Thursday, November 6, 2008

Prop 8

"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"

5 comments:

Tirtzah Blog said...

I'm so happy to find your blog. Have you seen ours blog, Tirtzah: A Community of Frum Queer Women? We are a new organization that has a blog, a listserve for lesbian/bi/queer/questioning frum women, and meetings in the NYC area. I look forward to reading more of your posts. Have you ever been to any of Nehirim's events? If not, you should check them out. There are always a number of frum men and women at the events and in a year or two there is going to be the first ever Frum LGBT retreat just for traditionally observant gay folks - So I'd recommend getting on their e-mail list.

Eli Jeremiah said...

Awesome post, FGJ!! Your writing is always concise and well-stated.

I completely agree.

Qutoe: "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."

That is exactly right. In places where gay people have marriage equality, anti-gay religious clergy do NOT lose their right to stick to their bigoted opinions. Why do they have to enshrine their backwards thinking in the law and force their beliefs on others?

Jordan said...

It is not bigoted to refrain from performing Homosexual unions as a matter of religious principle. It is bigoted to ask everyone to agree with you not to perform them.
Fundamentally, the Prop 8 push was nothing more than homophobia, because California's law wasn't granting the right for LGBT to be able to force clergy to perform marriages with which they disagree. It was merely recognizing that a civil marriage between two people of the same gender entitles each partner to the full protection of the state.
And I am still baffled by the willingness of Agudah to get into bed with any Right Wing Christian group just to promote what they mistakeenly perceive as their shared agenda. Like Chris Rock says, "first thhey come for the gays, then they come for the blacks and the Jews. And that traiin is never late."

Tzviah said...

I agree that this is an awesome post! I would have voted against prop 8 a few more times, but I heard it's a felony.

Anonymous said...

"It is not good for man to be alone," so why didn't G-d just create two Adam's instead of Adam and Eve.