Homosexuality and Judaism

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The subject of homosexuality in Judaism dates back to the Torah, in the books of Bereshit and Vayiqra. Bereshit (Genesis) treats the destruction of the cities of Sedom and Amorrah by God. Vayiqra (Leviticus) forbids sexual intercourse between males, classifying it as a to'eivah (something abhorred or detested) that can be subject to capital punishment under Jewish law, although Halakhic courts are not authorized to administer capital punishment in the absence of a Temple in Jerusalem and the entire judicial system as mandated by Jewish Law.

The issue has been a subject of contention within modern Jewish denominations and has led to debate and division. The current view of Orthodox Judaism has been to regard homosexual intercourse as contradictory to Judaism, since it is categorically forbidden by the Torah. However, homosexual orientation, if not acted upon sexually, is permissible since the Torah only forbids homosexual intercourse, not homosexual desires. However, Reconstructionist Judaism and Reform Judaism do not hold this view and validate homosexual intercourse. Conservative Judaism's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, which until December 2006 held the same position as Orthodoxy, recently issued multiple opinions under its philosophy of pluralism, with one opinion continuing to follow the Orthodox position and another opinion substantially liberalizing its view of homosexual sex and relationships while continuing to regard certain sexual acts as prohibited.

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