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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘gay marriage’

Mozilla: ‘Judge Not Your Fellow Until You Have Stood In His Place’

Monday, April 7th, 2014

As an American, I am embarrassed by the entire Mozilla affair. To recap, the now ex-CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, donated $1000 to a “Vote Yes on Prop 8″ campaign. That means that on 2008 he was in favor of a law that would ban gay marriage.

Eich was appointed CEO of Mozilla a couple of weeks ago. OK Cupid, a dating site, posted a pop-up notice on their website when a Mozilla Firefox (that’s the web browser developed by Mozilla and favored browser of Internet enthusiasts from 2010), that asked users to consider not using Firefox to protest the appointment of  Eich. Other Internet activists stoked the flames and eventually Eich voluntarily resigned.

This turn of events outraged a lot of people. The outrage crossed social and political lines. Conservatives, liberals, libertarians, gay activists, and individuals from pretty much every possible group joined in the disgust over what has transpired over the last few days. This has spawned many thoughtful articles and blog posts arguing that Eich did the right thing and the people who forced his hand were in the right.

It’s embarrassing for a lot of reasons. The obvious reasons for shame are the proliferation of terrible arguments, blatant hypocrisy, and lack of self-awareness being demonstrated.

For example: The misuse of the right to free speech, the hypocrisy of only seeing how one side of this is free speech, the two-faced claim that it was wrong of OK Cupid to “censor” Firefox but then to boycott Mozilla because Eich stepped down, the misstatements of facts about Eich’s resignation, the invoking of the free market as a solution to problems and then crying when the free market doesn’t go their way, the crying about being bullied and then bullying others, the claims of tolerance and then not tolerating this, our reverence for the secret ballot and then publicizing campaign donations, and the list goes on and on.

But as embarrassing as the saga has become, it is also quite intriguing to take a step back and analyze some of the tension between several competing policies at play. The right to free speech, the free market, free will, tolerance, tolerating intolerance, the measures of what constitutes intolerance, political issues vs. moral issues vs. personal beliefs, and perhaps most of all, the generation gap.

As Conor Friedersdorf correctly points out in The Atlantic, the majority of the state of California supported Prop 8 in 2008. The majority of the United States opposed gay marriage until circa 2012. Gay marriage has reached a bit of a tipping point. Most prognosticators presume that support for gay marriage will be overwhelming within the next few years. But it was not that long ago that gay marriage had very little support. In effect, Eich is being punished for taking a position that the majority of Americans held when he made his donation. More on this later.

The demographics of support for gay marriage bear this out. Around 75% of Americans 18-29 support gay marriage. Among Baby Boomers, the number drops to 48% and in 2013 it was just 41%. Brendan Eich is 52. He was born at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation. This is all very important. This means that to older Americans like Eich, gay marriage is a legitimate issue that hovers in the 60/40 and 50/50 range. It’s something that is debated and for every Boomer who opposes gay marriage, there is one Boomer who favors gay marriage. But by no means is it a settled issue for them.

For young people, the numbers indicate that this is a very one sided issue. Those who oppose gay marriage are a significant minority. That means that it’s not really an issue that has two evenly balanced sides anymore in the minds of Millennials. As young people enter the work force and find a public voice, the public conversation will shift to reflect the views of a new generation. There are going to be growing pains. The tension of any seismic shift can cause an earthquake. On the Richter scale of social earthquakes, this was a 12.5.

Bills in the Works for Homosexual Marriages and Buses on Shabbat

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Yesh Atid Knesset Members are drafting bills that would carry out the party platform’s election promises to give legal blessings to homosexual marriages and public bus transportation on the Sabbath, both actions forbidden under Jewish law but with two important differences.

Homosexuality is explicitly prohibited by the Torah, no matter how one does somersaults to conclude otherwise.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination’ (Lev. 18:22) is open to interpretation only to the point of defining the word “lie.”

Riding on a public bus on the Sabbath, if the driver is not Jewish, is a prohibition based on Torah law but not explicitly forbidden by the Torah.

The second difference is that homosexuality, unlike riding on the Sabbath, is more of an emotional issue because of its contradiction of the family unit, a foundation of a long-lasting democratic state that does not dissolve into social anarchy, and of the Torah commandment to be “fruitful and multiply.”

However, a law providing public transportation on the Sabbath would dramatically affect a change that would make Israel more secular with less recognition of Shabbat as a holy day.

