In Response To 200 Rabbis Calling Gay People “Perverts,” 600 Rabbis Publicly Back LGBTQ Rights

Almost 600 rabbis from the United States and Canada have called on a group of Orthodox rabbis in Israel to recant their recent homophobic comments calling gay people “perverts.”

The open letter was published on A Wider Bridge, which describes itself as a “North American LGBTQ organization building support for Israel and its LGBTQ community.”

“We declare that these recent actions violate the Torah’s most precious principles–most notably that of Pikuach Nefesh, the command to save and preserve life above all else,” the open letter reads. “The enshrining of discrimination into law, and harmful words spoken by religious leaders, sow the seeds of hatred and brutality in the land, and put vulnerable members of Israeli society at risk of violence and worse.”

The letter also brings up the murder of Shira Banki, a teen girl who was stabbed at Jerusalem Pride in 2015, and argued that the recent anti-LGBTQ letter and its dehumanizing language could lead to further violence against people like Banki.

In addition to addressing the Israeli rabbis, the letter also addresses the Knesset, Israel’s legislature, to work toward LGBTQ equal rights, specifically referencing the anti-gay surrogacy law that was recently passed. “In calling for these rights, including surrogacy, we call on the Israeli leadership to reiterate the separation of religion and state as an ideal of democracy.”

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