn’t about gay marriage, then you should have titled it “Why religious Jews should be more accepting of people they believe are sinning.” The general idea you lay out in your article is quite agreeable. Parents should love and accept their children even if they don’t approve of their actions, because your child is your child regardless of what he does. Frankly we need a lot more of that in the religious world. Your title, however, probably intentionally so, is incredibly misleading and unnecessarily inflammatory. You probably knew that when you applied it to this article, and wanted the controversy factor to drive the discussion. If it wasn’t calculated then you need some work on properly titling your articles. Either way, the fact that people miss your point is entirely your fault.

      • I said exactly what I wanted to say in that title. The title you have chosen to apply, and the lesson you have chosen to take out from my comment and my blog post, are decidedly not what this blog post is about. You just took the first half of my blog post and turned that into the lesson.

        • Asher Lovy

          “Let’s take the national debate beyond breaking down barriers, and focus on the foundation that needs to be created after those barriers are broken down.

          Otherwise, we’re just parents in denial, desperately trying to lock the door to control our world while our children are sneaking out the window.”

          I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. In fact, it’s why I didn’t attend the internet asifah. I felt they were spending so much time on creating a barrier which had already been so broken, and spending no time on the people who had already broken it. What I felt they should have done was have the internet asifah, but also had a speech or two in those four hours addressing how to discuss this with your kids, once they discover the internet, and how to react to someone who tells you he’s “so far gone” without calling him a shegetz and kicking him out of yeshiva.

          That being said, the foundations you’re talking about should still be rooted in the moral beliefs defined by the Torah. Gay marriage, according to the Torah is wrong. While you’re right that we do need to treat gay people like *people* and not as disgusting sinners, we still cannot approve of gay marriage if we choose to call ourselves religious Jews. Therefore, when you have a title like this on, “Why The Religious Need to Stop Fighting Gay Marriage,” you imply that the battle has been fought and lost, and that we need to retreat from our moral beliefs because the world at large finds them unpopular.

          A better title for what you say was the point of this article would have been “Why The Religious Need to Stop Fighting About Gay Marriage.” Because in that regard you’re right; we spend so much time fighting about gay marriage we forget that there are people, actual people whom we know and love, who get caught in the middle of all the hate that gets thrown around in the argument.

          • Foot in your mouth much, Asher? Do me a favor. Next time, before you come and accuse me of sensationalizing the title of a blog post I write (all while using your own strongly-worded, assumption-laden, wording), take a second and look what I actually wrote. Then look at any other blog posts I referred to. Then look at the blog in general. Do you see what I’m getting at?
            It’s clear you didn’t read the blog post carefully the first time, and even clearer you didn’t read the blog post which preceded this one where I condemned gay marriage. Then you go on and try to back peddle by finding a different, imaginary problem with my blog post’s title.
            In such a case, why should I care how many prepositions you think I should add to the title? You haven’t taken my writing seriously, so why should I care what you have to say?

          • Asher Lovy

            I objected to your title, not to the content of your article. And yes, I do think you sensationalized because, as I said, the title and content aren’t consistent. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think your point in the article is that we waste so much time arguing about gay marriage, work ourselves into such a lather, that we lose sight of the problems that are more pressing, such as our own crumbling marriages and the way we treat our fellow man. The title should therefore, as I said, include the word “about” because no, we should not stop fighting gay marriage if we believe it is wrong, rather stop fighting about it so much and refocus on what this crusade is costing us. You may believe that we should stop fighting gay marriage period. You’re entitled to that. I assume that you believe it is wrong because your blog seems to be in line with the morality defined by the Torah, which declares homosexual acts to be a sin. My problem was always the title, not the content.

  • Pingback: A Hit and a Miss | Kol B'Isha Erva()

  • As per the norm, there is also discussion on reddit regarding this:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Judaism/comments/1bztp7/why_the_religious_need_to_stop_fighting_gay/

    I personally find it really interesting to read through the replies and to get a sense of what values people are portraying. I think it actually is valueable to discuss Marriage, in of itself, since there are a lot of internal assumptions being made about this.

  • > ” let’s discuss what marriage actually is.”

