Friday, March 11, 2011

Gay Marriage

I’ve never really discussed gay marriage here- Halachically (Jewish law) or politically. I do think, however, those are two very different aspects.

According to Jewish law, homosexuality is a sin, and whether or not every act of homosexuality can be considered a sin from the Torah or the Rabbi’s, the point is, gay marriage as a Jewish religious institution, does not exist. The Rabbi’s never set boundaries or laws, or how a wedding should be performed between two people of the same gender. There is no Ketubah for same-sex couples, there is no Chupah, and while the institution can be created, it has not been, and probably won’t be from an Orhtodox perspective.

Politically, the country is torn, many people are confused, but a growing voice and opinion amongst many is the following: the institution of marriage is a religious one, and it should not be up to the state who is “married” and who is not. Instead, the state should be giving out civil unions. Between man and woman, man and man, woman and woman, there should be civil unions. For people who want to be “married”, that’s for their religious institution to decide, and for a religious marriage contract to establish. A political contract would be a union. Now I know this may sound radical to many, but I think it’s a distinct possibility of what may eventually solve the “gay marriage” controversy.

For myself, I do want a civil union. I want a partner, a husband, someone who I am connected to by civil law, sharing rights and benefits, and creating a family of my own. Having children is something I have discussed in the past, and will get to discussing again soon, but not in this post. I do wish my religion could recognize my family unit however I choose to create it, but when it comes down to it- Orthodox Judaism does not, but that does not make me want to leave the community, it’s just a fact that I accept.


  1. Nice post.

    I hope you know that there are ktubot written for same-sex couples. They clearly do not come from Orthodox circles, but text(s) do exist, and they are used in religious same-sex Jewish weddings.

  2. I agree with Aaron's statement above. Orthodoxy does not extend religious marriage to same-sex couples. However, there is a movement within other circles of Judaism to extend the marriage ceremony to same-sex couples. While I do not subscribe to those streams of Judaism, those unions are valid in their circles.
    I'd like to know why you would be willing to settle for a civil union as opposed to a secular marriage. While each religion has its own rules for unions with theological backing, this country prides itself on its separation between church and state. With that in mind, if there is to be any form of secular marriage, shouldn't it be open to all?

  3. Well, Orthodox Judaism may not recognize it as marriage...but then, what is marriage but a contractual deal? O Judaism can recognize a contract you draw up, so long as it's not halachic marriage (I assume it's that fact that bothers you). So it is possible to be joined to another man in contractual terms.

  4. Not to be verbose or to abuse the privilege of commenting but - the more I think about it - In my opinion, this stuff is kind of minor compared to getting involved in a meaningful relationship. Work on the relationship and I suspect that things will fall into place thereafter.

  5. @Bob Kosovsky what stuff is minor? and how is working on a an individual relationship gonna affect the religious law the prevents gay marriage?

  6. How about a more radical idea? Abolish all of marriage? And by that I mean state-sponsored marriage. Then people can decide who they want to live with themselves with no state involved in their agreement. Including polygamy and gay polygamy (sounds pretty awesome to me).

    You love eachother so much that you need the state to be in the middle of your relationship? Doug Stanhope can explain it more humorously than I ever can:

  7. Very interesting point. Actually, from a historical point of view one could argue that things happened the other way around: MARRIAGE used to be a civil institution (in the Roman period), and only later did the Church appropriate it and give it an additional religious dimension (in the Middle Ages). This isn't immediately relevant from the point of view of Halacha, although it is because the way we think about civil vs. religious, state vs. church etc. is based on that.


  8. If a religious male homosexual is able to find a partner, another male and this is where their happiness is being together for the rest of their lives then I feel there should be some kind of marriage made for the two of them.
    Marriage is where two people are able to give to each other on an equal basis and this can not always be found in a straight marriage, I know as I am living in one, its not all bad.
    Homosexuality is already a sin, one we have to live with so to put the topping on it, marriage that is, to a same sex partner is just an extension to the sin.
    We will pay for it in the end when we are either accepted to Olam Haba or not.
    So it’s our choice and that’s what Hashem did give us the freedom of choice.


It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews