Sex & Sexuality 101

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Some Jewish legal authorities--basing themselves on research showing that homosexuality has a physiological basis or on the presumption that, whatever its origin, being gay or lesbian is not a choice--have argued that since homosexuals do not choose their sexual orientation, their sexual expression cannot be forbidden. They rely on the fact that traditional Jewish law does not hold one responsible for things out of one’s control and that complete celibacy is not a value in Jewish tradition.

The issues of same-sex marriage and the ordination of gays have also been raised. While the Reform and Reconstructionist movements approve of both of these measures, the Orthodox movements does not. However, awareness and sensitivity to gay and lesbian issues has increased in many traditional circles as well. The Conservative movement approves of both measures, but it is at the rabbi's discretion to whether or not he or she will officiate at a gay marriage ceremony.

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