Monday, October 31, 2011

The Other Kind of Gay Marriage

A Guest post By E. Fink

Cross-posted from my home blog:

Last week an orthodox Jewish woman posted the following on
I am a lesbian marrying a gay man. We are out to each other and our closest friends. We both grew up in religious, traditional communities so we decided this was best for us. We both travel a lot so we are able to "explore" outside of the marriage. Ask away... 
Edit: we are doing this to stay connected to our community and our traditional (Orthodox Jewish) families.
Edit: to be clear, we are both seeing other people outside our relationship. We are out to close friends. I came out to my parents a while ago so technically they know but think that I have "changed".
There are currently over 1100 comments on this post. They are worth seeing.
This couple's story is not as unique as one might think. In the summer there was an article in Time Magazine about a rabbi who arranged similar marriages between homosexual members of the opposite gender.

Gay activists have been known to find this kind of arrangement backward, regressive and bigoted. They argue that gay people should be able to marry other gay people. And why stay in a community that shuns your sexuality?

Orthodox Jews have also been known to find this arrangement objectionable as well. The common orthodox Jewish objection is usually formulated along the lines of "they should just not be gay" or something like that.

I think both arguments are flawed. There is something important that can be learned from these arrangements. It speaks to the fundamental difference between the secular view of marriage and the orthodox Jewish view of marriage.

The secular view of marriage is mostly about love and intimacy. When the love one has for one's significant other rises to the level that warrants commitment, marriage is the logical choice. Viewed in this light, without love what is the point of marriage. Marriage is a validation of the relationship. And if the relationship is missing love and intimacy then there is little point to the union.

In the end, many secular marriages end up being loveless and without intimacy. Some survive for the sake of kids or because divorce is taboo. But they have little utility when the spark is gone. So divorce is a wise, if not the only choice.

In general, this speaks to an overall secular attitude that places intimacy and love above nearly all other values. After all, all you need is love.

On the other hand, in orthodox Judaism, marriage is about much more than love and intimacy. It could even be argued that love and intimacy are of the least important aspects to a marriage. Arranged marriages, short dating periods and short engagements result in many wonderful marriages. Marriage is about raising a family, being part of a community, creating an environment that promotes personal growth and healthy self-sacrifice. Part of all that includes intimacy and love. A good loving environment will help further greater goals.

But in the absence of love and intimacy there can still be monumental value in marriage. Even without love and intimacy, as long as there is no strife or abuse, there could be real valuable reasons to stay in the marriage. Divorce can be a reasonable choice. But I don't think it is the only reasonable choice.

In light of this, raising a traditional family, staying in one's community with one's family and forgoing the supposed love and intimacy of marriage could be a reasonable choice in an orthodox Jewish environment.

I am not saying that I condone these marriages and arrangements nor do I think that I would recommend them. But I do think that these arrangements indicate something lofty about the goals and ideals of marriage in the orthodox Jewish world. It is much more than love and intimacy and in fact, it could work without those things. It could work very well.

And for the sake of these daring trailblazers I hope it does.

Links: Reddit.comTime

HT: @Azigra

Search for more information about gay marriage, not that kind at


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can add to the beauty of the landscape when
used correctly. Cypress mulch has organic compounds that are allelopathic.
Cardboard mulch is very uncommon in Los Angeles,
California and other parts of the country.

Visit my webpage :: mulching