Homosexual Marriage - Good/Bad for the Jews?
US President Barack Obama has warmly greeted as a "victory for American democracy" the US Supreme Court ruling that is is unconstitutional for the federal government to define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. The decision does not grant marriage rights across the US but gives gay couples in the 13 states that allow same-sex marriage equal standing to their straight peers.
Whereas this ruling is only a partial endorsement of homosexual marriage, the trend is clear that full equality of homosexual marriage in the USA, under Obama's leadership, is only an issue of time.
A brief history of homosexuality goes something like this:
1. Homosexuality is outlawed as sinful by the world's three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
2. It was criminal according to most legal codes around the world.
3. It was categorised as a mental disorder under the The American Psychiatric Association - and was removed in 1973; the rest of the world followed suit by removing homosexuality from International Classification of Diseases in 1993.
The first country to legalise same-sex marriage was the Netherlands in 2000; today eleven countries have legalised it, most recently France.
Opponents argue that same gender marriage undermines the traditional family and indeed society itself.
There is also the slippery slope argument that first homosexual marriage, then legalising incest, and bestiality, and then legalising pedophilia...
As an orthodox Jew, I am opposed to Jews entering into homosexual marriage, or indeed any homosexual relationship, as according to the Bible/Torah this is a sin - no less sinful than breaking the Sabbath, eating pork, or marrying one's sister.
I'm not sure to what extent it 'bothers' me, if non-Jews chose to break the Sabbath, eat pork, or even marry their sisters.
I am only 'bothered' to the extent that the wider society endorses behaviour which is antithetical to Judaism, which will influence fellow Jews.
No one is arguing that one MUST become a homosexual.
Only that those who are homosexual, should not be penalised for it under the law.
I wonder if legalising same-sex marriage in the USA is really any more a threat to Judaism than permitting non-kosher McDonald's restaurants in the USA, and providing entertainment and commercial activities in the USA on Saturdays, the Jewish day of rest?
Yes, it may make 'selling Jewish lifestyle' that much more difficult for Jewish outreach programs.
On the other hand, perhaps it will even serve to accentuates the "them and us" of the 'immoral' American lifestyle, vs the alternative 'high moral' value systems and lifestyles offered by Judaism and other religions.
Orthodox Judaism survived numerous antithetical philosophies and behaviours - including Darwinism (when used to disprove Genesis and undermine religious dogma), Enlightenment, Marxism, Liberalism, Materialism, etc...
I don't see why orthodox Judaism will be particularly impacted by the legalisation of same sex marriage in the USA?
Of course, it might be rather different if same sex marriage were to be legalised in Israel. Which several leading Israeli politicians have.. 'proposed'.