Friday, April 02, 2004

Homosexuality in Halakhah IV

Statement regarding Same-Sex Marriages issued on March 30, 2004 by the Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union:

The Rabbinical Council of America and The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America reaffirm the following foundational principles and beliefs in unambiguous and unmistakable terms:

· Homosexual behavior is, and has always been, absolutely forbidden by Jewish law and tradition. Any attempt to characterize Jewish law and tradition to the contrary must be rejected.

· The only legitimate form of sexual behavior is that which takes place between adult men and women, within the sacred institution of marriage, as traditionally defined and permitted.

· Under no circumstances can Jewish tradition or law countenance a notion of so-called “Same-Sex Marriage” rituals or status under religious auspices. In our view, the term “marriage” by its very definition cannot be construed or applied to same-sex relationships. To do so is to deprive the term of its fundamental and defining meaning. The institution of marriage, and family life, as defined and practiced for thousands of years as between a man and a women, a father and a mother, respectively, is far too important and essential to the bedrock of society and civilization as we know it, to be thus undermined by those who presume to redefine its essence.

· At the same time we reaffirm that those who, in spite of their acceptance of these principles, have difficulty in living up to these standards, should be treated with compassion, sensitivity, and understanding, in our synagogues, in the Jewish community, and in society at large.

· We further note that Passover, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt, is an especially appropriate time to reaffirm these principles. As Leviticus 18 makes clear, the liberation was not only from slavery and infanticide, but also from the sexual depravity practiced in ancient Egypt, which, as understood by the Sages of blessed memory (Sifra Lev. 132), included the legitimization of same-sex marriages.

We thus call upon our fellow Jews and fellow citizens to stand opposed to any attempt, whether judicial, legislative, or religious in nature, to bestow the sanctity of marriage upon same-sex couples.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More