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August 24, 2011

Leading Rabbi Comes Out Against Gay-Lesbian Marriages

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner closeup A new Web initiative seeking to match religious homosexuals and lesbians has sparked a row in the religious world. Although it has gained the support of a series of dignified rabbis, not everyone is pleased. One leading rabbi opposes these marriages due to a lack of love between spouses. But he laso thinks a widely discredited therapy cures homosexuality.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner closeup
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner

'No happiness in gay-lesbian shidduch'
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner refuses to back marriage between homosexuals and lesbians, says 'a child needs parents who love each other.' Gay religious groups say new initiative 'implies there is no room for homosexuals in the religious community'
Ari Galahar • Ynet

A new Web initiative seeking to match religious homosexuals and lesbians has sparked a row in the religious world. Although it has gained the support of a series of dignified rabbis, not everyone is pleased with the solution suggested by Rabbi Arale Harel and the Kamoha organization for Orthodox homosexuals.
"This initiative is unfair toward the children who'll be born as a result," senior Religious Zionism Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, an avid supporter conversion therapy, told Ynet. "In order to have a healthy upbringing, a child needs parents who love each other, not parents who don't know each other.

"The idea to match homosexuals and lesbians was raised in the past and did not bear fruits of happiness – not among the couples and not among the children."
Rabbi Aviner clarifies that he is against the proposed "shidduch", adding: "This problem must be solved differently. A new method for treating homosexuals and lesbians, called 'the reparative method', has recently arrived in Israel. Thousands have been freed in the United States. It's new in Israel and I recommend this method, which solves most of the problems.

"A while ago I met a woman with two babies in her arms, and she told me that her husband got over it and they love each other, and after a while I met her again with a third child."

According to Rabbi Aviner, there were many conversion therapies in the past "which did not bring a blessing" and were therefore opposed by many, but "the new method is based on the assumption that even a person with a different orientation has the natural orientation within, and if he can be released from the other inclination stemming from identity issues caused during his childhood, the hidden natural inclination emerges.

"We know hundreds of people in Israel who have managed to get over it, and have built good homes."
'Family unit is not just male and female'

Gay religious organizations, most of which are against conversion therapy and present studies on the possible damages of the "reparative method", have expressed their reservations as well, arguing that the initiative harms religious homosexuals as a public.

Daniel Jonas, a spokesman for the Havruta organization, explains that the objection to the initiative is not directed against individual homosexuals and lesbians who get married, but against the idea itself.

"Such initiatives are basically aimed at denying our existence, and saying that there is no such thing as homosexuals and lesbians and no room for them in the religious society," he says.

Jonas adds that the new initiative will cause people to live a lie and fail to fulfill themselves. "What they're saying is that this is the only way to start a family, but giving 'exclusivity' to this option when it comes to starting a family may cause real damage to the couple, their children and the entire society.

"It would be better if gays and lesbians would just be accepted for who they are, and this process is already in its midst. We have people who raise children in a different way and in joint custody.

"Although a child of a gay and lesbian couple will technically grow up with a mother and father, this isn't the family unit I want to see. We don't believe that a family unit is just male and female – it's also a matter of love and living together. There are other halachic solutions for having children, like artificial insemination.

Rabbi Ron Yosef, head of the Hod organization, objects to the new initiative as well, although he does see a positive element in it.

"What they did is problematic," he says. "Presenting it as the main option is wrong. It must be stressed that they are several solutions, and that each person should find the suitable way for himself. However, the initiative does include a positive aspect – that finally people are not trying to conceal and ignore the issue."

The conversion therapy Aviner supports has widely been exposed as a failure. Homosexuals sometimes modify their behavior for a period of time, but end up returning, often secretly, to homosexuality while at the same time having serious psychological issues caused by their "failure" to remain straight.

This therapy has been widely discredited and has never shown to be useful by any peer reviewed study.

None of this, however, stops Rabbi Aviner from endorsing it.

He does so because he is willfully ignorant and, I think, because if he admitted that homosexuality is simply a normal human variant, it would call into question a Torah that forbids it and a God who created men and women that way, and then punishes them for it. And that cognitive dissonance is too much for him.


