Same gender marriage

My first point is a Jewish one. Marriage does not equal Kiddushin. It is a civilย concept. Were it not a civil requirement for certain privileges, many Jews would simply not be involved in secular marriage.

Kiddushin is well defined. It is JEWISH marriage. On that front, there is no compromise and there can not be a change. The Torah is explicit. Those who find an opening can call it what they like, but it’s not KIDDUSHIN, and anyone who calls it Kiddushin belongs to the Reform movement and is not considered part of mainstream Judaism.

How should Jews then react to the Civil contract of Marriage? I look at these issues through the eyes of Halacha. The Halacha which is germane, is that of B’nei Noach. The reality is that we cannot be seen to be supporting something contrary to the Noachide laws. Those people, however, have free choice. When they live in a union, which they already do, without the civil contract, they are technically in breach, although one wonders whether Tinok Shenishba applies ๐Ÿ™‚ I do not think the Jewish vote classifies as Mesayea Lidvar Aveyra or that this even applies because they already do it without the contract.

So, what would I say if asked? I would say that Judaism does not support same gender ย marriage contracts. Judaism doesn’t proselytise, and whilst we have our views we recognise that the non Judaic world are governed by the laws of that land. We adhere to the laws of the land, but our personal stance as a religion is that there should beย no change. At the same time, we do not support making someone an outcast because of their proclivities. Those are personal matters. We also feel that should the civil concept be legalised, all groupings based on gender preference should dissipate as this only causes animosity.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

9 thoughts on “Same gender marriage”

  1. You’re missing something important. You seem to only be considering the prohibition to bnei noach of sex between two males, which has nothing to do with marriage, or with female couples. Thus it seems that you consider “same-sex marriage” irrelevant, or at most a question of mesayeia to the couple’s illicit private life. Indeed you seem to think that the entire institution of civil marriage is something that the Torah takes no note of.

    But that isn’t the case. The Torah definitely does take note of the institution of marriage in non-Jewish societies, and regards it with approval. One reflection of this, but only one, is in the 7 mitzvos themselves, which prohibit both adultery with a married woman and relations between a son and his father’s ex-wife. But outside that, we find other references in the Torah to the institution of marriage.

    Two concern us in particular: the Sifri that defines ืžืขืฉื” ืืจืฅ ืžืฆืจื™ื and ืืจืฅ ื›ื ืขืŸ as “a man marries a man, a woman marries a woman, a woman is married to two men”. Note well that the issue here is marriage, not sex. Same-sex relations and adultery were common in almost every culture at the time of matan torah and right through to Chazal’s day. In Gemara Shabbos, in the sugya of the 18 gezeros, it is assumed that every non-Jewish boy engages in such play. What distinguised Egypt and Canaan was that they gave such relationships the dignity of official marriage.

    Similarly, in Chazal’s day, they condemn the dor hamabul for writing kesubos for males and animals, and they praise the nations of their day for not writing kesubos for their boyfriends, and not selling human flesh in the open market. Note that this is damning them with faint praise; it takes for granted that they’re sodomites and cannibals, but gives them credit for not flaunting these sins in public by treating them as though their relationships were real marriages and ordinary meat. Thus we see that even in a society such as ours where homosexuality is accepted as normal, there is a line that is crossed by the official recognition of same-sex marriage, and we should protest crossing that line.

    “Civil Unions”, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. They provide same-sex couples with all the legal protections of marriage, but without the social dignity. By establishing such an institution a society is saying that although we agree to treat these couples as if they were married, we will not pretend that they are. We are maintaining the geder that Chazal seemed to think was so important. And the fact that the organised gay political lobby has so vehemently rejected this compromise, and insists on full official marriage, proves the point. It’s precisely this breach in the fence that they want, not the practical benefits that they talk about.

    So my conclusion is that Torah Jews should support civil unions, and oppose same-sex marriage, without regard to the issues of the 7 mitzvos, and what is or isn’t technically a violation. It’s about protecting the dignity of marriage, not worrying about what a couple does or doesn’t do in the bedroom.


    1. Thanks for your reply. Today marriage in the civil world has no religious connotation but is an expression of ‘rights’ I am opposed to going out to campaign for civil union because as we already know any positive voice leads to the left wing branches of Judaism who do not follow Halacha to incorporate it into their ‘brand’ of religion. On this matter, I consider it Mesayeah. We are opposed but we answer when asked and are very clear on our opposition. I’d like to think that we have moved on since Egyptian times, but perhaps not.


      1. You miss my point. Marriage is not about religion and never had been. It’s a social institution, perhaps the most important of all social institutions. A married couple have social status, public recognition and sanction. It’s not about practical rights; if it were then the gay lobby would be happy with civil unions. When they were offered civil unions they rejected it, and their claim was exactly this: that those offering it were missing the point, and what they really want is not the right to visit each other in hospital or to inherit their house and pension, or any of the other things they used to talk about, but the public dignity of the married state. They want society to tell them that their relationship is exactly like any marriage. And that is what the Torah is against. Not what they might or might not do in private, which we don’t really know, and in the case of women it’s not even forbidden to bnei noach. The Torah’s concern is about keeping marriage special, and not extending that dignity to these arrangements.

