Leading Israeli Orthodox rabbi declares Jewish law doesn’t forbid same-sex couples from raising children

Rabbi Benny Lau same-sex couples

A prominent Orthodox rabbi in Israel has insisted that Jewish law does not ban same-sex couples from building families and having children together.

Rabbi Benny Lau released a statement supporting same-sex couples Saturday (October 10), titled: “It is not good for man to be alone: Relationships and family for the sons and daughters of the LGBT community.”

In the statement he set out guidelines for the acceptance of LGBT+ people within Judaism, although he said they were not set-in-stone rules, but rather an attempt to “pave the way for a possible life”.

He insisted that Jewish law “does not forbid members of the LGBTQ community from raising children and building a family”.

“Every person’s desire to bring life into the world is a deep and innate nature,” he continued. “No one can, and must not, suppress this inner desire.”

He added: “Like their parents, the children of the couple did not sin and are not different from all other children. Care must be taken not to harm their dignity.”

Lau also said that gay people should not feel pressured to enter into an opposite-sex marriage, and added: “It is difficult, if not impossible, to instruct a person, as part of spiritual or mental accompaniment, to completely abstain from sexual life.”

The Rabbi also criticised conversion therapy in his guidelines, saying that an attempt to “correct” a person’s sexual orientation can cause “mental damage that can be devastating and fatal”.

He admitted that “no acceptable solution” had been found to the question of same-sex marriage with an Orthodox Jewish religious framework, but noted that “the desire to inform the world that we have chosen to live in a marital partnership is an understandable desire” which should not be ignored.

Lau suggested that same-sex couples take part in commitment ceremonies, which their families may feel more comfortable attending.

According to The Times of Israel Lau, who is affiliated with Israel’s Religious Zionism, has previously received backlash for his acceptance of the LGBT+ Jewish community.

He is the nephew of former Israeli chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, and the cousin of David Lau, the current Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel. His brother is an openly gay rabbi living in New York.