Toeiva marriage is legal in New York State. Governor Cuomo, a strong proponent of “equality,” stalwartly pursued its passage, making it his signature legislative achievement. Unlike Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s false assumptions that the New York Assembly doesn’t have the votes, it passed the Democratic-led Assembly by a large margin, and the Republican-led Senate didn’t do anything to stop the bill. The bill still faces many hurdles, and we should not yet surrender; however, as the headlines proclaimed, New York now became the beacon of darkness for the entire nation regarding this matter.
Orthodox Jews vehemently opposed the bill. Agudath Israel of America issued a statement declaring a must to defeat a “bill [that] is both morally and legally unacceptable, and [one which can] (could) lead to serious negative consequences”. The Orthodox Union released a declaration clarifying Jewish stance on this issue. “[Immoral] behavior between males or between females is absolutely forbidden by Jewish law, beginning with the biblical imperative, alluded to numerous times in the Talmud and codified in the Shulchan Aruch,” it stated.
Family values have always taken center stage in Judaism, as it is one of the Ten Commandments. The Torah classifies Toeiva-marriage as an abomination and strictly punishes one who violates the prohibition with the severe penalty of death. Furthermore, the Midrash states that legalizing such repulsive acts can endanger the entire society. “The generation of the Flood was not wiped out until they wrote the marriage documents for the union of a man to a male or to an animal,” declares the Midrash.
Yet, as the Toeiva community trumpets the “victory,” some in the Jewish community fail to realize the effect a redefined marriage will have on their personal lives. They believe that as long as Jews obey the laws of the Torah and don’t engage in such acts, it is acceptable to permit it. They’re afraid that such “discrimination” will eventually be used against them to undo much of the human rights that Jews and minorities enjoy nowadays.
Theodore Olson, a former solicitor general under George W. Bush, sued California over Proposition 8 – a ballot measure banning gay marriage in the state constitution. In his opening statement he declared: “… the right to marriage as one of the most vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness, a basic civil right, a component of the constitutional rights to liberty, privacy, association, an intimate choice, an expression of emotional support and public commitment, the exercise of spiritual unity, and the fulfillment of one’s self.” Thus, the question lingers: should we look the other way. All they really want is just some liberty and freedom, right?
An infamous circumcision ban is currently brewing for San Francisco. According to reports, Lloyd Schofield – the man behind the initiative – became interested in the topic after seeing the Bay Area Intactivists marching in the Pride Parade a few years back and has since become an “intactivist” himself. His pretense, of course, is “equal protection,” but his objective is obvious: if he’s truly for liberty, why would he restrict people from performing religious duties and customs?
The Jewish community ought to lament about a bill that purely rejected religion. There’s a connection between the marriage bill and the circumcision ban; they both offend religion. If it is freedom that they are seeking, why don’t they lobby for polygamy? Is zoophilia next? Marriage is between a man and a woman and the “activists” know it. They are simply anti-religion, hence their efforts. As Sen. Ruben Diaz righteously declared, “God, not Albany, settled the issue of marriage a long time ago.” The bill is a direct assault on religion and the religious. Although religious exceptions were placed in the bill, it is a matter of years until it will be challenged. We should ask ourselves: “should we wait until a circumcision ban is introduced in New York?”
Dave Hirsch is a political analyst and columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.