Orthodox rabbis urge acceptance of gays.

Gay Jewish symbol.

(JTA) — Dozens of Orthodox rabbis have signed a statement of principles calling for the acceptance of homosexuals in the Orthodox community.

The statement, signed by rabbis in the United States and Israel, was released on July 29, the same day as a Gay Pride parade marched in Jerusalem.

“All human beings are created in the image of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (kevod haberiyot). Every Jew is obligated to fulfill the entire range of mitzvot between person and person in relation to persons who are homosexual or have feelings of same sex attraction. Embarrassing, harassing or demeaning someone with a homosexual orientation or same-sex attraction is a violation of Torah prohibitions that embody the deepest values of Judaism,” the statement begins.

The statement also says that: “Halakhah sees heterosexual marriage as the ideal model and sole legitimate outlet for human sexual expression. The sensitivity and understanding we properly express for human beings with other sexual orientations does not diminish our commitment to that principle.”

The statement, which was signed mostly by Modern Orthodox rabbis, as well as educators and mental health professionals, was drafted following a panel held six months ago in New York, which included three homosexual graduates of the Yeshiva University. The panel was hosted by the school’s spiritual supervisor Rabbi Yosef Blau.

Here is the complete statement with the list of signatories.

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