KosherTorah School for Biblical, Judaic & Spiritual Studies

KosherTorah on Same-Sex Marriages

by Ariel Bar Tzadok
Copyright © 2015 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.

Same-sex marriage is not mentioned in the Torah, the Talmud, or any other classical Rabbinic source. Therefore, same-sex marriages cannot be said to be forbidden by the Torah. There is absolutely nothing forbidden with two members of the same sex loving one another, and wanting to share their lives together.

The only prohibition, Biblically speaking, is sodomy. This is the specific insertion of the male sex organ into the rectum of another male. This alone is what the Bible calls an “abomination.” There is no religious reference to and therefore, no religious prohibition against any, and all other acts of physical contact, or intimate touch.

In many cultures around the world, members of the same sex meet, and greet with hugs, and kisses. These are signs of true affection. Respectful, and culturally appropriate expressions of true affections between members of the same sex are no different than those expressed between members of the opposite sex. They should always be honored, and respected.

There are many different definitions of the term, and concept of marriage. Secular government can define the term any way it wants. But the definitions of secular government are by no means binding, either legally or morally, upon any religion. Religion and government are two separate and distinct entities. Government can say what it wants, and religion will say what it wants.

Under Torah Law (Halakha), marriage is called Kiddushin. Instead of Kiddushin being a proclamation of love, it is instead a business contract (thus, the Ketubah). In the act of Kiddushin, a man is binding himself to financially support the woman he is taking into his house. She is technically subservient to him in many ways. Secular definitions of marriage differ radically from the Torah concept of Kiddushin.

Both parties in a Kiddushin contract must be subject to the conditions and obligations therein. Under Kiddushin, for example, a Jew cannot marry a Gentile, simply for the reason that the Kiddushin contract has limited jurisdiction. Torah law is not applicable to Gentiles, therefore, a Gentile cannot be brought into a Torah legal contract under Torah law.

In a same-sex marriage, the concept and terms of Kiddushin do not apply. There is no subservient partner, committing total financial responsibility for the other party. Therefore, there can never be a Halakhic Kiddushin ceremony for a same-sex couple.

Do not misunderstand this. This only means that a certain form of marriage ceremony cannot be performed. If a couple, not marriageable under Halakha gets married using any other form of wedding ceremony, secular authorities will most likely deem it acceptable. One's own religious community will or will not deem such a ceremony binding, and either will or will not recognize the marriage of the couple. But this has nothing to do with Halakha. Halakha cannot recognize something outside of its jurisdiction.

Whether or not same-sex couples is a proper moral choice is not my concern. Individuals are free to chose their lifestyles, and live their lives accordingly. Whether or not one personally approves of same-sex marriage is totally unimportant and irrelevant. Everyone is entitled to one's opinion, and no one has to agree with, or embrace the ideas, beliefs, and lifestyles of another

Rather than be concerned with what others do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, it would be wiser to place emphasis on the development of honesty, and integrity, in all walks of life.

Torah is concerned with righteousness, honesty, and integrity. One's sexual persuasion has little to do with how one treats one's fellow human beings. One can be either straight or gay, and still be either a righteous person, or a total “bastard.”

On a personal note, while I myself have absolutely no interest in, or desire for a same-sex sexual experience, over many years I have had multiple social, and business dealings with gay individuals. I want to publicly admit that, as a group, the gay guys I have crossed paths with have been the nicest, curiously most normal groups of guys I have ever met. I understand that being gay has a lot more to do with culture, and lifestyle that it does with actual sex. I can see what attracts many to the gay culture, even many heterosexuals.

With the proliferation of same-sex marriage, we are bound to see the inevitable outcome. This will be the avalanche of same-sex divorces. It remains to be seen if the divorce rate in same-sex couples will be less than, equal to, or greater than the divorce rate in the heterosexual community.

To same-sex couples, I wish you a traditional Jewish, “mazal tov” (good luck). While Torah obligates its adherents to shun sodomy, the same Torah obligates us to show respect, decency and dignity to all, this includes homosexuals of either sex.

Live and let live. Show respect. Be dignified. Doing these things, we all serve both Heaven, and our greater collective humanity.


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