In Jewish law, gay marriage is still not considered a true marriage. So a rabbi from the West Bank has figured out his own way to help out gays and lesbians who want children and families.
For six years, Orthodox rabbi Areleh Harel has been officiating marriages between gay men and lesbians. He says it’s the most moral way to give LGBT people the families they want without breaking Jewish law, and he’s working on an online matchmaking service to expedite the process for some people.
Some believe this is a good thing, that gay men and lesbians can live “normal” lives without breaking any rules. Others say it’s harmful, that marriages aren’t based on love and that parents are essentially lying to their children.
The condemnation of homosexuality in Orthodox communities in Israel has historically been so strong that many gay Orthodox Jews have felt they had two choices: remain in the closet or stop being religious. That mind-set has changed in recent years as leaders of Jewish Queer Youth, an “Ortho-gay” organization based in Manhattan, began connecting with burgeoning gay-rights groups in Israel, offering support and advice.
Orthodox rabbis continue to point to Leviticus 18: 22 as proof that God does not accept homosexuality. The verse reads, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination.” Harel concurs, saying, “You can’t change the laws of the Torah. This is what God wants. If God wanted gay people to live together, he would come down and tell us.”
This is a really interesting piece of journalism and it’s a story you don’t hear very often. Give it a read if you’ve got a few minutes. When you’re done, what did you think?