As I'm written on numerous occasions, there's no patent on the term "Orthodox Judaism". Until now we have relied on non-Orthodox people being honest and not trying to represent themselves as Orthodox but in recent years that tactic has been sorely tested. First the Conservatives tried to model themselves as "the authentic movement of traditional Judaism". Then there's Morethodoxy which is trying to create a Conservative Judaism with a mechitzah. And now, presenting Steve Greenberg.
Now, for those who don't know, Greenberg is a homosexual man who has an Orthodox ordination (and I'm sure the guy who gave it to him is still kicking himself over that one) and who has used his title to promote the idea that one can be a practising homosexual and not be in conflict with Torah Judaism.
It seems that some amongst the organized homosexual community have developed an obsession with Orthodox Judaism's stubborn refusal to accept anal intercouse between two men as an acceptable form of love-making. Yes the Torah say it's forbidden but can't we just get past that already? FriarYid wrote recently about attending a gay congregation on Yom Kippur where the verse was omitted from the Minchah leining. I once heard from a JTS "rabbinical" student that many in the JTS understand the verse as referring to non-consensual intercourse meaning the Torah prohibits not only heterosexual but also homosexual rape and this means that it thinks that both, when consensual, are okay.
All the twisting and turning does not change the prohibition's existence and parameters. While it is imperative to stress that the ban on homosexual intercourse does not imply permission to treat those who yearn for it in an insulting or demeaning manner, it is also important to note that there are limits to acceptance of such people and their desires. We must treat them respectfully, not discriminate against them and avoid anything that might justifiably antagonize them but we still cannot say that their form of intercourse is acceptable in our value system. This is an especially heartwrenching concept for those homosexuals who wish to be properly Torah observant. It means a life of denial of their most important physical desire. Who can deny the difficulty associated with such a decision?
But is it a decision that must be made honestly and Steve Greenberg and his ilk are intent on subverting that honesty by creating the false impression that one can eat one's cake and have it too. Hence his decision to officiate at an "Orthodox" wedding of two men which recently caught people's attention.
There are lots of things that could be said about this stunt, and for those who know Jewish law and tradition this is a stunt, not a wedding. Yes, American civil law may recognize the legal union between these two men but Jewish law does not, no more than it does the state of marriage between a Jew and a Gentile.
Add to that the healthy state of self-delusion the participants are under:
"We were encouraged by the legislation of same-sex marriage in our home ‘state’ of Washington, D.C.,” Bock and Kaplan wrote in a guide to the ceremony, according to Ruttenberg. “At the same time, both of us wanted a ceremony that would be meaningful halachically (in terms of religious Jewish law) and create a set of Jewish legal obligations between us."
It is to laugh. There is no halachic meaning to a ceremony forbidden by halacha. There are no newe legal obligations between these two men that didn't exist before. If two non-Jews had decided to have a wedding and use a Jewish motif because they thought the chuppah was pretty and they wanted to jump on a glass and shout mazel tov at the end for kicks it would have been just as effective. Any attempt to state that this conformed with Orthodox Jewish law is due either to delusion or ignorance. One can shout that one is Orthodox all one wants but then, one can wash and say HaMotzi over the ham and cheese sandwich at the local kosher-style deli too. Going through the motions doesn't mean one has done something of legal significance.
In summary, Greenerg's "ceremony" raises only one important question: which one of them is going to wear a sheitl and go to the mikvah?