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?
Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will lead the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics next year in Sochi, Russia.
The White House says tennis champion Billie Jean King and U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul will join the opening ceremony delegation. So will figure skater Brian Boitano and presidential adviser Rob Nabors.
Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will lead the closing ceremony delegation. He will be joined by McFaul, Olympic medal-winners Bonnie Blair, a speed skater; Caitlin Cahow, an ice hockey player; and Eric Heiden, a speed skater.
King and Cahow are both openly gay athletes. Gay rights groups have urged the Obama administration to use the delegation selection to make a point about Russia’s treatment of gays and lesbians.
Russia’s parliament on Wednesday passed an amnesty bill that will likely apply to the 30-member crew of a Greenpeace ship detained after an Arctic protest, but it wasn’t immediately clear if and when the activists would be allowed to leave the country.
The amnesty, which also would likely free the two jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk band, has been largely viewed as the Kremlin’s attempt to soothe criticism of Russia’s human rights records ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February. But opposition lawmakers argued it doesn’t go nearly far enough and the complicated legislation appeared to leave many questions open.
The United States Senate approved a bill Wednesday that restores aid to Egypt in full at $1.6 billion vis-a-vis granting U.S. President Barack Obama the “power to waive a federal law based on national security,” according to Agence France-Presse Thursday.
The bill, drafted by Senators Robert Menendez and Bob Corker, gives the President the power to waive a US coup law restriction for up to a year if “aid is deemed essential for national security.”
The US had previously suspended aid to Egypt in October this year, deciding not to send previously planned shipments of 10 Apache helicopters worth $500 million, M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and $260 million in cash assistance until Egypt could demonstrate that “credible progress” has been made “towards an inclusive government set up through free and fair elections.”
He also accused President Obama of “destroying the war ethos” of the U.S. military and said there’s been a “radicalization” of the armed forces.
“If we don’t have a war ethos, [if] we don’t have young men going face-to-face to possibly stick a bayonet in someone to protect you and me, we’re toast. We’re gone,” he said. “We’ve got all the technology in the world and we’re losing that because we’re taking Christianity out of the military.”
Connor criticized Graham’s votes to support U.S. Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan and said he wants to see changes made to the court system. He also favors a consumption-based tax.
“The Supreme Court only has a few original jurisdiction items,” he said. “All the appeals authority comes from Congress. … Our courts right now are rewriting the Constitution every day that we move on.”
Toroczkai, who ran as a candidate of Jobbik, swept the election with 71.5% of the 1,264 votes cast. The only other candidate was Ferenc Petró of the governing Fidesz party.
Toroczkai’s lopsided victory was considered all the more odd given that he received support from the local branch of the Democratic Coalition (DK), the party of former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány - whom Toroczkai in 2011 was caught on tape saying he would shoot if given the chance.
One local DK party member, József Márki, went as far as saying he would vote for Toroczkai even if Gyurcsány himself called him to tell him not to. Márki was later expelled from the party and the leaders of the DK distanced themselves from this support, though Toroczkai said he received ballot nomination papers from several other local DK members.
Toroczkai gained widespread notoriety following the 2006 siege of the Hungarian Television building and has since remained a key figure on the fringes of the country’s political life.
On Wednesday evening, LG turned a few heads with the announcement of its new 21:9 UHD TV, one so large that you may have to knock down several supporting walls to get it into your living room. Touted by LG as “the world’s first 105-inch curved UHD TV,” the company is gearing up to unveil it at CES 2014 in Las Vegas next month.
Of course, with LG’s new set drawing plenty of attention last night, you wouldn’t expect Samsung to just sit idly by, would you.
So, just a few hours later, it also announced an equally massive television, describing its monster as “the world’s first, largest and most curved 105-inch curved UHD TV.” Perhaps Samsung’s marketing team was caught off guard by LG’s announcement and as a result felt compelled to throw in that extra “curved” in an attempt to give its TV what it sees as the ‘winning edge’ over LG’s pretty much identical offering.
Animation showing Gaia launch and journey to its operating orbit. The animation begins by visualising the launch from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on a Soyuz-STB/Fregat-MT vehicle. The rocket’s four boosters are jettisoned 118 seconds after launch, and the spacecraft fairing is jettisoned after 220 seconds.
Approximately 40 million credit and debit card accounts used by Target customers may have been impacted by a major data breach, the retailer said Thursday.
Customer names and credit or debit card numbers are involved in the breach - along with the expiration date and three-digit CVV security code of each card, the store said.
Shoppers who made purchases at their stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 were urged to check their debit and credit card accounts and report suspected unauthorized activity to the firm.
Target said in a statement that it was “aware of unauthorized access to payment card data that may have impacted certain guests making credit and debit card purchases” during the height of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday shopping period.
It is one of the largest ever breaches of consumer information, echoing the 2007 theft of data from at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards of shoppers at retailers including T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.
In a sign of mounting international concern about fighting in South Sudan, Britain said on Thursday that it had dispatched an airplane to evacuate British nationals as clashes were reported to have spread following claims of an attempted coup.
The Foreign Office said that around 150 of the estimated 500 Britons in the newly created country had been in touch with British officials, many of them wanting to leave the country. The developments came a day after the South Sudanese Army said that it had lost control of a town in the north of the country.
South Sudan declared its independence in July 2011, after years of struggle to break away from the Arab-dominated north of Sudan. But in the past few days, President Salva Kiir has accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of attempting to overthrow him — a charge Mr. Machar denied on Wednesday.