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Letter to the editor: April 26, 2010

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Harrison Leonard has quite an opinion with regard to same sex marriage.  He talks at length about the original definition of marriage.  But he does not tell us what that definition is.  Let’s be intellectually honest.  Historically, marriage included the following:

Men were allowed to marry more than one woman at the same time.

Women were considered acquired property.  Marriage was not about love.

If a man died, the widow was obligated marry his younger brother (in many western cultures).

If a couple could not have children, they were encourage to get divorced.

This list goes on.  Is this the definition of marriage we really want?

Rabbi Zach Shapiro

Rabbi of Temple Akiba, Culver City

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1 Comment

  1. Harrison Apr 26, 2010

    Rabbi,

    I did not offer much of an opinion regarding same-sex marriage. My piece was a list of critiques with regards to arguments coming out of the gay rights movement. That does not equate an opinion about same-sex marriage. Would you like to hear mine? Here it is: I support full, unadulterated rights for gay couples. I believe they are entitled to complete equal protection under the law and that the federal government should act to ensure that any inequity regarding legal benefits for straight couples that are not afforded to gay couples are rectified. My preference is that marriage should be relegated to being the private religious institution that it should be, and that all couples (gay and straight) receive domestic partnerships for legal status. We would all be treated equally under the law, we would keep government and religion separate, and would leave the marrying to ordained people such as yourself.

    Certainly, though, marriage has gone through many incarnations (as you alluded to). I think the best one is probably the one detailed in your Holy book. What I’m curious about is this: how do you reconcile your 2010 liberal values with the very clear distinctions regarding marriage and relationships detailed in the Torah, which I assume you hold to be the inspired word of God?

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