    Ok – this is definitely an interesting topic. And it’s inspired me to start a thread on reddit to ask just this question. Feel free to contribute: http://www.reddit.com/r/Judaism/comments/1c2mdu/discussion_jewish_marriage/

    • Boruch S.

      This is an excellent discussion to have. Before we try and figure out what Gay Marriage is, we first have to understand exactly what Marriage is. I’ve put a post on http://www.reddit.com/r/Judaism/comments/1c2mdu/discussion_jewish_marriage/ with my opinion, as i don’t think its appropriate to discuss the matter on this particular thread. The author’s article here seems to be more focused on the fact that we should be accepting everyone regardless of their challenges, because everyone is different and everyone has challenges. No one is better or worse than you, only different. G-d is the only one able to Judge us and he judges us based on a set of our own personal standards. If my child was Gay, I would be supportive. He is not worse than me, because he has a challenge that I don’t. I was born with challenges that he doesn’t have, how hypocritical would it be to place judgement on him! This of course applies to every single Jew. Every Jew should be loved and accepted, because we are not each other’s Judges. We all have to help each other do our best if we can, that’s all.

  • Finally, an actual response to the content. For the most part I agree. I’m not sure I hold the same views on Jewish Marriage as you do, but at least within the Secular realm ‘marriage’ or whatever civil contract people create should be ok. For eons Jews have lived with others that don’t follow the same rules, even sexually, that we do. Why should this be any different? As for discussing the Jewish concept of Marriage – this is very different and is precisely why I agree that we should discuss the concept of Marriage.

  • Sholom Rothman

    I understand the fact that you wouldn’t disavow your child who decided to go ahead with a gay marriage. But would you attend the ceremony? Would you invite the husband/wife of his child to his house as you would any other spouse of your children? That’s what you should be addressing.

  • disqus_kcBmLlHuzs

    Other people’s feelings are important however… people frame this discussion as rights vs. bigotry vs. accepting other people. The painful reality though, is that homosexuality doesn’t make sense neither according to religion nor according to science or biology/evolution. You can plug your ears and scream “bigot” or “inconsiderate” all you want. Put aside the politics and the semantics, and lets put some real science to figure out how to remove same-sex attractions. Science and religion do not depend on “rights” or the easy way out. Yes we respect people; but you call a spade a spade. I respect people with OCD, but its not a healthy state of mind. Neither is homosexuality. Legalizing gay marraige just adds to the problem and is a disservice to gay people themselves by putting them another step further away from any chance to solving the issue.

  • I believe that homosexual couples should be raising their respective children, irregardless of their, biological parents, marital status.

  • Amazing post – and this from a former critic.

  • a jew does not eat pork because Hashem says its not kosher, not because it doesn’t taste good. its not a debatable issue because its a violation of a Torah commandment. We should never show disrespect to any member of our community what people do behind closed doors is their own business, between them and Hashem. To ask an Orthodox Rabbi to write marriage contract for same sex, is to ask them to violate the Torah .. not because its disgusting, or they don’t want to, or think that the people aren’t nice and deserving, but simply because its prohibited, just like pork. gay individuals can and should be accepted as any other individual, if its civilly accepted than possibly they can pursue that avenue. solemnly, there cannot and will not be any other response of the Orthodox rabbis until Moshiach comes and sorts things out.

  • D. Elder

    To tell a religious person that they should ignore the word of G_d as expressed in the bible is tantamount to telling an American to ignore the constitution…the bible IS the constitution of the religious person. Therefore, a religious person has no choice but to oppose anything that promotes homosexuality.
    From a secular standpoint, homosexuality is an evolutionary dead end and the behavior of the majority of this population tends to be on the side of debauchery. Please don’t criticize me on this until you go to their websites and read their magazines….everything is about sex. For this reason it is not a good environment in which to raise a child. The innocence of the child is stolen and s/he becomes confused or “crooked” as the bible would say.

  • Flavor Lounge

    Why is saying no to that which the Torah forbids even a question. You must fall on your sword rather than accept it.

