Rabbi Moshe Gutnick demands religious exemption for marijuana use to facilitate Jewish gay weddings

April 1, 2012

In what can only be described as a cliff-hanging turn of events, Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, president of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, has come out and admitted in a submission to the Australian Senate inquiry into Marriage Equality that there has been a fundamental misunderstanding of the Torah that has to this day posed as a religious barrier to gay marriage.

In the Senate submission Rabbi Gutnick stated that the traditional interpretation of the Torah has rendered sex between two men problematic, because the translation of the Torah into English was thought to be that a man should not sleep with another man as he would sleep with a woman, with the penalty for doing so that they both be stoned to death.

He felt that this attitude to homosexuality was deeply troubling and discriminatory and so sought advice from a pool of sage rabbis from around the world.  These rabbis looked at the original wording in the Torah and felt that maybe there had been a misunderstanding of God’s word and that there was room for a better interpretation, one that offered a more acceptable outcome.

After weeks of collaboration, these rabbis unanimously agreed to reinterpret the Torah and provided an English translation that now states that a man should not sleep with a man as he would with a woman, but rather he should sleep with a man differently to how he would sleep with a woman.  However should he be found to be sleeping with a man as he would with a woman, they should both become stoned to a state of holy happiness, except if there’s a dearth of marijuana.

And this is where Rabbi Gutnick has called upon the government to decriminalise the use of marijuana, for strictly religious purposes, to ensure that two men found having the wrong type of sex with each other are dealt with in a more humane and appropriate fashion.  The pool of rabbis agreed that each man should be given a bong and a quantity of marijuana and be instructed to smoke the other man’s pipe until each had reached a state of spiritual redemption.

Rabbi Gutnick clearly expressed in the Senate submission that this relaxation of the use of marijuana would only be required for Jewish men and not for gentiles, as gentiles are spiritually unclean, due to not having had a religious circumcision ceremony.

Most unexpectedly, Rabbi Gutnick apologised to the gay community for his earlier claim that he would be opposing gay marriage and noted that since this religious loophole had been found to the previously problematic issue of homosexuality, he now had no issue with gay marriage, and in fact fully endorsed it, claiming that gay men are now encouraged to “shtoop like rabbits, especially on Shabbat”.

The explanation given in the Senate submission was that he realised that if same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia, he wanted the Jewish community to have unfettered access to the estimated $161 million dollars of wedding spend likely to be outlaid on same-sex marriages.

He said that it would revitalise the kosher catering and hospitality industry, that kosher food suppliers would feel the surge of business and that all manner of Jewish shops and enterprises would thrive from the rush of gay weddings, especially the Jewish diamond and ring merchants.  Rabbi Gutnick went on to say that the kosher butchers would do particularly well because he knew how much gay men liked their meat, and added that the kosher fish-mongers would do particularly well from lesbian weddings.  Rabbi Gutnick went to great pains to explain in the Senate submission that his connection to Kosher Australia should not be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Rabbi Gutnick’s new enthusiasm for gay marriage was evidenced by his statement that Orthodox Judaism was particularly sensitive to the needs of single-sex celebrations, because in traditional heterosexual weddings the men and the women were required to be separated by a mechitzah, and so there was an existing culture of men celebrating with men and women celebrating with women.  He added that it’s actually a principle feature of the religion that men must spent considerable amounts of time with other men, in close confines, in the absence of women.  He said he felt that it was very homoerotic at times, and the headiness of the masculinity in the crowded prayer and study sessions was particularly appealing, especially on those hot days, when the men were dripping with a particularly musky sweat, and were just a little frustrated.  He noted that this frustration was most evident when the men were denied sexual gratification with their wives during their periods of uncleanliness, and further exacerbated by the total religious prohibition on masturbatory relief.

In the summary of the submission, Rabbi Gutnick repeated his apology for the long overdue admission that to deny gay men and women the right to equality was in fact an oppresive and persecutory behaviour and that he had looked back at the history of the Jewish people and felt that he was in no place to call for the superiority of heterosexual Australians over homosexual Australians.

An addendum to the submission included a suggestion that Rabbi Gutnick officiate at the first mass Jewish gay and lesbian wedding in Australia, co-hosted by Adam Hills of the In Gordon St Tonight fame, because he said the ABC studios in Elsternwick were at the centre of the ultra-religious quarter of Melbourne’s Jewish community, and that he was particularly proud of the ground-breaking work that Adam Hills had done to break down barriers in the community around gay marriage.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Rabbi Moshe Gutnick (rabbig@ka.org.au)


Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight – Big Gay Wedding – March 14 2012

March 16, 2012

What can gays do in New York that they can’t do in Australia?

August 15, 2011

Seven years after the Howard Liberal government introduced the delightfully discriminating Marriage Amendment Act (2004), we’re still rallying for marriage equality.

Tracy Bartram was guest of honour:

Tracy Bartram - fag-hagging it for marriage equality

Tracy Bartram - fag-hagging it for marriage equality

Federal Member of Parliament (The Greens) for Melbourne, Adam Bandt is a strong advocate for Marriage Equality.  He had a few words to say about Marriage Equality (including how the Liberal Party has been noticeably absent at these rallies – Shame Liberal Party Shame):

Adam Bandt - Federal MP for Melbourne (The Greens) - marriage equality legend!

Adam Bandt - Federal MP for Melbourne (The Greens) - marriage equality legend!

There were even drag queens and a hot dancing boy (because sequins and lip-sync are necessary to help legislate away the hate):

Polly Filla, Simon and Bumpa Love

Polly Filla, Simon and Bumpa Love

I seem to be a recurring feature at these rallies, and so does my partner Gregory.  We’re not married, but we are in a registered relationship in the state of Victoria.  We’ve been in a relationship since November 2008.  Why can’t we get married Julia?

