I just don’t know what to do with this story, so I’ll let commenters hash it out:
Rabbis from the religious Zionist community have launched an initiative to marry gay men to lesbian women – with some surprising successes.
So far, 11 marriages have been performed. Haaretz conducted an email interview with one such couple, Etti and Roni (not their real names ).
Etti and Roni, both religious, were married five years ago. Though they were honest with each other about their sexual orientations from their first meeting, to the outside world, they portray themselves as a normal heterosexual couple. Today, they have two children, and are thrilled with the results.
So, they’re building sexless marriages, by design, which I can’t imagine is healthy in the long-term for any committed couple. On the other hand, they’re not lying about it like Christian fundamentalists do. Score one for some kind of halfway-there version of integrity?
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.
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.
“Most of the couples agree not to have relationships with members of their own sex, but if there are ‘lapses’ once every few years, they don’t see this as a betrayal,” he said. “Generally, it’s between them and their Creator.”
I’d have to say that this falls under the heading “To Each His Own,” but it’s still sad the way that people will allow religious dogma to deny them the fullness of life, including a true, intimate relationship with another human being. The piece mentions that Roni attempted conversion therapy, but of course, it didn’t work, because conversion therapy never works.
Two of the couples Harel married are now in the process of divorce. And he said he is very worried about whether the children of these experimental marriages will end up suffering.