More Jewish homophobia from Rabbi Chaim Ingram and Paul Winter on J-Wire

Repeat Jewish offenders Rabbi Chaim Ingram and Paul Winter post their homophobia on J-Wire.

The following comments appear on a J-Wire article beneath a photo gallery captioned:

Around 150 guests attended the panel discussion dealing with Marriage Equality in Australia at NCJWA NSW.
 Moderator: Dr Justin Koonin; Panel: Justice Stephen Rothman, Professor Kerryn Phelps, Tiernan Brady & Lauren Reinhardt, organised by NCJWA NSW Social Justice Chair Nadene Alhadeff. 


Rabbi Chaim Ingram says:

Enough with the euphemisms. The forum was dealing not with marriage equality but with same-sex marriage. Even if, G-D forbid, SSM is legalised in Australia, we shall not have marriage equality. Polygamists, polyandrists devotees of menage-a-trois and advocates of the right of bisexuals to be married to a man AND a woman simultaneously – not to mention other exotic varieties I would rather not name – will still feel disenfranchised. No doubt at least one of the above will be the next great cause for the so-called equality brigade to champion.

  • Paul Winter says:

    I absolutely concur. The call for same sex marriage on the basis of equality is deceptive. People who are fixated or regressed to that point in life when children play with those of their own sex are not equal to people who have attained psychosexual maturity. Many have many admirable qualities and abilities – and here Alan Turing comes to mind – but they have a developmental flaw.

    And then there is the appeal to love – homosexual love is the same as the love of anyone else. But we do not know how others love, we only know how we ourselves love. And if the issue is love, why deny that to children, to siblings or to those who love many people. What makes same-sex relations so special?

    And then we also hear of the gender fluid. How any person can feel like a person of the opposite sex was a mystery to me until my youngest grandchildren then 7 and 5 1/2 commanded my wife and me to “pretend” in a game they were playing. People wanting to marry should be beyond the pretending stage.

    And then, why call it marriage? Why not a commitment contract? I submit, the same sex people are uncomfortable with their sexuality and by appropriating the term marriage, they seek to diminish their anxiety by their pretense that they are no different to anyone else.

    My advice to them: accept yourselves before you demand acceptance by others; you are not disadvantaged in Australia – you are accepted as equals as human beings – so stop your agitation, fit in and grow up.

  • Sam Goldmansays:

    Rabbi I am in full agreement with you. You forgot to mention child bride marriages, so frowned upon by society. Those participating in that form of marriage, that are jailed now, will also want equality in marriage too.

POSTSCRIPT – 11-Aug-2017
J-Wire have unpublished these comments after they received a complaint about them.  See the comments on an archived copy of the article here.

We Call Out Homophobic Clerics, But What About The Rabbis? | New Matilda

The changing face of marriage | AJN

The changing face of marriage (1 of 2)The changing face of marriage (2 of 2)

AJN Letters: Marriage Equality – a response to Rabbi Gutnick, another from Rabbi Ingram – November 2 2012

2 November 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 will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.

Time to update view on marriage

IN response to the opinion piece by Rabbi Moshe Gutnick in The AJN (26/10), I find it remarkably ironic that he should enjoy the freedoms and rights that come with the laws of Australia, and yet he lectures on what marriage should and should not be, based on reasoning that originated elsewhere and from a very different historical and time context.

It is time that people like him updated their views, aligned themselves with basic human rights and embraced the idea of a fair go for all, as is the supposed Australian ideal.  As usual, gay rights are being misconstrued and twisted into taking away from or devaluing heterosexual rights, when in fact we simply want what our parents, siblings and friends enjoy – the right to get married, the right to have a fabulous party and the right to be left alone and not dictated to by some stranger who thinks their values can somehow inform what I may or may not do.

Brisbane, QLD

Standing up to political correctness

THE predictable flood of emotive and irrational invective (AJN 26/10) against my sober refutation based on Torah outlook (19/10) of Justice Rothman’s views on homosexual marriage (12/10) graphically illustrates why the courageous public stand against the rising tide of political correctness of 150 prominent Australian doctors opposing same-sex marriage speaks far more loudly than the fact that 1000 other doctors endorsed it.

