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Monday, January 25, 2010

Shmuley Boteach Comes out in Favor of Gay Marriage?

Well, perhaps not quite. But it wasn't that far off, and I'd be surprised if he doesn't get roundly condemned for not being sufficiently anti-"toeiva marriage," as unfortunately most frum Jews call it.

In a glowing article about the Chabad movement urging it to strive for what some might call playing into classic anti-Semitic themes, i.e. "affecting the world media, governments, the broader culture and the non-Jewish world," Rabbi Boteach dropped this bombshell:

While Christian evangelicals have taken over the airwaves, attempting to convince us that the solution to the disintegration of marriage is opposition to gays, Chabad continues to operate shofar factories and erect Hanukka menoras. These things are profoundly important, but not to the exclusion of promoting Chabad as a profound collection of ideas that can rehabilitate one's family and rejuvenate one's spiritual life.

Now, I suppose technically you could read this as Rabbi Boteach not saying anything about the evil of lack thereof in gay marriage, and just pointing out that gays and/or gay marriage have about zero to do with the very real disintegration of the institution of marriage. Hell, maybe you could (although this would really be stretching things) claim that Rabbi Shmuley was just stating a fact about what Christian evangelicals do on the airwaves.

But it really seems to me like he's saying, at least, that gay marriage is not all that big of a deal.

Now, halacha may be interpreted otherwise, at least applied to civil marriages of non-Jews in the United States. Halacha (as it currently stands; that verse CAN be interpreted in other ways, though I do not see that happening given the "strict constructionist/precedence-always" view that poskim take) is against the sex acts between two men, not the marriage.

However, the word coming out of the frum areas in New York and more recently out of Lakewood and such places in New Jersey was that "to'eiva" marriage must be stopped.

I wonder if he'll get flak for it.

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