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The torah does not forbid being gay. It just forbids penetrative anal sex between men. Simply being gay is not a sin, according to the torah. That is a subtle but important distinction that leaves room for tolerance, if one is inclined to be tolerant. Unfortunately, a Christian fundamentalist style understanding of the scripture seems to dominate Orthodox thinking on the matter.

Who says that a gay man and a lesbian can't love one another. They can love one another without being physically attracted to each other as well as any other shidduched couple.

If love requires physical attraction, than what does that say about the example that the Talmud (Avot) brings of the ultimate love: David and Jonathan. Does that mean that they had to be physically attracted to one another. That thought should give most haredim an apoplectic fit!

Nebech, we need to marry off the spinsters on the upper west side before it is too late! We need to set up shidduch services at Hunter college and NYU! Maybe these kinds of gay men would be happy to be married to them? And the lesbians often are just in need of some makeup advise and suddenly, BH, they are strait!

To Yochanan Lavie,

You are misrepresenting the true intent of the mitzvot. There is no "gay" gene either. The world is rapidly falling into two camps. Those who believe same sex marriage is fine and those who don't. Nice clear battle lines. With the above article if the intent is to get these people to shift their sexual orientation to the correct option then the intent is good. It is true that love should not be forced but sometimes things need a little nudge in the right direction. Unfortunately the power of traumatic conditioning on consciousness, identity formation and sexuality is immense.

Such days as these when few people would be able to tell the difference between right and wrong were prophesied to arise. It seems that some people can get some issues right but very few people indeed can get a lot of very important issues right. People's moral compass has gone haywire.

Adam: There is no one gay gene, but as far as I know contemporary science sees homosexuality as the result of both environmental and genetic factors. It is not a lifestyle choice. I know well-meaning people involved in the conversion therapy business, but science and anecdotal evidence show it doesn't work. The Rambam said we must interpret the torah in light of scientific fact. Also, miqra can be interpreted broadly or narrowly. A broad reading of the miqra would say simply being gay, male or female, is a sin. However, since the miqra is very specific, and science seems to indicate that homosexuality is part of God's plan, a narrow reading proscribing penetrative anal intercourse alone seems more appropriate. Morality is on the side of compassion, not intolerance.

The world is comprised of 2 camps indeed: those who reject people who are different from them, and those who accept people who are different from them. I know what my True North is.


Actually there are 2 types of people in the world:
those who divide people into 2 types and those who don't.

But that may be just what you said.

Doc: I think Jews fall into the former category!

To YL and Dr.Dave,

How much truth can you handle for someone to prove their assertions ? I reject no-one. The point is if people are prepared to really dig deep to see if there are reasons for their behaviour.

P.S. Do you know who Jean Charcot and Bertha Pappenheim were ?

Adam: I didn't mean to personally attack you. I just think it's "moral" to support gay rights.

I am familiar somewhat with Charcot and Pappenheim. But they were turn-of-the-last century folks. As much as I respect them, they are not state of the art.

There are indeed reasons for why people are gay. That does not mean that they can change. And if they can't change, I must conclude that they are part of God's plan, to the very limited extent I can discern his ways. Gay gezunte heit.

For my gay friends:
Apologies to Queen (Crazy little thing called love):

This thing called torah I just can't handle it
This thing called torah I must interpret it
I ain't ready
Gay little thing called love

This thing (this thing) called torah(called torah)
It schreis (like a rebbe)
In a shtiebel all night
It schuckles (oy vey)
It sways (oy vey)
It shakes all over like gefilte fish
I gotta learn it
Gay little thing called love

There goes my bubbeleh
He knows how to learn a Blatt
He drives me meshugeh
He gives me Talmudic fervor
Then he leaves me in the shul mikveh

I gotta be in shul, relax, get straight!
Not be attacked
Take a back seat
No shtuss
And take a long ride on the Mehadrin bus
Until I'm ready
Gay little thing called love

