I just received the following email from the Rabbinical Council of America, copied and pasted below.
December 12 2012
RCA Reaffirms Policies regarding Same Sex Attraction and Marriage, while Clarifying its Position on Reparative Therapy
In light of the extensive media coverage concerning the attitude of Orthodox Judaism towards homosexuality, the Rabbinical Council of America, the largest Rabbinical group within Orthodox Judaism, has decided to issue the following clarifications:
1. The Torah and Jewish tradition, in the clearest of terms, prohibit the practice of homosexuality. Same-sex unions are against both the letter and the spirit of Jewish law, which sanctions only the union of a man and a woman in matrimony.
2. Attempts to ritualize or celebrate same-sex unions are antithetical to Jewish law. Any clergyman who performs or celebrates a same-sex union cannot claim the mantle of Orthodox Judaism.
3. While homosexual behavior is prohibited, individuals with homosexual inclinations should be treated with the care and concern appropriate to all human beings. As Rabbis we recognize the acute and painful challenges faced by homosexual Jews in their quest to remain connected and faithful to God and tradition. We urge those Orthodox Jews with homosexual tendencies to seek counsel from their Rabbis. Equally, we urge all Rabbis to show compassion to all those who approach them.
4. On the subject of reparative therapy, it is our view that, as Rabbis, we can neither endorse nor reject any therapy or method that is intended to assist those who are struggling with same-sex attraction. We insist, however, that therapy of any type be performed only by licensed, trained practitioners. In addition, we maintain that no individual should be coerced to participate in a therapeutic course with which he or she is acutely uncomfortable.
5. We pray that God will ease the way for all who struggle with a full heart to feel His presence in their lives.
I am personally bothered by their use of the words clarify and reaffirm. Both words suggest the capacity to expand upon the position of the RCA, while what was expressed had all the significance of a formulaic opening remark to an important, yet unexplored discussion.
Of course homosexual conduct, and consequently homosexual unions are forbidden. But how should homosexual people lead their lives in light of it?I recall reading in an earlier entry about Rabbi Greenberg, that he wanted to use the concept of oness to endorse a way for Orthodox homosexuals to avoid incurring guilt in sexual transgressions. Per the RCA’s deliberately unclear use of language, the possibility is opened up that an Orthodox rabbi could legitimately capitulate that a homosexual orientation is an oness that disqualifies from the obligations to marry and create families. The RCA presumably leaves it up to the A.P.A..While that option may in fact be perfectly legitimate, it is unsatisfying to not remark on it, and worse to not express that is an issue that must be resolved now. I also felt that the RCA could have expressed solidarity with right wing Conservative rabbis which have stood their ground. While everyone else was mystified by Elliott Dorff’s atrocious reconciliation of homosexual erotic conduct and Conservative Judaism, I was most curious about the position advocated by Leonard Levy, that homosexuals should seek reparative therapy. His position was courageous enough to be thought-provoking. While it is clear that Elliott Dorff’s political beliefs compromised his reading of halakha, R. Levy suggested that the A.P.A.’s decision to eliminate homosexuality as a disorder was motivated entirely by politics rather than breakthroughs in research. He noted how it, in fact, terminated that research as a result. He also mentioned that 46% of the gay patients in AIDS centers in San Francisco who reported having been raped in their youth, or were subject to repeated unwanted sexual advances in their youth. There were examples of the attempts of a therapist to revert Chassidic men, and to what degree those interventions changed lives. He additionally noted the baffling rarity of monogamous homosexual partnerships (like 20% of the third that are not single), and excoriated the liberal panelists for not scrutinizing their all consuming embrace of modernity in lieu of Jewish values. He affirmed the need to invest one’s sexuality with a different gendered partner in a marriage. He made point after point without defering to the specious dictates of political correctness.
Orthodox Jews need to have the courage to say that homosexuality has always existed, and that anyone who is able must find a way to marry heterosexually, without in any way minimizing that percentage to lower than the reality.