1/30/2006

Dilemmas Regarding Orthodoxy and Gays

I’m writing something for a program that the campus Orthodox community is running. They will be screening the film ‘Trembling before God’, followed by a breakout discussion section. I composed the following set of dilemmas for the group to discuss after the film. The goal is to get people thinking about the issues in a more complex way, and not, as is common, as a zero-sum game (see here for an earlier post on this topic). I’m curious what others have to say about these dilemmas, and feel free to propose other dilemmas as well.

  1. Should a shul grant a ‘family membership’ to a gay couple?
  2. If a monogamous gay man gets an aliyah, should he be allowed to make a mishebeirach for his partner? How would he refer to him? ‘Ba’ali (my husband)? shutafi (my partner)? Chaveri (my male friend)?
  3. Should the Orthodox community differentiate between gays with Jewish partners and gays with non-Jewish partners? Between gays with one partner and gays with multiple partners?
  4. Should the laws of ‘negiah’ apply to gays for members of their own sex? The opposite sex?
  5. What should a gay person do when in shul, if they are distracted by someone on their own side of the mechitza?
  6. Should gay women be encouraged to keep ‘taharat ha-mishpacha’ with their partners? What about gay men?
  7. Should our schools accept Jewish children of same-sex marriages?
  8. Should you pay a ‘shiva’ visit to someone mourning his or her same-sex partner?
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