8/16/13- When Joseph Harounian came out of the closet to his Persian Jewish family, relatives told him to march right back in.
Some worried he'd turn his cousins gay. Others feared for the family's reputation. They began excluding him from family events. It was only after his grandmother intervened that he was gradually welcomed back into the fold.
Now, years later, Harounian says his family has come to terms with who he is. But he knows that the fear of ostracism still keeps other gay Persian Jews from coming out.
Support for gay rights and same-sex unions has never been higher, according to numerous polls. But in many religious communities, acceptance has been much slower.