This is of no interest to those in Israel, such as Yesh Atid and a large number of other political parties, who take the liberty to define a “Jewish” state based on their own views. After all, that is the modern Western thing to do these days. Everyone can be a rabbi.

Anyone who disagrees with them is not “liberal,” “progressive” or “democratic” and therefore not fit for this world.

Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid, has begun discussions on the bills with the initiative of MKs Aliza Lavie and Ruth Calderon. They reportedly are trying to soften the language to gain support of the entire party.

Four unnamed Yesh Atid MKs reportedly have said they will object.

American-born Rabbi/MK Dov Lipman, told The Jewish Press Tuesday, “We are currently working on the precise details of these laws but I can say that they are being crafted with the utmost respect to the religious population and to Halacha,” he said.

Asked if he will support or oppose the bills, MK Lipman replied by e-mail, “We are formulating laws that we all agree to.  That is the beauty of working together instead of fighting against one another.”

He also stated in response to other questions, “Yesh Atid is a party which was founded with the guiding principle that the time has come for religious and Jews to respect one another and work together instead of continuing to combat each other.

“Israel is both a Jewish and democratic country and we are working as a team to navigate through challenging issues. There is no desire for anyone religious to be less religious and we actually believe that removing some of the religious coercion will actually attract people to re-engage with their Judaism.”

The probable language of homosexual “unions” and not “marriages” is semantic trickery. The difference between the two is mainly in the field of rights, but the Supreme Court in Israel already has ruled must be granted to same-sex couples.

If public opinion were to decide the issues, homosexual marriages and bus transportation on the Sabbath probably would pass, according to most opinion polls.

Lapid, whose popularity has been sinking, enthusiastically backed both upcoming bills last week, saying, “A law in favor of homosexual unions will allow every couple in the country to declare the love for each other and be recognized.”

As for public transportation on the Day of Rest, he said he is not trying to irritate the religious community. He said the bill would provide that buses not travel through religious neighborhoods but will allow “poor grandfathers to visit their grandchildren in the hospital on Shabbat” instead of having to take an expensive taxi.”

The fallacy in his thinking is that it presumes Israel is divided into “religious” and “secular” camps. That is not true. There is a large, perhaps plurality, which is “traditional” and would prefer the Sabbath to remain a public Day of rest to remain as such, even if they personally violate it.

Once the Knesset puts its official stamp to recognize homosexuality marriages – excuse me, unions – and transportation on the Sabbath, it is encouraging the practice. It would not be “coercion” because no one would be required to ride on the Sabbath, but it would increase social pressure on those who might violate it at home but not in public as a matter of respect.

Lapid is crouching to pounce on his secular prey and boost his sinking popularity, and the slogans of “a Jewish democratic state” are about to be heard ad nauseum.

The Deconstruction of Marriage

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The only question worth asking about gay marriage is whether anyone on the left would care about this crusade if it didn’t come with the privilege of bulldozing another civilizational institution.

Gay marriage is not about men marrying men or women marrying women, it is about the deconstruction of marriage between men and women. That is a thing that many men and women of one generation understand but have trouble conveying to another generation for whom marriage has already largely been deconstructed.

The statistics about the falling marriage rate tell the tale well enough. Marriage is a fading institution. Family is a flickering light in the evening of the West.

The deconstruction is destruction. Entire countries are fading away, their populations being replaced by emigrants from more traditional lands whose understanding of the male-female relationship is positively reactionary. These emigrants may lack technology or the virtues of civilization, and their idea of marriage resembles slavery more than any modern ideal, but it fulfills the minimum purpose of any group, tribe or country– it produces its next generation.

The deconstruction of marriage is not a mere matter of front page photos of men kissing. It began with the deconstruction of the family. Gay marriage is only one small stop on a tour that includes rising divorce rates, falling childbirth rates and the abandonment of responsibility by twenty and even thirty-somethings.

Each step on the tour takes apart the definition and structure of marriage until there is nothing left. Gay marriage is not inclusive, it is yet another attempt at eliminating marriage as a social institution by deconstructing it until it no longer exists.

There are two ways to destroy a thing. You can either run at it while swinging a hammer with both hands or you can attack its structure until it no longer means anything.

The left hasn’t gone all out by outlawing marriage, instead it has deconstructed it, taking apart each of its assumptions, from the economic to the cooperative to the emotional to the social, until it no longer means anything at all. Until there is no way to distinguish marriage from a temporary liaison between members of uncertain sexes for reasons that due to their vagueness cannot be held to have any solemn and meaningful purpose.

