AJN Letters: Marriage Equality – Rabbi Chaim Ingram responds to Justice Stephen Rothman – October 19, 2012

19 October 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

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Rothman wrong on same-sex marriage

Justice Stephen Rothman’s article “Marriage rites are rights for all” (AJN 12/10) is intellectually flawed several reasons:

While he, like everyone, is entitled to express his view, to state that “current opposition to same-sex marriage is irrational” is patently risible.

Opposition to homosexual marriage is eminently rational. It is based on the universal age-old, time-hallowed, sacred definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Will Justice Rothman perhaps advocate a similar change to the definition of death and redefine it as, say, “the loss of a will to live”, thus paving the way for voluntary euthanasia? After all, it is less conscience-pricking to kill an already dead man.

Will he, moreover, accuse those opposed to such a radical redefinition (and redefining marriage is no less radical) of being “irrational”?

Such intolerant pejorative labelling is redolent of the anti-intellectual tactics of the far left.

That can be no meaningful comparison between opposition to circumcision, a practice sanctified nearly four millennia ago by Abraham, progenitor of the three monotheistic faiths accounting for 60 per cent of the world’s population, and opposition to same-sex marriage which, prior to the 21st century, was instituted in only the most decadent ancient cultures.

Justice Rothman rightly cites evidence that female circumcision “injures the ‘victim’ both physically and psychologically”.

However, there was other medical evidence he didn’t mention.

Earlier this year, 150 prominent doctors – including Victoria’s deputy chief psychiatrist – publicly declared in the face of political correctness that in their considered medical view marriage between a man and a woman exclusively is the basis for a healthy society.

Even supposing the evidence is not conclusive, should Justice Rothman not take it into account?  Worse, on what intellectually sound basis does he excoriate those who do and tell them they are irrational?

Justice Rothman declares that homosexual marriage is “not antithetical to the values of society in which that minority resides”.

I beg to disagree.

The values of Australian society are founded on what is often termed Judaeo-Christian ethic and which Jews term the Noahide Code, according to which homosexuality is one of a handful of offences (and prawn-eating is not one of them), which one is bidden to resist even on pain of death.

Bondi Junction, NSW

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