The Buffalo [N.Y.] Jewish Review newspaper has refused to run an advertisement featuring the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus because it "might influence young people to experiment with a sexual lifestyle that could be harmful to their health," says the newspaper's editor, Rita Weiss.
"On a very practical basis, there is the possibility of influencing some young people whose sexual development is not yet complete," she told the Buffalo News. "They could get AIDS. They could try out a lifestyle that is life-threatening."
Weiss told the newspaper that she is also concerned about "the perpetuation of the Jewish people" in the face of demographic trends, including young Jews who stay in the gay lifestyle. "They can't produce children," she said. "And you can't build a people with adoption."
Her comments have caused a local temple to pull its advertising from the Buffalo Jewish Review. The Buffalo News reported that Temple Beth Zion rabbi Harry Rosenfeld and Stuart G. Lerman, president of the board, sent a letter to members on May 10, outlining their discussions with the Jewish Review since the ad was rejected in January.
"The reason given was that the paper did not want to condone homosexual behavior," they wrote. "The editor made it clear that, in her opinion, publishing the ad would offend subscribers."
Rosenfeld and Lerman also said that "to exclude or oppress members of our community because of their sexual orientation would be denying their humanity."
Weiss said, "Fervently Orthodox rabbis exhort all of us to deepest compassion for those who cannot seek opposite-gender partners. But we are a family newspaper and don't refer to sex at all or identify anyone as homosexual or heterosexual."