You can abolish democracy by banning the vote or you can do it by letting people vote as many times as they want, by letting small children and foreigners vote, until no one sees the point in counting the votes or taking the process seriously. The same goes for marriage or any other institution. You can destroy it by outlawing it or by eliminating its meaningfulness until it becomes so open that it is absurd.

Every aspect of marriage is deconstructed and then eliminated until it no longer means anything. And once marriage is no longer a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman, but a ceremony with no deeper meaning than most modern ceremonies, then the deconstruction and destruction will be complete.

The deconstruction of marriage eroded it as an enduring institution and then as an exclusive institution and finally as a meaningful institution. The trendy folk who claim to be holding off on getting married until gay marriage is enacted are not eager for marriage equality, they are using it as an excuse for an ongoing rejection of marriage.

Gay marriage was never the issue. It was always marriage.

In the world that the deconstructionists are striving to build, there will be marriage, but it will mean nothing. Like a greeting card holiday, it will be an event, but not an institution. An old ritual with no further meaning. An egotistical exercise in attention-seeking and self-celebration with no deeper purpose. It will be a display every bit as hollow as the churches and synagogues it takes place in.

The deconstruction of marriage is only a subset of the deconstruction of gender from a state of being to a state of mind. The decline of marriage was preceded by the deconstruction of gender roles and gay marriage is being succeeded by the destruction of gender as anything other than a voluntary identity, a costume that one puts on and takes off.

Outlaw Marriage for All!

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Ron Paul often opened his congressional speeches with the line, “Imagine for a moment…” In honor of Dr. Paul, and also for its sharp effectiveness, I will do the same here in explaining why all forms of marriage should be outlawed.

Imagine for a moment.

Imagine for a moment that in order to be friends with somebody, you needed government approval. Imagine that you met somebody you liked talking to, hanging out with, drinking a beer with, whatever. But you couldn’t legally be friends with him until you both applied for a government “friendship license.” A friendship license, by the way, costs 600 shekels which goes right into government coffers, not to mention a week of rat-racing around to 6 different bureaucrat offices filling out forms (so all the bureaucrats can have jobs and “stimulate the economy”), so you lose a week’s salary in the mess. Once you pay up and you have those forms, you can then apply for a “friendship license” which gives you and your friend the legal right to get a whopping 2% sales tax break at any restaurant in the country where you order together at the same table, upon presenting a proper friendship license, of course.

Imagine for a moment that not everyone in the country could legally apply for a friendship license with anyone he wanted. Imagine that an unmarried man and a married women, or vice versa, could not get a friendship license. It could lead to adultery, after all. Imagine that an Arab and a Jew could not get a friendship license. It’s a matter of national security or something like that. Imagine that a father and son, or mother and daughter, could not get a friendship license. Family cannot be friends. Imagine that no more than two people could carry one friendship license. A group of three, for example, could not legally be considered friends, as that would be polyfriendamy. Therefore, all these people – the single man and married woman; the Arab and Jew; the father and son or mother and daughter, the group of three or more – all of them could not legally be friends and therefore they all had to pay that extra 2% in sales tax at restaurants.

Imagine for a moment that a “national discussion” starts taking place, the kind that enlightened media and intellectual elite like to call “a real meaningful debate” and other linguistic smokescreen nonsense. Shouldn’t an Arab and Jew have the legal right to be friends? Why can’t a married man and unmarried woman be recognized by Big Brother as friends? Shouldn’t three people have the right to be friends?

“Friendship equality for all!” the liberals would say.

“Friendship is a sacred human institution that has been around for thousands of years! Family cannot be friends! What sacrilege!” the conservatives would say.

Meanwhile, the libertarian looks around and sees the utter insanity of the whole situation. Take a deep breath and here it is in one sentence:

The government, looking for a way to extract more money out of private people, baits them with the possibility of a 2% tax break, which is essentially a promise to steal slightly less from them, if they pay 600 shekels and run around for a week begging for a license from a massive and totally unnecessary bureaucracy funded by millions of shekels in tax money for a relationship that is essentially private and has nothing to do with the government anyway, and instead of people repudiating these petty friendship licenses and ignoring them, they start fighting with each other about who has the right to a government license with catchphrases like “the right to be friends” and “friendship equality” and “the sanctity of friendship,” while in the meantime both sides are being stolen from in order to fund the bloated bureaucracy that is running the friendship license boondoggle so the government comes out of this way in the black with all the license fees and taxes and levies to fund the system and instead of uniting against the common thief and calling an end to friendship licenses and just lower sales taxes at restaurants for everyone by the measly 2% so we can stop having this STUPID argument and being at each other’s THROATS, we fight with each other about who gets to have the stupid licenses and who doesn’t.