I gotta be in shul, relax, get straight!
Not be attacked
Take a back seat
No shtuss
And take a long ride on the Mehadrin bus
Until I'm ready (ready Shloimie)
Gay little thing called love

This thing called torah I just can't handle it
This thing called torah I must interpret it
I ain't ready
Gay little thing called love(repeat to end)

good thing! faggots and lesbians dont deserve anything except a cage and a bucket for the feces

Adam - Charcot's little circus at the Salpetriere has been discredited pretty much since it collapsed. So I'm not sure why you bring it up in the first place, especially as Charcot dealt with hysterics and neurasthenics, who have not been a relevant subject since Freud died.

Homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice, it is not a moral failing or down to any kind of trauma or rebellion. It just 'is', it just exists.

I too believe the world is split into two camps - those (like you) who have the bizarre habitual fixation on judging people by what goes on in their bed, and those who believe people should be judged by who they are and not what they are.

If someone is a good person then they are a good person, full stop. Love between consenting adults is not wrong, and the truth is that 'lavender marriage' is a sham. It's not a new idea either, except to those living in the Bronze Age. You should give the 21st century a try, if only to sample some of the wonderful psychotropic drugs available to medicate away delusions of grandeur and Messiah Complexes.

good thing! faggots and lesbians dont deserve anything except a cage and a bucket for the feces

Posted by: shmarya_fat_pig | August 24, 2011 at 09:10 AM

But they will settle for some of the nicest neighborhoods in the new york and san francisco. Gays actually increase the market value of a neighborhood - they don't have pesky kids running around, and they have the nicest gardens.

The torah does not forbid being gay. It just forbids penetrative anal sex between men. Simply being gay is not a sin, according to the torah. Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | August 24, 2011 at 07:28 AM

YL - Question: how many gay couples do you think exist that dont have penetrative anal sex? Answer: None. Also, spilling of semen is also a sin so every time a gay guy ejaculates (in a mouth, hand, or ass) it's technically a sin

Confusing love with sex.
My wife loves me - but the love to sex ratio is too high.
Besides, how would the children realize the parents do enjoy sex (with each other)

>Also, spilling of semen is also a sin so every time a gay guy ejaculates (in a mouth, hand, or ass) it's technically a sin

And every time a guy masturbates, but that doesn't stop most guys from masturbating.

Posted by: Realist | August 24, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Yes, but YL was splitting hairs saying the gays dont commit sin unless they penetrate anally.

Stan, it's not "splitting hairs". Plenty of gay men don't have penetrative anal sex. As one of my professors said in an on-campus debate "I would no more have anal sex than I would have sex with a woman"

Nuran - guess I stand corrected but if I was a gay dude, dont know if oral sex would cut it for rest of my life. Dont understand & never will.

"Simply being gay is not a sin"

It may not be a sin but it's very faggoty.

Now, anyone here with an issue on girl on girl needs his head examined.

A. Nuran: thanks for responding while I was out.

Stan: as a bald man, I don't have any hairs to split ;)

The odds of a homosexual husband and lesbian wife falling in love are as good as any shidduch - or even a couple that fell in love and got married staying in love. There are so many, many children of parents who are not in love, these couples are not likely to have lower percentages. On the contrary.

Maskil - further to your point: there are so many hetero married couples not having sex (for a myriad of reasons) that the lesbian/homo couples will be no different to anyone outside the bedroom (assuming they share 1 for appearance purposes). I know many married couples (w/ children) about whom I could swear the guy is gay.

WOW the level of ignorance/hate in some of the comments astound me. I cant even begin to explain how messed up the whole lesbian/gay marriage thing. Also any of you who are commenting about faggots i.e. schmarya_fat_pig and Bfeirush I wish to congratulate you on committing the only sin that single-handedly almost destroyed the Jewish people and the Besi Hamikdash i.e. "Sinas Chinam" or senseless hatred. Get your attitudes checked because no matter what issues Hashem might have with gay people if any I can assure you that his beef with you is going to be a lot worse.