After all, it isn’t everybody in professional life who wants to take an unpopular public stance on an issue and risk insult, vitriol and ostracism from a vociferous interest group, as well as from those preferring to espouse the popular “wisdom” of the day.

Of the five letters published, not one dealt with the points I raised.  Three were rude and insulting and one expressed the intolerant desire to silence me as well as all those who disagree with them.  Sadly, they reveal more about their authors than the subject of their criticism.  But thank God free speech is still alive and well in The Australian Jewish News.

Bondi Junction, NSW

AJN Letters: Marriage Equality – Responses to Rabbi Chaim Ingram – October 26 2012

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 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?

Fraser, ACT

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  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.

Michael Barnett
Ashwood, Vic

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.

Melbourne, Vic

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

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

19 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 will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.

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

AJN Letters: Marriage Equality – Responses to Rabbis Gutnick & Ingram – November 9 2012

9 November 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 will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.

We should not impose our laws on society

I WAS displayed by Rabbi Moshe Gutnick’s column about same-sex marriage (AJN 26/11).  He raises and then dismisses the key point that civil, non-religiously affiliated celebrants can perform legally recognised marriages in Australia.

Contrary to his claim, this is indeed an indication that the civil status of marriage is not based on a “Judeo-Christian, and indeed biblical, foundation”.

Speaking of a biblical foundation, I find it especially interesting that Rabbi Gutnick then raises a “slippery slope” argument that approving same-sex marriage would lead to the permitting of a marriage between a man and two women because in the recent parshah, Vayetze, Yaakov enters into that exact relationship with Rachel and Leah!

Australia prides itself on multiculturalism, and one of its most attractive features is the lack of religious influence in its civic life. I’m sure it would not occur to Rabbi Gutnick to insist that other marriages forbidden to Orthodox Jews, such as marriage between a Cohen and a divorcee, should be forbidden by civil law in Australia.  Similarly, Jewish law regarding marriages and homosexuality should not be imposed on the larger Australian community.

South Yarra, VIC

Australia not beholden to the Jewish view

Rabbis Moshe Gutnick (AJN 26/10) And Chaim Ingram (AJN 19/10) have very different approaches, but each does not deal with the fundamental issue.  Rabbi Gutnick’s comment on the place of Judeo-Christian ethic in Australia is misplaced.  The only mention of God in relation to the Australian Constitution is in the preamble to the Imperial (UK) Act, not in any operative provision of that Constitution, and the mention is that the people were “humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God”.  So am I.

Australian democracy is quite different to most.  Firstly, voting is compulsory.  The majority in Australia is not silent; it votes.  Secondly, voting is preferential.  The person elected represents a consensus of the majority in the electorate.

The combination of the two factors forces political parties to the centre; to appeal to the majority are not sectarian interests, who will then turn out to vote on one or more issues of concern.

Thirdly, Australia, despite its history of bigotry, particularly to blacks, gays and new immigrant groups, is extremely tolerant; laissez-faire, not moralistic.  It allows people to do what they like as long as it doesn’t interfere with them.

The best example is the Australian reaction to the AIDS epidemic. We did not suffer at the hands of religious bigotry.  We educated and provided needle exchange; and Australia was the only major western country in which the incidents of AIDS fell in the gay community and was never an epidemic in the heterosexual community.

Australia owes much to the Judeo-Christian ethic, but only indirectly, and we have significantly departed from it: e.g. stem cell research (inconsistent with Christian, but not Jewish, ethos); abortion; and same gender relationships.  Democracy is not a product of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Rabbi Gutnick threatens polygamy and incest as the possible result if marriage is broadened.  He must have read the parshah: Abraham had three wives and married his niece!  Each act would be illegal in Australia.

The Judeo-Christian ethic (what Rabbi Ingram calls the conduct of Abraham, being over 6000 years old) allowed and encouraged polygamy (at least one male with more than one wife); it allowed slavery (up to six years); and it permitted Abraham to marry his niece, Issac his cousin, Esau his first cousin, Jacob his first two cousins (through both his mother and father).

Australia has determined that same gender relationships should be legal – they can be recognised as de facto couples. If the Judeo-Christian ethos prevailed, as Rabbi Gutnick suggests, this would not have occurred.