Societal Abandonment of the Bible as a Moral Guide

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Recently, one of the original sponsors of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio – changed his mind. He now supports same sex marriage. DOMA defines marriage applicable only to a man with a woman. It does not extend marital benefits to same sex marriages. This act was passed and endorsed by President Clinton who has also recently changed his views about it. Many states now have passed legislation that allows same sex couple to get married.

I have long ago stated my views about homosexuality and my opposition to gay marriage. The short version is that homosexuals should be treated like the human beings they are. And that we not focus on who they are attracted to. To the extent that they might engage in behavior that is forbidden by the Torah is not anyone’s concern. Unless they do so proactively with the intent of promoting it as a legitimate alternative lifestyle. That has to be opposed as would promoting any sinful act.

And let me be clear about the sinfulness of the forbidden homosexual act. There are some gay activists that have a certain familiarity with the bible that want to reinterpret it as somehow permissible. The very idea of doing such a thing gives new meaning to the word rationalization. It is the height of absurdity to say that an act is biblically permitted when the bible clearly forbids it. The bible says what it says. You can’t rationalize it away no matter how much you would like to.

My opposition to same sex marriage is based on the fact that by its nature marriage is a religious ceremony celebrating the holy union between a man and a woman. Even though there is such a thing as civil marriages, in my view the source of all marriages is based on a religious idea. I don’t believe that there would necessarily be an institution called marriage without the bible.

Civil unions are an entirely different animal. The argument might be made that all legal rights granted to a male-female union should be extended to a same sex union. But in the phrase ‘marriage ceremony’ the very word ceremony has religious ritual overtones.

But this is not my issue today. What troubles me is the Zeitgeist of ridding the world of the idea that homosexual behavior is forbidden by God. It is becoming increasingly fashionable to view a clear act forbidden by the Torah as completely permissible and even laudable in that it is an expression of love that helps cement a loving relationship.

This is not a problem if one is an atheist. Or even a deist. It is not a problem if one is even generically religious without subscribing to any biblical doctrines. It is entirely libertarian. It is entirely humanistic. And even compassionate. But in my view as a bible believing Jew, it is wrong.

If one accepts the bible’s clear admonition against a forbidden act the way I do, they cannot be comfortable with the direction this country is going. It is one thing to be tolerant. That is a function of ‘live and let live’ – a dictum I subscribe to. It is not my job or right to tell others how to live, whether I approve of it or not. It is another to normalize a sinful act.

The forbidden act of homosexual sex is no different than any other act that is forbidden by God. Normalizing it and treating it as though it is permitted does not, I believe, smell good in the nostrils of God. It would be no different than normalizing biblical level adultery. Adultery is forbidden even if all partners are consensual as would be the case in an open marriage. Just because there is a lot of adultery between consenting adults in this country does not mean we have to turn it into a positive value. The same thing is true about the biblically forbidden act of gay sex.

The increasing pressure to repeal DOMA and encourage legitimizing gay marriage across the land is a move in that direction. It may satisfy humanitarians and libertarians. But is disconcerting to those of us who believe that it is wrong to place even a quasi religious imprimatur via what we want to call marriage to a union between members of the same sex. Because such unions imply that the sexual act that accompanies marriage is just as legitimate as the sexual act between a married heterosexual couple.

Well Intentioned, but Wrong to Condone Homosexuality

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

It seems that the gay marriage is becoming ever more acceptable in society. From an NBC news website:

In a move described by one scholar as “inconceivable” just two years ago, 75 Republicans have signed the brief to be filed in the case of Proposition 8, a California law banning same-sex marriage, The New York Times reported. The nation’s high court will hear arguments on the law in late March.

Four former governors, including Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, and members of President George W. Bush’s cabinet, such as former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, signed the brief, the Times reported. Some of those, such as Meg Whitman, who ran for California governor in 2010, had once opposed same-sex marriage.

