web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

In Defense Of Traditional Matrimony


Marriage is under assault again in this country, as fewer adults choose to tie the matrimonial knot while the Left continues to lend civil and economic credence to unions of same-sex partners.

According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of married adults in the U.S. has dropped steadily over the past few decades, from 72 percent in 1970 to around 54 percent last year. Part of that decline can be attributed to the delay in getting married, as people spend more time pursuing higher education and establishing themselves in their careers.

Additionally, a large component of this decline stems from the fact that many choose not to marry at all. And those who do are far less likely to remain wedded for the balance of their lives than in past decades.

In a recent CBS News poll, seven in ten Americans said the institution of marriage is weaker now than it was 20 years ago, despite the fact that research shows married people tend to live longer and are generally healthier, wealthier, and happier.

The reasons for this shift are many, including the sense that many of the traditional benefits” of marriage – companionship, financial security, the ability to have and raise children – can be achieved in today’s society without the so-called burdens of a longstanding relationship.

Of course, the question is not merely whether to wed or not to wed. In recent years, the question has increasingly centered on the fundamental definition of marriage as the civil union of a man and a woman.

To date, five states and the District of Columbia have approved gay marriage, while others permit civil unions of same-sex partners. Under pressure from the White House, the military recently repealed its longstanding policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

President Obama advanced the cause even further when he crossed into the judicial realm by announcing the Executive Branch would no longer oppose court challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, a 15-year-old law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages for purposes of taxes, social security and other programs. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the law’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman is “unconstitutional.”

Naturally, the administration’s position, not to mention its timing, came under fierce attack. Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, called the Justice Department’s decision to stop defending the law “the real politicization of the Justice Department,” lamenting that “the personal views of the president (can be made to) override the government’s duty to defend the law of the land.”

While politicians attacked the law largely for political considerations, organizations like the Agudah took exception to Obama’s decision on religious and moral grounds, calling it, among other things, “a provocative step toward undermining our nation’s traditional values and moral fiber.”

While one can certainly appreciate and unequivocally support the aforementioned position regarding same-sex marriage, one wonders why this issue regularly garners so much of our time and energy.

After all, in what sense does such legislation change the current reality? Certainly the absence of such legal backing has not served as much of a deterrent until now.

Further we live in a society that routinely flaunts norms and values wildly inconsistent with our Torah lifestyle. Why have our leaders seen fit to speak out publicly and repeatedly against this particular issue?

I believe the reason has nothing to do with attempting to impose any meaningful change on the status quo. Rather, it is because we maintain that recognizing and affirming same-sex marriage pose a fundamental threat to the very fabric of human society.

According to our tradition, non-Jews as well as Jews have found such anti-family conduct to be on a level of complete abhorrence, comparable to cannibalism.

Ulla said, [there] are thirty commandments [comprised in the seven Noachide precepts] which the sons of Noach took upon themselves, but they [only] observe three of them . They do not draw up a kesubah document for males, they do not weigh flesh of the dead in the market, and they respect the Torah.

[Chulin 92a-b] Obviously, this in no respect implies the nations of the world have historically abstained from homosexual practices. To the contrary, it was a central element of many ancient civilizations. Still, they stopped short of legitimizing their desires in the form of marriage.

By contrast, the fact that in this country same-sex marriage has found recent support in the courts and the executive branch has lent credence to such abhorrent behavior as a valid and legally sanctioned form of conduct, absent of shame or stigma. In the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, writing his dissenting opinion in the case of Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the homosexual agenda is “directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally been attached to (such) conduct.”

The Torah refers to marriage as kiddushin, a sacred, natural bond between man and woman that has the unique potential to bring a distinct sense of purpose and completeness to both partners.

It is for the sake of preserving a strong sense of kiddushin, and all the benefits – physical and spiritual, personal and communal – it engenders, that our leaders have chosen to continuously speak out against same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage is not merely another offensive item in the American cultural landscape. Rather, it threatens the very core of our value system, by which we make sense of our world and our place in it. As such, there can be absolutely no room for compromise in this area.

Let us hope that the ongoing efforts of our leaders and activists will shift same-sex marriage back to the realm of moral opprobrium for years to come.

Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is Head of School at Torah Day School of Atlanta. He can be reached at nhoff@torahday.org.

About the Author: Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is an executive coach and president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting (www.ImpactfulCoaching.com). He can be reached at President@ImpactfulCoaching.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “In Defense Of Traditional Matrimony”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Indepth Stories
HETi_logo2

It is offensive that in commemorating the Holocaust mentioning Israel was deemed inappropriate.

Questions-Answers-logo

Many questions, all with thee same, single answer

Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

More Articles from Rabbi Naphtali Hoff
Sarah Schenirer

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Front-Page-122614

He ruthlessly crushed the revolt, and, despite lacking official Roman sanction, ordered the rebel leaders put to death without trial.

Where did this incredible strength come from? What drove these Jews, who had nearly lost all of their national identity and spiritual connectivity, to risk their lives by standing up against one of the strongest and most fearsome governments of its time?

Of all the Jewish holidays, I would say Sukkos is far and away the least appreciated.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

“If Israel’s offering of land, economic improvements, and even autonomy will not help, what will?”

For breaking his oath of allegiance, Tzidkiyahu was forced to witness the death of his sons before he himself was blinded and exiled to Babylon.

It’s as if Hamas has pulled a page out of Pharaoh’s handbook.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/in-defense-of-traditional-matrimony/2011/04/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: