Orthodox Rav Solves The Mystery Of Sexual Identity Formation

Rabbi Kanefsky writes in the Jewish Journal: "I cannot articulate for myself a convincing argument as to why the legal recognition of civil marriage should be withheld from citizens who, by dint of how they were born, are only able to form bonds of love and commitment with members of their own gender."

How about because no society in history has recognized civil marriage between two people of the same sex? We can now rewrite the rules of civilization because we are so sure we know better?

That’s chutzpah. To advocate for same-sex marriage is to say we know better than all civilizations that have gone before us.


People who devote their lives to the study of sexual identity do not know when it begins, but the rabbi does? He apparently knows that some people are born with a homosexual sexual identity.

As the Wikipedia entry on sexual identity says: "A large array of factors have been hypothesized as being determinative, but there is as settled view on these matters."

I believe it means there is no settled view on these matters.

Why is the rabbi who speaks for God and Torah articulating a settled view on sexual identity that is just not there? I hate it when rabbis speak out on matters about which they are ignorant. It does not just make the individual rabbi look bad, it makes religion look bad.

What about those two-thirds of identifying gay men who have had sex with a woman? Is the rabbi talking about them?

I bet if you asked the Humbert Humberts of the world, they would say they were only capable of forming "bonds of love and commitment" with girls aged considerably under 18. Why is their sexual identity less worthy of respect and compassion?

My sexual identity is that I want to have sex with as many attractive females as possible. Why do I get no compassion and respect for this? Why not change civil marriage to allow me to marry as many women at the same time who will have me?

What about the overwhelming majority of gay men who do not practice monogamy? I don’t know of any poll or study that shows the median male homosexual having fewer than 200 sexual partners over a lifetime. It doesn’t sound to me like there are many gays looking to form lasting "bonds of love and commitment" with one member of their gender.

And what’s this "gender" talk? Gender is a societal construction. Sex is biological. So if a human being with a male sexual organ chooses to identify with the female gender, we should respect that? Let people classify themselves as male or female depending on their whim?

Oy, the word "gender" in this context makes me feel uncomfortable and I hate that.

I believe Rabbi Kanefsky was the only Orthodox rabbi in California to publicly oppose Proposition 8.

In 2004, Rabbi Kanefsky took part in a debate over same-sex marriage at the University of Judaism with Dennis Prager, Rabbi Elliot Dorff, and Rabbi Steve Greenberg.

Rabbis are jolly lucky they’ve got me policing them on the internet. Who knows what kind of trouble they would get into otherwise?

PS. Here are two more sentences in Rabbi Kanefsky’s blog post that bother me: "Not because Orthodox Jews should oppose equality in housing and employment for gays and lesbians, the issue around which the movie is centered. Quite to the contrary, there is no basis in Halacha for favoring such discrimination."

I have not seen Milk (frankly, I don’t like to watch movies about male homosexuality because the subject creeps me out, just as I don’t like to watch movies about pedophilia or alcoholism or drug abuse or cutting or tattooing), but I suspect the equality matter regards making it illegal to discriminate against homosexuals in housing and employment. Does Jewish law say anything about this? A lot of things Jewish law opposes Jewish law does not seek the wider non-Jewish society to legislate. Does Jewish law want people put in prison because they won’t hire a homosexual or rent to a homosexual? That’s what you mean when you make such discrimination illegal. You are saying that policemen can come and take you away and put you in prison (if you refuse to pay a fine, etc) if you don’t do as I want. I fail to see this bullying as heroic or Jewish.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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