I have stated my position on this issue many times. Even though it seems inevitable that it will become the law of the land – I am opposed to legalizing gay marriage. This has nothing to do with how to treat people who have same sex attractions. My position on that is clear. They should be treated as equals among us. And there ought not be any discrimination or disparagement of them. Nor should we judge them. It is not our job to judge what other people do in the privacy of their own homes. Even if we suspect sinful behavior. What two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home is between them and God.

When it comes to interacting with openly gay people, we have an obligation to treat them with the human dignity that every one of God’s creations deserve. They are no less created in God’s image than people who are attracted to the opposite sex. Who we are attracted to does not define who we are. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, we ought to judge people by the content of their character. Being gay is not a character issue.

But that does not make gay sex permissible or excusable. The Torah is very clear about that too. It is a very serious violation of biblical law. There is no way around that no matter how compassionate we try to be. It is for this reason that I oppose gay marriage. Because the implication of that is to place a public imprimatur on behavior that is sinful. It is in effect koshering a forbidden lifestyle. Making gay marriage not just value neutral but something positive.

This ignores the underlying sinful behavior – completely removing it from the category of sin. By definition marriage gives a societal blessing a gay couple implying that that gay sex is as moral as heterosexual sex. We are saying via legislation that we approve equally of both types of behavior. Gay marriage does not only permit gay sex – it virtually endorses it as a completely legitimate alternative to heterosexual sex.

I don’t blame gay people for wanting to be treated as completely normal in every way possible. No one likes to be stigmatized – even a little bit. The homosexual community wants the world to look at them in the same way as they look at heterosexuals. As complete equals living a sin free lifestyle – same as heterosexual.

Much as I feel for their plight and their desire to be treated as normal, treating gay sex a sin free sex is not what the Torah intended by forbidding it.

This has nothing to do with how to treat gay people. But it has everything to do with how we treat gay sex. We cannot say it’s OK to have gay sex when it is not.

I know there are people who disagree with me on both sides of the issue. I have little patience for bigots who would deny human rights to a gay person and refuse to grant them any human dignity. But on the other side of the issue – sometimes one can have too much compassion and end up completely rationalizing away sex between two men. There is no doubt in my mind that it is a biblically forbidden act no matter what the circumstances are.

And yet well intentioned people are trying to rationalize the sin away entirety. This is the case with Rabbi Zev Farber. About a year ago he wrote an essay wherein he came up with a novel approach to gay sex that would completely take away any culpability for sin by two gay men engaging in it.

While acknowledging that there has been an evolution of sorts even among Haredim with respect to treating gay people with compassion, he felt that both an Agudah Statement as well as an RCA statement fell short of treating gay people fairly. The implication of both statements is that gay sex is still forbidden and that they must live celibate lives to avoid sin. Here is how he stated his problem:

I once suggested the following thought experiment to a colleague: “If, for some reason, it became clear that the Torah forbade you to ever get married or to ever have any satisfying intimate relationship, what would you do?” My own reaction to this question is: although part of me hopes I would be able to follow the dictates of the Torah, I have strong doubts about the possibility of success, and I trust that my friends and colleagues would be supportive of me either way.

His point of course is that it is unnatural if not impossible to ask a human being to deny his sex drive no matter what his sexual orientation is. And yet gay sex is a forbidden act according to the Torah. The vast majority of educated opinion is that gay people cannot change their sexual orientation. His solution is to apply a Halachic principle called Oness (pronounced Oh-Ness) Rachmana Patrei. If one is forced to commit a sin, the Torah exempts him from any culpability. The obvious question is, why should a voluntary act of sex (of any kind) at any given moment be considered forced?

Rabbi Farber argues that when there is no Halachic outlet at all to satisfy one’s natural sex drive then at some point that drive takes over and must be satisfied. That makes it an Oness – forced. When a gay person succumbs – he therefore is absolved of any guilt. He is in effect forced by his own God given nature to act in a way that would be forbidden to heterosexual men.

The problem is that this argument eliminates the sin of gay sex in it’s entirely. Heterosexual men would hardly violate that law. And gay men are exempt from it. So why would the Torah even mention it? Furthermore this argument can be used for pedophiles too. It is well known that pedophiles too cannot not control their attraction to children either. Oness Rachmana Patrei! There are of course reasons to forbid sex with minors. But the Onesss is still there… and we should not discriminate based his sexual orientation. Is there a soul anywhere that would agree with that?!

