"In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite pernicious" -- dissenting opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson case, which upheld "separate but equal" from 1896 until Brown v. Board of Ed. in 1955.
Judge Harlan's words, though over a century old, perfectly describe my feelings following the passage of Proposition 8 -- the gay marriage ban in California. Even more disturbing than the passage of Prop 8 is the fact that several Orthodox organizations, such as Agudath, endorsed the measure.
Agudath's endorsement of Prop 8 is prejudice thinly veiled in halacha (Jewish law). As I wrote in an earlier post, nowhere does the Torah prohibit two men living together; the Torah merely prohibits one sexual act. I believe that the Torah actually wants gay men to live together and establish a loving relationship, for "It is not good for man to be alone." If only Agudath would realize that gay people exist and cannot change their sexual orientation. Perhaps then they would be more compassionate.
Another point: If Orthodox Jews are going to push for a ban on gay marriage, they should also push for a ban on intermarriages, as well as all marriages in which the couple will not observe the laws of nidda (ritual purity). All of these relationships could result in Biblical prohibitions. I know what you're thinking: "Banning intermarriage and nidda relationships is ridiculous! How could halacha govern secular American law?" You're right. It shouldn't.
Agudath: No one is asking your rabbis to perform gay marriage ceremonies under the chuppah. But let us have our rights in American society. Jews of all people should understand the harm caused by discrimination and hateful legislation.
"Separate but equal is inherently unequal"