NYC Jewish School Blasts Extremist Anti-Gay Email To Parents

The New York legislature is poised to vote in favor of equality in marriage by the end of the week, and you know what that means: Conservative nuts pushing bigotry in the name of religion!

A gay-positive Jewish friend forwarded this email to me this afternoon from his child’s private school in/around New York City. Here’s what a school staffer blasted to everyone on the school’s distribution list, including those who don’t even live in the state:

Date: Jun 15, 2011 4:38 PM

Please read the attached memo from Agudath Israel of America and take the recommended action. It is very important that we voice our strong opposition to the Senate as soon as possible!

Mind you, this particular school isn’t connected in any way to the ultra-conservative Agudath Israel of America. But why let that stop you when you have an awesome memo like this to share?

So let’s talk about Agudath Israel. The last time marriage was this close in New York, Agudath Israel sent a similar message to New York Senators, saying, in part:

Elevating same-sex unions to the status of “marriage” would convey an unmistakable message that homosexual unions occupy the same moral plane as heterosexual unions. Countless New Yorkers of all faiths reject the notion that same-sex relationships are merely reflections of an ‘alternative lifestyle,’ no more objectionable and no less acceptable than the traditional heterosexual lifestyle. These citizens strive hard to raise their children to recognize that not all expressions of sexuality are morally equivalent.

Extending the label of ‘marriage’ to same-sex unions is government’s way of telling those children that their parents are wrong, that their priests, ministers, and rabbis are wrong, that civilized societies throughout the millennia have been wrong.

Of course, this is a fear tactic that we in the LGBT community have come to expect from conservative bigots. And it’s a good strategy; they keep using it because it keeps working. I do wonder how they define “traditional heterosexual lifestyle,” though.

This is the part where I would usually link you to the group’s website, but Agudath Israel doesn’t have one, on account of their belief that nobody should use the internet.

I’m okay with that, by the way. About a third of my extended family is German Baptist, a Christian religion with an identical rule.

But one wonders, if Agudath Israel wins this one, will state enforcement of that religious belief be next? And if they do push for that, what reasonable argument is left against their agenda?

(Related: New York Catholic bishop George Orwell Timothy Dolan had some words about the marriage vote as well.)