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Israeli Rabbis Marry Gay Men to Lesbians

Israeli Rabbis Marry Gay Men to Lesbians

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Rabbis from the religious Zionist community have expanded their effort to marry gay men and lesbians who live together in order not to violate their faith's prohibition against homosexual sex.

According to Haaretz, Rabbi Areleh Harel of the West Bank settlement of Shilo has performed 11 of the marriages thus far, and he keeps a list of more than 50 gay men and lesbians seeking such a marriage. He and his colleagues have decided to institutionalize the venture and work with a well-known religious matchmaking organization.

"Gay-lesbian marriages have long been practiced among the ultra-Orthodox, but the current initiative is different in that it stems not from an effort to sweep the issue under the carpet, but from a growing acknowledgment of homosexuality, prompted in part by four organizations for religious homosexuals: Havruta, Bat Kol, Hod and Kamocha," reports Haaretz.

"Harel explained that while secular homosexuals see gay marriage as the solution, religious homosexuals are often unwilling to violate the halakhic prohibition on homosexual sex, and are thus seeking other solutions."

One such couple described their relationship as being like that of "business partners." Some of the couples have children by artificial insemination.

A spokesman for Havruta said he personally opposes the idea because it discourages the couples from being open about their sexual orientation, which would lead to greater happiness.

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