Dozens of Orthodox Rabbis have signed a statement of principles expressing support for the inclusion of gay Jews in their community, but still rejecting complete acceptance of same-sex partnering and marriage. One particular point stands out:
5. Whatever the origin or cause of homosexual orientation, many individuals believe that for most people this orientation cannot be changed. Others believe that for most people it is a matter of free will. Similarly, while some mental health professionals and rabbis in the community strongly believe in the efficacy of “change therapies”, most of the mental health community, many rabbis, and most people with a homosexual orientation feel that some of these therapies are either ineffective or potentially damaging psychologically for many patients.
We affirm the religious right of those with a homosexual orientation to reject therapeutic approaches they reasonably see as useless or dangerous. [emphasis added]
So while lip service is paid to those in the Orthodox community who see value in ex-gay therapy, it is made explicitly clear that such therapy can rightfully be avoided.
Also of note is the use of the phrase “homosexual orientation.” Ex-gay therapy is based upon the rejection of the existence of specific sexual orientations. Rather, only heterosexuals with “homosexual problems” exist. Said heterosexuals are simply “struggling with temptation.” But the rabbis who have signed on have acknowledged the existence of a unique group of people who have intrinsic non-heterosexual orientations.
This can also be considered just the latest of several blows to JONAH, the ex-gay organization that claims to cater to those in the Orthodox community.