Op-Ed: Same-Gender Marriage: An Affront To Religion

(Sunday, June 26th, 2011)

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.

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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?

Wrong.

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 davehrsch@gmail.com

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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22 Comments

  1. Ben Levi says:

    Thank You Dave Hirsh,
    I feel that you are more then correct that the ultimate purpose is to attack religion albeit under another guise.
    However people will have to come to understand that as this bill becomes law we orthodox Jews are in grave danger.
    How are we to be mechanech our children?
    How are we to teach them Torah?
    And as you alluded to it is only a matter of time before a liberal court strikes down some or all of the protections for religion on the grounds of discrimination.
    Hashem Yerachem.
    The hope we may have Al pi derech Hatevah is
    A) Vote out those who voted in favor of this disgusting bill thereby striking fear in the hearts of others.
    b) Vote in a conservative republican President who will select coservative Judges and then daven we win in the courts ;cause that is where it will wind up eventually,

  2. musicoutlet says:

    The way i look at things is we should vote for any other person then the one endorsed by the holy Aguda.

    Aguda sold their souls and all they care about is money money money money and more money.

    The Aguda parades every nutjob at their dinners who end up going to jail or losing their job the next week or so.

    I am sick and tired of watching honorees being anti torah and and anti religion.

    Why don’t we honor people who are learning in Kolel for 10 years and struggling to make ends meet? Isn’t this what we are taught to be machshiv our whole lives?

    Why aren’t we machshiv people who support torah and people who do chesed?

    I was never a big donor of the Aguda but I did give some checks yearly and those days will be over. Aguda will not see a penny. My money will be spent on more important things like people sweating in kollel who endorse the torah.

  3. shein says:

    Why are they being called “the Toeiva community” above?? Would you call “the adulterous community” or “the abortion community”? Of course not. They are not a “community”; they are just perverts.

  4. akuperma says:

    and so was legalizing adultery (it used to be illegal, meaning you could go to jail for it, and inevitably would suffer serious penalties in a divorce proceeding)

    Realistically, we have to accept that the frei Jews (or rather, secular persons of Jewish ancestry who might be Jewish, though that is unlikely if they are using a Jewish surname since that indicates a non-Jewish mother) are our enemies and will try to persecute us. We have become spoiled in America, and have gotten use to not being discriminated against (in any substantial way). We shouldn’t expect it to last.

    We might be able to make common cause with the “peoples of faith” – but that means working with people whose grandparents(at best)were likely to have been rabid anti-Semites (and in the case of Muslims, still are).

    Creating a greater distance between us and the frei Jews might help. At a certain point, they will be perceived as “others” who are simply tormenting us, and in places with a tradition of freedom of religion such as the USA (at least in the “red states”), this can offer as protection.
    However even YWN loves to cover stuff about frei Jews as distinct from goyim.That should change. The truth is that believe in “gay marriage” is on the level in believing that the diety knocked up a virgin in the galil – it is something incompatible with being Jewish,and we need to accept that those who have such un-Jewish ideas are for all purposes goyim, regardless of matrilinical ancestry.

  5. charliehall says:

    It is difficult to say that this law is a direct assault on religion and the religious when there were religious leaders (obviously not Orthodox Jews) who lobbied for it.

  6. MDshweks says:

    For all the ignoramuses who write: “Well, it’s Goyim any way, and also the forbidden act itself is anyway legal, and therefore it has nothing to do with the Torah”…

    the more a wrong act and an idea becomes legitimized the worse it is. see
    תלמוד בבלי מסכת חולין דף צב/א
    עולא אמר אלו שלשים מצות שקבלו עליהם בני נח ואין מקיימין אלא שלשה, אחת שאין כותבין כתובה לזכרים ואחת שאין שוקלין בשר המת במקולין ואחת שמכבדין את התורה:

    It’s a חילול השם of the first order that we care more about money than about the spiritual environment we live in.

