5 Reasons Being an Orthodox Rabbi Compelled Me to Support Gay Marriage
I am coming out of the closet. I am an Orthodox rabbi and an advocate for gay marriage.
The history of the theological issue is complicated, but the moral issue is increasingly clear. Faith leaders must stand as public allies; private support is no longer enough. Fifteen states and counting have formally approved marriage equality. It’s time that traditional faith leaders stand for gay rights, including the right to marriage.
As an Orthodox Jew, I believe the Bible was given by G-d, that Jewish law is binding, and that change in our religious practice cannot happen impetuously. It also means that I take the pervasive biblical call for justice very seriously. I am pro-gay-rights because I am an Orthodox rabbi, not in spite of it.
I only officiate at marriages between Jewish men and women according to the framework of the tradition, but I will argue (and advocate) adamantly for the political rights of gay people to marry. I believe the essence of religious conviction is that we must do what is right, not what is popular. As I have come to understand, there are five important reasons that my identity and values as an Orthodox rabbi compel me to support same-sex civil marriage.
I have empathy for those seeking loving relationships.
The rabbis of the Talmud actually suggested that it is as difficult to find a life partner as it was for G-d to split the sea for the Israelites during their Exodus from Egypt (Sotah 2a). The most beautiful and blessed aspect of my life is my family. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that I would feel if I were deprived of my right to return home, in full dignity, each day to my loving wife and the delight of my daughter. The thought of being legally denied the ability to commit to my wife or raise our own children is horrifying. How can I enjoy these freedoms and not advocate for those struggling to secure similar full rights for themselves and the ones they care for?