Perhaps same-gender marriages are not, in the Jewish view, made in heaven.  But the Jewish view does not prevail in Australia.  We do not live, thank God, in a theocracy; we live in a democracy.

The only issue is whether a couple legally living together (or who want to) should have the choice of marriage.  This change does not affect Orthodox Judaism, but it does effect true tolerance to those who are currently suffering discriminatory treatment.

And in the end, it’s about treating others as we would want to be treated (or not doing to them that which we would find hateful); everything else is just commentary.

Bondi Junction, NSW

Exceptions to the rights to marry

DICTIONARY definitions of marriage recognise “mutual relation of husband and wife” being “a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family”.

Justice Stephen Rothman (AJN 12/10) regards marriage as a universal rite with rights for all; however, Rabbi Gutnick (AJN 26/10) surely has debunked that assertion by reminding us that incestuous or polygamist marriages are not acceptable so rites and rights have some exceptions.  Why?  Because that is our Judaic tradition.

Respect, love the one’s fellow man, tolerance, diversity, compassion for weaknesses within us all and equal standing before our creator is a sine qua non also contained within our Judaic traditions.  For millennia, during times of upheaval, confusion and bedlam, we have been a light unto the nations and therefore let us not change widely understood definitions of marriage or the teachings of Torah that form the basis of civilised society and family in order to satisfy a vocal interest group.

Bondi Junction, NSW

Australian Jewish News apologises for Rabbi Chaim Ingram

Last week the Australian Jewish News published an article by Chaim Ingram in both their Sydney and Melbourne editions in which they inadvertently included this grossly offensive statement on the issue of homosexuality:

Non-Orthodoxy embraces it while Orthodoxy sees it as a sin for which one must be prepared to give up one’s life if necessary.

This week the AJN have published an apology in both editions for this editorial oversight:

27 Jul 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition


IN last week’s AJN (20/07), Rabbi Chaim Ingram expressed an opinion on homosexuality held by certain sections of the Jewish community. The AJN apologises for any offence caused.

AJN Letters: Maurice Sendak + Chaim Ingram on Marriage Equality – May 18 2012

18 May 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 will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.

Wild thing made my heart sing

THE death of Maurice Sendak takes me back to my childhood, on a journey that many of us could share similarly. I recall turning the pages of his Wild Things book with wonderment and enjoying the scariness of the story and illustrations.

Not knowing until today that Sendak was of Jewish heritage, it is but one of the many things about him of which I was previously unaware. Another is that he had a male partner of 50 years, Eugene Glynn, who pre-deceased him in 2007.

I’m confident that Sendak’s diverse legacy will live on and enrich the lives of future generations, as it did mine.

Ashwood, Vic

Rabbis opposition to same sex marriages

DIKLA Blum (AJN 11/04) need be neither surprised nor baffled by the Rabbinical Council of NSW submissions (in consort with those of the Organisation of Rabbis in Australasia and the Rabbinical Council of Victoria) to the Senate and the House of Representatives opposing a change in the law that would recognise samesex marriage.

As a self-describing “mainstream” Orthodox Jew, Ms. Blum ought to be aware that the concept of homosexual marriage – and indeed homosexual relations – is incompatible with Orthodox, i.e. halachic Judaism.

Moreover since homosexuality is outlawed in the Noachide Code which is the basis of the JudaeoChristian ethic that has governed modern Australia since its inception, rabbinical organisations as guardians of that ethic have seen fit to fight to guard and protect that ethic.

Regarding the RCNSW’S use of the word “mainstream”, our president Rabbi Ulman has already clarified (AJN 27/04) that “by its very definition Reform/progressive theology deviates from the mainstream” and therefore it is an adjective we are fully entitled to use.

As for the representation issue: the rabbinic bodies in Australia purport to represent Torah and Torah values as is our mandate.

If this happens to conflict with the dogmas and mantras of the modern age which have turned some heads 180 degrees on this particular issue within a single generation, we the teachers of Judaism cannot be held to blame.

As it happens, I believe that were a survey of the opinions of the Orthodox community, and for that matter the wider Jewish community, to be conducted anonymously Ms Blum would again be surprised.

Bondi Junction, NSW