Below is a joint statement that has been sent to the members of the New York State Assembly as they are poised to vote on legislation to legalize “alternative lifestyle” marriage in New York State. Should the measure pass in the Assembly, the statement will be sent as well to the State Senate and Governor Spitzer.
On the issue of legalizing “alternative-lifestyle” marriage, the Orthodox Jewish world speaks with one voice, loud and clear:
We oppose the redefinition of the bedrock relationship of the human family.
We approach this issue through the prism of the Jewish religious tradition, which forbids Toeva acts, and sanctions only the union of a man and a woman in matrimony.
The institution of marriage is central to the formation of a healthy society and the raising of children. It is our sincere conviction that discarding the historical definition of marriage would pose a severe danger to society in a variety of ways. Thus, we are compelled to protest the proposed redefinition of marriage for the State of New York.
Moreover, we are deeply concerned that, should any such redefinition occur, citizens of New York who are members of traditional communities like ours will incur moral opprobrium and may risk legal sanction if they refuse to transgress their beliefs. That prospect is chilling, and should be unacceptable.
Society’s mores may shift and crumble but eternal verities exist. One is marriage. Its sanctity must be recognized and its integrity preserved.
AGUDATH ISRAEL OF AMERICA
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF YOUNG ISRAEL
RABBINICAL COUNCIL OF AMERICA
UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS OF AMERICA