26 October 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition
Letters to the editor should be no more than 250 words and may be edited for length and content. Only letters sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.
No rational basis for opposing gay marriage
IN his response to Justice Stephen Rothman’s article, “Marriage Rites Are Rights For All” (AJN 12/10), Rabbi Chaim Ingram (AJN 19/10) rejects as “patently risible” Rothman’s view that “current opposition to same-sex marriage is irrational”. Rabbi Ingram then continues: “Opposition to homosexual marriage is eminently rational.” However, other than baldly stating that such opposition is “eminently rational”, Ingram provides little evidence of precisely how that opposition is rational.
The closest Ingram comes is citing the opinion of 150 doctors that marriage is between a man and a woman exclusively is the basis for a healthy society. However, the Australia Medical Association (AMA) has rejected the stance of those 150 doctors. In fact, the AMA president has reportedly said the doctors’ claims are irresponsible and at odds with medical evidence. The AMA president cited a growing body of evidence that children of gay and lesbian parents are just as happy with themselves and their own sexuality as children of heterosexual parents with no difference in development, psychological adjustment, or peer popularity.
Moreover, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) – the largest professional association for psychologists in Australia, which represents more than 20,000 members – has endorsed the American Psychological Association’s calling for marriage equality. In a unanimous resolution, the APS has called for legalisation of same-sex marriage, on the basis of psychological evidence showing the mental health benefits of marriage, and the harm caused by social exclusion and discrimination arising from not having the choice to marry.
I ask Rabbi Ingram to have another attempt at explaining the rational basis for opposing same-sex marriage. In particular, I ask the rabbi: What is the rational difference between a committed, exclusive relationship of one man and one woman and a committed, exclusive relationship of one man and one man or one woman and one woman? The rational difference cannot be children, since one does not need to have to children to get married in Australia; and one does not need to get married to have children. What, then, is the patently rational difference?
The reality of homosexuality
DOES Rabbi Ingram have any compassion for those whose natural sexual desires are toward their own, rather than the opposite, sex? Homosexuality has been observed in animal species as well as in humans, so perhaps some people are born that way. What has the Orthodox rabbinate to say on that?
The Torah also has a command that “wayward” sons be brought to the community to be stoned. Naturally the application of this law is abhorrent and the rabbis have found ways around the law.
But when it comes to homosexuality, an ancient prejudice that has lead to suicides, only the Progressive rabbis have made a positive step to justice.
Tell me rabbi: How would gay marriage in any way affect those of us in heterosexual marriages? How could it change our relationships with our spouses and children? Why, rabbi, do you take such a strong stand on this subject?
Bentleigh East, Vic
Most medics are pro gay marriage
Rabbi Ingram refers to 150 doctors who oppose changes to the Marriage Act that would allow same-sex attracted and intersex people the right to marry the person of their choice. What he conveniently neglects to mention are the over 1000 Australian medical practitioners who have signed their names to support such legislative changes, on the basis of credible medical evidence. The list of names and research papers are all available at drs4equality.com. With stark headlines such as the recent “Suicide rates high for Orthodox homosexual youths” in The Jerusalem Post, and in the face of the evidence presented by Doctors for Marriage Equality, it doesn’t take much to realise that people like Rabbi Ingram are exacerbating the problems their communities are facing.
Contemporary scientific and medical understanding is so completely foreign to what was acceptable decades ago, let alone 4000 years ago. Rabbi Ingram must learn to move with the times or be rendered a prehistoric relic who does more harm than good.
Disgusted at rabbi’s homophobic views
I AM ashamed that Chaim Ingram’s homophobic and offensive comments were allowed in last week’s letters. I am extremely disappointed and embarrassed by this representation of our community.
Being a philosophy student and an atheist secular humanist Jew, I am once again shocked by this widely held view in the religious community. Ingram tries to apply logic to his emotional plea and fails miserably. We, as people, are meant to spread love, compassion and kindness, and this letter is taking us in the other direction.
How would rabbis react to gay kids?
I AM writing to express my disgust at the letter from last week’s AJN from Rabbi Chaim Ingram in reply to Justice Stephen Rothman’s article (12/10).
Again it displays the total ignorance and intolerance of many of our rabbis. It is disgusting in its content.
What would many of the so-called rabbis say if they personally had a gay son or daughter? I fortunately belong to a congregation on Melbourne where are rabbis are understanding and very tolerant of all sexual relationships, and welcome heterosexuals and homosexuals equally, remembering we are all created equal in the sight of God.
A letter like this is a sure way of losing many Jews from the various congregations.
Black Rock, Vic