  7. QuestionForYou says:

    What I’m wondering is why the Orthodox, Frum groups (e.g. OU, Aguda, Satmar) didn’t send busloads of Frum Jews to hold rallies and to protest the legalization of same-gender marriage, especially here in New York State, which, together with New Jersey, has the highest concentration of Frum Jews in America. Why didn’t they try to stop the bill from even being voted on? Exemptions for religious organizations isn’t the same as not having the legalization of same-gender marriage, to begin with. Non-Jews are forbidden to have same-sex relationships, re the 7 Mitzvos of Bnay Noach.

  8. 2pence says:

    What is an affront is that Mr. Hirsch thinks that imposing religious standards for marriage on the American public is a-ok. In fact, a law that has a purely religious basis is as unconstitutional as it gets.

    Second, the “intactivists” and the gays have nothing to do with each other, and Dave’s point is completely meaningless. He draws a complete non-sequitur. Just because one person became an intactivist means nothing. The fact of the matter is that, due to the religious exemptions, nothing in this law will affect the way that anyone practices their religion. At all.

    Finally, the “polygamy and bestiality” argument has been so thoroughly debunked that just seeing it removes any scintilla of credibility that Dave retained. As for polygamy, the state has a compelling interest in preventing the fraud that could easily be visited on its citizens. As for bestiality, that’s just so ridiculous that it’s unthinkable that an intelligent person would raise it. An animal cannot consent, or enter into a contract. And marriage is a contract, and requires consent.

  9. 25 says:

    To “musicoutlet” (#2),

    I have a Kollel in Eretz Yisrael (Ramat Bet Shemesh A to be precise), and we could certainly benefit from more financial support. If you are interested, please make your check payable to “Vaad Leorer Yeshainim” (it is a tax deductible organization, it’s IRS ID # is 237 297 745), and please write “Kollel Zichron Chaim Moshe Yonah” in the memo of the check. You can mail the check to the following address:

    Mrs. Sobel
    150 Boulevard
    Passaic, NJ 07055
    USA

    p.s. I know the street address sounds strange but that is in fact what it is.

    If you do send us a check I thank you for your support in advance.

    -Y.E.B.
    RBS A

    p.p.s. If you’d like to contact me directly, please have YWN forward me your e-mail address and I’ll bli neder get in touch with you.

  10. MDshweks says:

    #7, The answer is obviously very simple: these groups cannot turn their backs on politicians whom they told openly it’s not their priority…

  11. KIsh Echad BLev Echad says:

    And I quote, Moshe Rabbeinu, in THIS WEEK’s PARSHA (Korach): “V’Yedatem ki niatzu ha’anashim ho’eilah es Hashem”. “And you will know that these men angered Hashem.” Rabbosai, I would be very afraid for earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. or (perhaps wishfully speaking) a splitting of the Atlantic! (Or the Hudson ;) ) Hashem Yishmor.

  12. shein says:

    2pence:

    And why should you not be allowed to marry your mother or sister? If these pervs can marry, what’s wrong with marrying a parent or sibling?

  13. akuperma says:

    #7 asked why many of the gedolim attached a low priority to preventing same sex marriage

    The most likely answer is that it isn’t very important what they goyim do. We are just visiting here. Two-hundred years ago we didn’t live here, and two hundred years ago we’ll be someplace else. While it would be nice if the goyim observed their mitsvos, there’s nothing we can do about it (whether it is their strange sexual practices, or blookdthirsty behaviors, or their larceny, or their dubious religious beliefts). It isn’t our problem.

    What does matter is that the frum Jews focus on doing Torah and Mitsvos. Unless something involved in goyish practices directly affects us, most of the gedolim don’t encourage us to focus on it. We survive because of yidden doing what we are required to, not because of our neighbors (and admitted, including our long-lost and often non-Jewish cousins) doing what they are prohibted from doing.