        Civil unions give them all that they actually need and deserve, out of basic kovod habriyos. They have the right to be treated like anyone else, not to be persecuted or discriminated against, and whatever they do in private to be kept between themselves and their consciences and Creator. But they pointedly deny them the status that they crave, and that the Torah objects to.


        1. The letters in the paper are full of presumably white (xtian) writers who are dead against marriage BECAUSE they associate it with their religious marriages. You may even be right historically, but this is a sociological issue that is multi threaded and difficult to generalise about


  2. Thank You for your post.

    Unfortunately, some among us believe that we should support SSM as a civil right, and that our religious sensibilities should not inform our civil sensibilities.

    One point I wish to clarify, you write that secular marriage is essentially a civil union and not something to publicly advocate against. Some countries allow Same Sex married couples to adopt children, and to be eligable for donor births and surrogacy etc. If so, that is beyond what they do in private, and effects the public sphere?

    Another thing, should one provide services for a Same Sex wedding? Even if technically Halacha permits it? Recently a baker got fined a lot of money for refusing to place two grooms on a wedding cake.


    1. My civil sensibilities are guided by my religious imperatives. I don’t have a dual identity. On things like adoption and so on, it’s a case by case thing which I would decline to make a generalisation about. I would consult my Posek


  3. Marriage does not equal Kiddushin. Kiddushin create the status of a Jewish religious marriage:

    ืจืžื‘”ื ื”ืœื›ื•ืช ืื™ืฉื•ืช ืคืจืง ื ื”ืœื›ื” ื

    ืงื•ื“ื ืžืชืŸ ืชื•ืจื”, ื”ื™ื” ืื“ื ืคื•ื’ืข ืื™ืฉื” ื‘ืฉื•ืง ืื ืจืฆื” ื”ื•ื ื•ื”ื™ื ืœื™ืฉื ืื•ืชื” ืžื›ื ื™ืกื” ืœื‘ื™ืชื• ื•ื‘ื•ืขืœื” ื‘ื™ื ื• ืœื‘ื™ืŸ ืขืฆืžื•, ื•ืชื”ื™ื” ืœื• ืœืื™ืฉื”. ื›ื™ื•ืŸ ืฉื ื™ืชื ื” ืชื•ืจื”, ื ืฆื˜ื•ื• ื™ืฉืจืืœ ืฉืื ื™ืจืฆื” ื”ืื™ืฉ ืœื™ืฉื ืื™ืฉื” ื™ืงื ื” ืื•ืชื” ืชื—ื™ืœื” ื‘ืคื ื™ ืขื“ื™ื, ื•ืื—ืจ ื›ืš ืชื”ื™ื” ืœื• ืœืื™ืฉื”: ืฉื ืืžืจ “ื›ื™ ื™ื™ืงื— ืื™ืฉ, ืื™ืฉื”; ื•ื‘ื ืืœื™ื”” (ื“ื‘ืจื™ื ื›ื‘,ื™ื’).ื™ื’).


    1. Irrelevant. We are not talking about Jewish religious marriage, we are talking about the institution of marriage which has existed in almost every human society since creation, and which the Torah recognises as significant. The Torah specifically expresses an opinion about these marriages, approving of them, and disapproving of any parody of them such as giving this status to same-sex or polyandrous relationships.


  4. There are two words of prevalance here. One word is Homosexuality and the other word is Homosexual. Homosexuality refers the the act of sexual relations between two people of the same gender. A Homosexual refers to one who practices a
    homosexual act.

    The Torah says that homosexuality is an abomination. What about the
    homosexual him/herself? I asked that because, while there must be someone who initialises the homosexual act, the homosexual is still a person in his/her
    own right.

    I don’t know why people are the way they are. All I know that Hashem is the
    creator of the entire human race. From that, we should give Hashem
    the highest honour possible and to give Him thanks.

    I know that homosexuals belongs to society, by are homosexxuals
    accepted by society.

    I wonder why people are the way they are in being born with many any varied
    disabilities, diseases, conditions, gene variations and gene mutations.

    I crinch every time when I hear the definion of marriage
    It is all very well that in every parliament in the world, there are Acts of Marriage.
    I accept t hat, but the Institution and the sanctity of Marriage is not determined
    by any politician. Not is Marriage determined by an Act of Parliament.
    Nor is it determined by heads sof state or by any King or Queen .
    The Institution of Marriage is determined by Hashem Himself.

    The purpose of marriage is one of procreation and the act of procreation
    can only be done between a man and a woman. Homosexuals can’t procreate.
    They can adopt or receive IVF treatment, but adoption and
    reeciving IVF treatment does not fill the definition of procreation


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