  • Michael Chandler

    In a nutshell, they oppose gay marriage because it doesn’t reflect God’s relationship with His Church. Jesus spent everything, including his life, for our sake, and the Catholic Church carries on with this. Read up on the Catechism sometime, the sections on homosexual marriage discuss the need to love people who’re confused about their unusual attraction and that homosexual marriage is a mockery of marriage, especially since Catholicism upholds it as a covenant.

    On another note, I totally buy treating gay people same as anyone else. Take away that scary attraction and they look just like anyone else here; I could care less if Nobama came to dinner with my family and paraded his evil views, I’d still treat him like anyone else.

    But I don’t see why we need to treat homosexual marriage with the same respect as traditional marriage, even in a legal sense. Homosexuals can’t have children naturally, their “love” isn’t the same self-sacrificing love Jesus teaches, and it gets harder to sort out because of the radical LGBT that bully everyone who disagrees with their sinful lifestyles.

    • JamaicanSecularHumanist62

      So by your logic a marriage between a man and woman who are unable to have children isn’t equal to one in which they can. I would like to know how one measure “love” between two people or how it is determined to NOT be self-sacrificing.

      • Michael Chandler

        Maybe, maybe not. Please quit with red herrings, the issue is why the religious people oppose gay marriage. Study marriage as taught by the Catholic Church, then you’ll know what marriage is and isn’t. Worldly things fade away, and little remains of them.

        Measuring love is a challenge. How does anyone learn what a married couple’s love is? By experiencing it. C. S. Lewis wrote a book on the four loves, which I hear is a simple read though I haven’t read it myself.

  • StriderMTB

    I agree with many of your sentiments. However you present a false dichotomy in your analysis of the current debate over gay marriage. One either accepts gay marriage and thus affirms the value of homosexuals, OR one is opposed to gay marriage and therefore hates homosexuals as “horrible, evil sinners”. This is simply not true.

    As a Christian I also feel the church has expended way too much attention and emphasis on the issue of gay marriage while there are a host of greater sins endemic in the church–like greed, materialism and fornication. I see no mandate in the Bible where we are called to campaign against any ONE sin. Rather we are called to live a life that transcends such sins in obedience to God’s sacred understanding of how life is to be lived. All sins “miss the mark” of God’s ideal and are thus self-destructive in the long run. The very word “sin” in the Greek language where the new covenant (testament) derives its meaning is “harmatia.”

    Harmita literally means “to miss the mark.” Whose mark? God’s! Gay marriage, adultery, rampant divorce, sex before marriage, incest, etc all such behaviors miss the mark of God’s ideal for marriage. Marriage is first and foremost sacred–which means it derives its origin from the mind of God. Where the Christian church errs is seeking to make the secular state adopt what is sacred and take on the appearance of holy living.

    However this is mis-guided–and I think you agree. We ought to live our lives in such a way that our lives are oriented towards the sacred and therefore serve as a testimony AGAINST secular living–not forcing the secular to adopt the sacred.

    But as a Christian I can still oppose gay marriage simply on the grounds that I am a concern citizen and believe it will be destructive to secular society and not promote health in the long run. If “love is all you need” and “being born with a certain proclivity” is sufficient grounds to have the state approve your behavior and sanction your love–tell me on what grounds a bi-sexual man can be denied marrying both a man and a woman, or a polygamous man marrying multiple women, or a man marrying an underage girl?

    The proponents of such behaviors all ground their desires in genuine love and the bi-sexual and pedophile can both state they were “born” with their sexual orientations and therefore their rights of free expression are being marginalized by the state. In our current culture, what argument can any secularist put forward to disenfranchise and discriminate against their “natural” desires and genuine feelings of love?

    My personal opposition towards gay marriage is rooted in my concern for the secular state and how the reasons the state has agreed to legitimize the issue has unwittingly restricted it from discriminating against other persons and activities in the future–such as bisexuals wanting to simultaneously be married to both sexes, polygamy, etc. Discrimination is not always bad! A host of our laws are based on discriminating between what is good for society and what is bad for society. We discriminate against crack dealers, we discriminate against sex-traffickers and sexual harassment, and we currently discriminate against pedophiles no matter how much they insist they were “born” with an orientation towards younger children, etc.

