Rabbi Shlomo Aviner refuses to back marriage between homosexuals and lesbians, says 'a child needs parents who love each other.' Gay religious groups say new initiative 'implies there is no room for homosexuals in the religious community'
A new Web initiative seeking to match religious homosexuals and lesbians has sparked a row in the religious world. Although it has gained the support of a series of dignified rabbis, not everyone is pleased with the solution suggested by Rabbi Arale Harel and the Kamoha organization for Orthodox homosexuals.
Rabbi Aviner clarifies that he is against the proposed "shidduch", adding: "This problem must be solved differently. A new method for treating homosexuals and lesbians, called 'the reparative method', has recently arrived in Israel. Thousands have been freed in the United States. It's new in Israel and I recommend this method, which solves most of the problems.
'Family unit is not just male and female'
Gay religious organizations, most of which are against conversion therapy and present studies on the possible damages of the "reparative method", have expressed their reservations as well, arguing that the initiative harms religious homosexuals as a public.
Daniel Jonas, a spokesman for the Havruta organization, explains that the objection to the initiative is not directed against individual homosexuals and lesbians who get married, but against the idea itself.
"Such initiatives are basically aimed at denying our existence, and saying that there is no such thing as homosexuals and lesbians and no room for them in the religious society," he says.
Jonas adds that the new initiative will cause people to live a lie and fail to fulfill themselves. "What they're saying is that this is the only way to start a family, but giving 'exclusivity' to this option when it comes to starting a family may cause real damage to the couple, their children and the entire society.
"It would be better if gays and lesbians would just be accepted for who they are, and this process is already in its midst. We have people who raise children in a different way and in joint custody.
"Although a child of a gay and lesbian couple will technically grow up with a mother and father, this isn't the family unit I want to see. We don't believe that a family unit is just male and female – it's also a matter of love and living together. There are other halachic solutions for having children, like artificial insemination.
"What they did is problematic," he says. "Presenting it as the main option is wrong. It must be stressed that they are several solutions, and that each person should find the suitable way for himself. However, the initiative does include a positive aspect – that finally people are not trying to conceal and ignore the issue."