(JTA) — Dozens of Orthodox rabbis have signed a statement of principles calling for the acceptance of gays in the Orthodox community.
The statement, signed by rabbis in the United States and Israel, was released July 29, the same day as a Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem.
"All human beings are created in the image of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (kevod haberiyot)," the statement says. "Every Jew is obligated to fulfill the entire range of mitzvot between person and person in relation to persons who are homosexual or have feelings of same sex attraction. Embarrassing, harassing or demeaning someone with a homosexual orientation or same-sex attraction is a violation of Torah prohibitions that embody the deepest values of Judaism."
The statement continues: "Halakhah sees heterosexual marriage as the ideal model and sole legitimate outlet for human sexual expression. The sensitivity and understanding we properly express for human beings with other sexual orientations does not diminish our commitment to that principle."
Signed mostly by Modern Orthodox rabbis, as well as educators and mental health professionals, the statement was drafted following a panel held six months ago in New York that included three gay graduates of Yeshiva University. The school’s spiritual supervisor, Rabbi Yosef Blau, hosted the panel.