  14. esmith92000 says:

    #13 said two hundred years ago we didn’t live here. Speak for yourself. Some of us had ancestors who came over more than two hundred years ago.

  15. apushatayid says:

    “As for bestiality, that’s just so ridiculous that it’s unthinkable that an intelligent person would raise it”

    My gradfather tells me that 75 years ago people said the same thing about homosexuality.

  16. zionflag says:

    #7,#13, and others.

    Orthdox American Jews are passive, in the past, present and probably will continue into the future years also. What happens in the society around us—filters down quietly at first, a little quicker next and then right in our backyards. (directly affects us)

    ALL JEWS are hashem’s children and we as sisters, brothers are not willing to write them off and disregard their holy neshamas. Our mantra of LIGHTING THE WAY morally, ethically and spiritually is everlasting and
    applies wherever we are presently living.

    Why are same-gender marriages low on the totem pole in the eyes of leadership? It is not a comfortable, tzinusdik subject to discuss…and there is an attitude that what we talk about will increase in our frum society. TOO LATE it is here already and education is necessary.

  17. QuestionForYou says:

    From the Pledge of Allegiance: “One nation, under G-d.”

    End of US Declaration of Independence: “We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, etc.”

    End of US Constitution: “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present, the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names, etc.”

    It would seem that the U.S. Founding Fathers included G-d in the founding of the U.S.

    If this same G-d created from Man’s rib, a Woman, and brought the Woman to the Man (not a Man to the Man) so that the Man shouldn’t be alone (in Genesis) and that the Woman should be a help meet for him, and G-d told them to Be Fruitful and Multiply (He told the Man and the Woman to Be Fruitful and Multiply, not a Man and a Man, or a Woman and a Woman), and He created the Man and Woman with the necessary reproductive organs to Be Fruitful and Multiply together;

    and the Man said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; to this shall be called Woman, because out of Man was this one taken.” “Therefore, shall a man leave his FATHER and his MOTHER and shall cleave unto his WIFE; and they shall be one flesh.”

    and G-d declared that homosexual relations are an abomination (Toeiva) in Leviticus;

    shouldn’t we listen to G-d?

  18. zamilenger says:

    With all due respect Mr. Hirsch, your writing here is a oxymoron.

    If you dignify this by calling it MARRIAGE, then what’s worng?

    You besmirch the word “marriage” by applying it to their animal lust.

  19. a mamin says:

    Why all the ranting against Agudah?

  20. charliehall says:

    “It would seem that the U.S. Founding Fathers included G-d in the founding of the U.S.”

    They also permitted idolaters and atheists to hold any office in the United States government, including President. The US has not followed the 7 mitzvot bnai Noach since June 21, 1788, when the Constitution’s ratification took effect. The small Jewish community then in America was incredibly enthusiastic because the very same clause that permitted an idolater to become President also made a Jew eligible to become President. It was the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire that any nation had made Jews full citizens.

    Worthy of note is that while some of the Founding Fathers were indeed devout, others were anti-religion. Adams, Franklin, and Rush held heretical views and didn’t hide them; Jefferson had to hide his radical views, and Paine was almost as anti-religion as any 20th century humanist.

  21. akuperma says:

    Polygamy is likely to be upheld. Once you totally discard the Christian definition of marriage that is the based of American law (one man, one woman) it will be hard to justify the ban on polygamy. Note that very few same-sex marriages involve children (and those are either adopted or children of only one of the partners), whereas polygamous marriages involve children. Polygamous marriages are fully consensual, and are quite tolerated as de facto relationships since they stopped enforcing the laws against adultery and “criminal conversation” (the only current legal issues deal with non-consenual relationships – really serial rape from a legal perspective).

    One might ask is whether the halachic prohibition of polygamy would still apply once it becomes legal in the US since many argue it was only to avoid conflict with the Christians (and never was accepted as halacha in any country where the goyim allow polygamy).

  22. RSG says:

    Why does’nt this true and well written article reflect the views of Yeshiva World?

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