To Rabbi Farber’s credit, he does not advocate gay marriage in Judaism:

To be sure, calling something oness does not make the action halakhically permitted; it is not. Moreover, adopting the oness principle does not mean that halakha recognizes same sex qiddushin (Jewish marriage) – it does not.

The bottom line for me is that I think he errs in his use of the Halachic device of Oness Rachmana Patrei. And I also believe that he errs in suggesting we encourage “exclusivity and the forming of a loving and lasting relationship-bond as the optimal lifestyle for gay Orthodox Jews who feel they are oness and cannot be celibate.”

It is completely wrong to encourage a lifestyle that is conducive to sinful behavior. But I agree that we ought not be judgmental about it when we see it.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Moshe Feiglin Walks Into a Gay Bar…

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

A recent article appeared in Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper (in Hebrew here) written by some guy who’s pretty decent, but doesn’t quite understand the concept of liberty all that well. To him, it’s a government guy saying he’ll fight for someone’s right to marry someone of the same sex, as if it matters who the government says you can marry at all, as if marriage were some sort of government institution. Marriage is whatever private people want it to be.

Moshe Feiglin himself does not fully grasp what liberty is, though he’s pretty close. According to him, the “status of the classical heterosexual family” has to be “protected,” as if saying that if the government does not actively “protect the classical family,” all of society will disintegrate into dysfunctional and total homosexuality.

What Feiglin doesn’t like, and I agree with him, is the government stealing money from one group and giving it to gay people. But the author of this article sounds like he’d like his own government goon to spend someone else’s money to promote same sex marriage with government funded advertising campaigns or something. I just want people to do whatever the heck they want to do without stealing money from anybody through government programs.

If the government subsidizes a gay couple (like gives them a tax break for being married according to the government), the people who don’t like gay couples get angry. If the government subsidizes a straight couple, the gay people who also want the subsidy get angry for not having “the right to be married”. It’s got nothing to do with a right to be married. It has to do with the right not to be stolen from. If straight people can get stolen from less (get a tax break) for being married, why can’t gay people? It’s always about money. Not marriage or love or tolerance. Let’s not forget that.

All Feiglin really should say is that the gay community should do whatever it wants, raise its own money, and stop trying to legislate laws which cost money and force unwilling people to pay for something they don’t believe in. And that as a Member of Knesset, he will make sure neither straights nor gays are being stolen from by government unequally.

Gay Jews, I call a truce! How about this: We the straight people promise to not get government to fund straight causes. You the gay people promise to not get government to fund gay causes. Then we can all go out for a drink at a mixed gay/straight bar. I’ll have the vanilla vodka with sprinkles and a cherry. You’ll have the whisky. Then we’ll go home and both do our familial thing, whatever that is.

The Ma’ariv article was a Kiddush Hashem. Whoever doesn’t see that and is wrapped up in the “homosexual abomination” thing, really does not have his eye on the ball of how healing this is. Moshe, thank you for doing this. Keep it up.

Here’s the link to my translation of the Ma’ariv article, on the homepage of Settlers of Samaria.

Israeli Gay Couple Seeking Divorce from Rabbinical Court

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The first Jewish Israeli male couple to marry has filed for divorce in a Tel Aviv rabbinical court that never recognized the marriage.

It is unknown if the rabbinical court will provide a divorce for Uzi Even, the first openly gay Knesset member, and Dr. Amit Kama, Ynet reported. They were married in Canada in 2004 after living together for more than a decade.

Even, a professor of physical chemistry at Tel Aviv University, and Kama — the first same-sex male couple in Israel to have their legal right of adoption recognized — split three years ago. Even now wants to marry another man abroad, but cannot until he is divorced from Kama, according to Ynet.

Under Israeli law, the rabbinical court is the only body authorized to annul the marriage of Jewish citizens in Israel. The Interior Ministry will not dissolve the marriage without an order from the rabbinical court. Only Canadian citizens can be divorced in Canada, Ynet reported.

A separation agreement has been approved by the Ramat Gan Family Court.

Even and Kama filed a lawsuit with Israel’s Supreme Court that forced the Interior Ministry to register their marriage in 2006 recognizing the marriage abroad.

In 2009, a Tel Aviv court gave them the right to adopt their 30-year-old foster son, whom they took in 15 years earlier after he was kicked out of his home for revealing his homosexuality.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israeli-gay-couple-seeking-divorce-from-rabbinical-court/2012/09/10/

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