Rabbi Aviner is another voice in favor of the Torah Declaration and reparitive therapy "cures"

The "Torah Declaration" attempts to help Jews. But instead it hurts them because it promotes the view that people with same sex attractions can actually be "cured" or changed into people with only opposite sex attractions. It has adopted the view of reparative therapy that childhood damage causes homosexuality, and that it can be cured. The problem with that is that this is really just wishful thinking and not true. The very people that would be willing to forgo the prohibited behaviors often also would very much like to believe that they can actually "convert" not only the lifestyle but the actual attractions completely. They end up finding out years later after this approach that is not the case and are devastated. This results in some suicides and leaving the faith.

Aside from all the mainstream psychiatric, psychological, social work, the World Health Organization and counselling groups even many experts among people that have been involved in "reparative therapy" mostly agree on this. It does not work in changing orientation.

Dr. Abba Borowich, an Orthodox psychiatrist who practiced reparative therapy for Orthodox homosexuals for nearly 30 years concluded that this was an ineffective course of therapy which only increased suffering among his patients and their families .

Rabbi Chaim Rapoport, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi who is the author of Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View, has said, "I am not obligated to believe in a failed therapy because it fits my theology better."

See also
According to those who do believe in such conversions, the sucsess rate is around 0.5%

The 0.5%% change raises a question, if the therapy does work the success rate should be 99% or at least 51%, but if it doesn't how can anyone change?
This question is not answered in the research I have read. My opinion is that there are a few people who get involved with sexual relations, for a variety of reasons, with the same sex even though they are actually not oriented that way.
Another answer is that some people are not capable of admitting or knowing what is really going on.
Finally, many of these studies included people who make a living from claiming that this change is possible.

In contrast to a complete change,
Mark Yarhouse believes that slight changes are possible but " I don’t think that everyone can change or that anyone can change, as though it were just a matter of enough effort or of enough faith. Also, the data we have sees from our own research suggests that categorical change – 180 degrees – from gay to straight is less likely than what I refer to as meaningful shifts along a continuum (from same-sex to opposite-sex attraction)."

The leader of Exodus the largest public group of people (several hundreds) who changed from a gay to heterosexual lifestyle admits that this does not include an end of same sex attraction for 99.9% of the group.
"There has been a change in our beliefs about orientation change focused therapy and we don’t believe it’s effective.”

Dr. Spitzer
“If people can recognize that being a homosexual is something that cannot be changed and that efforts to change are going to be disappointing and can be harmful, if that can be more widely known that would be very good. "

Another issue is that the Declaration group
led by Rabbi Kamenetsky, primarily relies on
and promotes
someone who is of bad character, who has a history of misleading people for profit, Arthur Goldberg of Jonah.

This organization has many problems
aside from a criminal history.
It can't provide any proof of change, It has relied on crackpot therapies that have included touching that is prohibited by the Torah, and it relies primarily, and in great detail on the idea that Jesus will provide the change.

I hope that in spite of what they must have experienced the twenty-five people
that have gone through the Torah Declaration path will have happy Torah lives, but those that want to be faithful to the Torah's sexual prohibitions can get help to succeed without quack therapy.

Orthodox religious therapists and rabbis have an alternative to this Declaration. See

Without having clear evidence that a treatment is effective you cannot in good conscience recommend an unproven treatment that can cause undo pain, suffering, and death as the signers of this declaration have done.

The many rabbis that signed this other statement are truly concerned for both the 0.5% and the 99.5% group and have not endorsed a failed therapy because it would fit better with their theology.

As for Gay-Lesbian marriages I beliieve that Rabbi Aviner is wrong again.

The alternative mixed -orientation marriage
is the logical extension of being "cured" from one partner is not better.

This is because the marriage is based on a false foundation, and therefore is likely to fall apart. Both types of marriage when entered into with the understanding that orientation will not change, should have the warm support of Rabbis, as it it is an attempt to do as much as is humanly possible to obey the Orthodox Jewish Torah laws. Very few people would ever consider this if they were not committed 100% to their religion.

Is it about being gay or is it about being raped including those that rape their own gender?

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