    I am spelled out more of my thoughts here: http://atheologyintension.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/gay-marriage-gay-hatred-both-desacralize-the-sacred/

    • JamaicanSecularHumanist62

      There is a little thing called CONSENT. Unlike polygamy, padeophilia involves a person who legally cannot CONSENT to an activity. Your argument is inherently flawed.

      • StriderMTB

        Thanks for the reply. What you have done is pull out a single example to qualify my entire argument as flawed. My argument did not rest on the issue of pedophiles–alone. I purposely mentioned bi-sexuals with a sexual preference for both men and woman and therefore want to be married to both simultaneously. I also mentioned polygamy and incest. In such cases all are adults….and even in the case of incest there are many cases where mutual consent and genuine affection is expressed. If our society believes “love is all you need” and “sexual preference” is irrelevant to the issue of marriage–fine. But given that fact, I want to know what is left that a secular state can pull from to discriminate against bi-sexuals, polygamists and incestual love? I’m not asking these questions from a religious standpoint. I only want to hear secular answers.

        Now as an aside I mentioned pedophiles. It is this example alone that you pull out as if it undermines and disqualifies the need to provide an answer for the point above. It is not essential to my argument, but it does bring up some interesting questions nonetheless.

        Unfortunately there are many cases where an underage girl or boy actually expresses a genuine affection and love for the individual we would call a pedophile. However as you state the law says their consent is not valid because they are not of 18–which is to say the law is discriminating against both the adult’s sexual preference and orientation and the expressed consent and affection of the underage individual. My point was simply to show that the law DOES indeed discriminate against individuals and behaviors all the time–and that is a good thing because the law recognizes that certain behaviors would be unhealthy and detrimental if they were to be adopted as an approved norm for the secular society.

        Despite the fact that an increasing number of academics and psychologists are now saying that pedophiles are “born that way” and their sexual preference is “natural” for them, I’d like to hear on what grounds a secular state can qualify their behavior as immoral or deviant? Do you think it is immoral JamacianSecularHumanist? Is it ONLY immoral because the law says you have to be 18 to give consent? What if a country has no such law (as some do not)? Would it then suddenly become moral? What if in the future the U.S. changes its law? Would it therefore suddenly become fine in your moral framework?

        Or would you say the behavior itself is deviant irrespective of whether or not social custom (law) condemns it, and irrespective of the fact that one’s sexual orientation is a product of being “born that way”?

        • JamaicanSecularHumanist62

          Heterosexuality, paedophilia, bisexuality, homosexuality and the like are all states of mind. It is non-sensical for there to be laws against person’s states of mind. In Jamaica there is no law against Homosexuality, the law is against buggery, which can be carried out on both men AND women.

          There are however laws against ACTIONS that people of those states of minds can commit.These include Hetero and homosexual rape, carnal abuse, sexual assault etc.

          “tell me on what grounds a bi-sexual man can be denied marrying both a man and a woman, or a polygamous man marrying multiple women, incest, or a man marrying an underage girl”—–There are many religions/cultures that allow both polygamy, polyandry and the marrying of “underage” women so having a fully secular society based on the individual’s right to self determination would not necessarily lead to prohibition of these activities. A secular state would recognize an individual’s right to choose while ensuring laws that protect the vulnerable.

          “The proponents of such behaviors all ground their desires in genuine love and the bi-sexual and pedophile can both state they were “born” with their sexual orientations and therefore their rights of free expression are being marginalized by the state”—A pedophile’s right to FULLY express his state of mind has to be curtailed by the fact that a young child cannot consent to certain activities. Laws already exist against this.

          Just because you and I find something icky doesn’t mean that there should be laws against it. People have a right to decide the type of relationships they want to be involved in, it is a fundamental human right. I find incest disgusting too, but if it is two consenting adults, the law should not intervene.

          A fully secular state can classify behaviour as “immoral” or “deviant” when the rights of others are infringed on. However there is no right to NOT be disgusted by polygamists, homosexuals or adults in incestual relationships

  • Nia H Aprilya

    What is G-d?