My partner Gregory and me

My partner Gregory and me

Oh yeah, and in case you didn’t know, same-sex couples can now get married in New York (but not Australia!):

Same-sex marriage is now legal in New York

Same-sex marriage is now legal in New York

Back in March I took some pics, and last Saturday, August 13 2011, I took some more.  Enjoy the excitement of the day – photos on Picasa and Facebook.


Orthodox rabbis champion homosexual acceptance and same-sex marriage

June 14, 2011

[SOURCE]

Our friends over at AJN Watch have published a delightfully accepting and heart-warming piece about homosexuality and marriage equality.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Please thank them for their care and concern.

PS.  If the link above is broken, try this backup PDF version.


Australian rabbis endorse marriage equality

May 25, 2011

Nearly four years after the 2007 statement from the Union of Progressive Judaism where they overturned their ban on same-sex commitment ceremonies, the UPJ have now endorsed full marriage equality under Australian law, as per the following media release from Australian Marriage Equality.

Media Statement
Wednesday May 25th 2011

RABBIS GIVE STRONG SUPPORT TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

Australia’s Progressive Rabbis have endorsed marriage equality.

Australian Marriage Equality National Convener, Alex Greenwich, and former AMA head, Prof. Kerryn Phelps, have welcomed the statement saying it highlights support for allowing same-sex marriages among people of faith.

“We welcome the Rabbis’ strong statement in support of marriage equality because it highlights that people of faith can and do support full legal equality for all Australians”, Mr Greenwich said.

“To often this issue is wrongly portrayed as ‘God v gays’ when it is really about the equality and dignity of all people.”

“The statement is important, not only because it is made by religious leaders, but because it is based on religious values such as the recognition of human dignity and because it recalls the deep discrimination Jewish people have endured.”

The statement was also welcomed by former AMA head, Prof Kerryn Phelps, who was married in a Jewish ceremony in the US to her wife Jackie Stricker-Phelps.

“I am very pleased leaders of my faith have now formally declared support for my marriage and call on the Australian Government to do the same”, Professor Phelps said.

“Rabbis have been performing same-sex marriage ceremonies for some years now, and it’s important these marriages have the same legal recognition as other marriages.”

“The recognition and respect that my faith provides our relationship gives us great strength .”

The full statement from the Union of Progressive Judaism is attached.

For more information contact Alex Greenwich on 0421 316 335.


Rabbi Dovid Freilich shows his ignorance of marriage in Australia

April 21, 2011

The following appears on page 6 of the April 22, 2011 Melbourne edition of the Australian Jewish News:

Majority for gay marriage

GARETH NARUNSKY

IN Wentworth, the Sydney electorate with the highest number of Jewish voters, more than 72 per cent of people support same-sex marriage.

That figure comes from a survey conducted by shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull after the House of Representatives called on MPs to gauge voter opinion on extending the definition of marriage.

Jewish gay, lesbian bisexual, transgender and intersex group Dayenu has welcomed the results, but the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia (ORA) said it remained opposed.

Out of 2333 Wentworth residents who responded to the survey, 72.7 per cent said they were in favour of gay marriage.  Wentworth takes in the suburbs where a majority of Sydney’s Jews live.

Dayenu president Roy Freeman said the survey’s results were “amazing”.

“It would be great to see a Liberal MP of his standing taking a particular stand on this particular topic,” he said.

ORA president Rabbi Dovid Freilich said his organisation opposed any legislation to legitimise same-sex marriage.  “This is not intended to show any discrimination against the gay community, but simply to uphold the sanctity and purpose of marriage, which is the union of man and woman in not only expressing their love for one another, but in also bringing future generations into this world,” he said.

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins of Sydney’s progressive Emmanuel Synagogue said “new times called for new readings”.

“Both the Progressive and Masorti movements have gone on record to endorse the rights of same-sex couples to have their exclusive committed relationships recognised and honoured by tradition,” he said.

Michael Danby, the MP in Melbourne Ports, which has the highest number of Jewish voters in Melbourne, has invited submissions rather than running a survey.

Today I submitted the following Letter to the Editor:

Thank you for your article on gay marriage.  The overwhelming evidence shows a clear change in thought on how modern Australians believe in equality for all citizens.

However, it is evident that Rabbi Freilich does not fully understand about marriage in Australia when he talks about a purpose for marriage, because the federal Marriage Act does not stipulate that a married couple must bring future generations into this world.

Despite this, numerous same-sex couples successfully raise happy, healthy children, even in the Jewish community.  If Rabbi Freilich would like to see these children raised with the full support of the Jewish community he should be campaigning for the removal of the legislation preventing marriage equality.  His actions will only harm those in same-sex relationships and their children.  Is this what the rabbi wants?

I suspect the good rabbi is more interested in blindly following harmful and outdated religious dogma than the welfare of the people in the Jewish community, but I remain open to correction.


Can you teach an old dog a new whistle?

March 31, 2011

Julia Gillard came under attack recently by protesters who felt it was acceptable to call her a bitch.  There are some who believe it’s not appropriate to use this sort of language in politics.

Tony Abbott standing in front of Julia bitch banner

Juliar .... Bob Brown's Bitch

Our unmarried, female atheist Prime Minister, in a relationship with a man, doesn’t believe gays and lesbians should get married.

On gay marriage, Ms Gillard said: “I do find myself on the conservative side in this question.”

That’s like making the blacks sit at the back of the bus, Julia.

As long as Julia Gillard keeps treating those of us in same-sex relationships as second-class citizens, in a government-sanctioned sexual apartheid, I don’t believe she deserves an iota of sympathy or any defence when people hurl abuse at her.  I’d go as far as to say she actually deserves it, and not at all because she’s a woman, but simply because she endorses discrimination.


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