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The Jerusalem gay parade debateby ben • June 25 2008
Things to do, News
It's not a simple issue. Everybody seems to have an opinion when it comes to Jerusalem's annual gay pride parade, scheduled for this Thursday. Is it a struggle between the forces of draconian theocracy vs. those who believe in tolerance? Or does it come down to the idea that whatever people do in their own bedrooms is their own business, but to celebrate it in public is inappropriate?
Okay, the sight of men in high heels and makeup can for sure be jarring for those of us who are more traditional, but the parade isn't about flamboyant spectacle. The fact is, those who oppose the Jerusalem gay pride parade most vocally make it somewhat hard for the enlightened contemporary urban dweller to go along with their opinions. People dressed like they're in 1800s Poland setting fire to dumpsters and calling for the event's relocation to Sodom don't necessarily make the most effective sales force for a mainstream audience – especially when the other side is so fabulously reconciliatory.
A statement from the Jerusalem Open House, the organization that runs the event, boasts:
While the Open House leadership will bend over backwards to remain the good guys in your eyes, Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski is going out of his way to make sure he doesn't lose street cred in Geula. He recently wrote in a letter to the High Court:
In a land known for disproportionate responses, the charedi response to gay pride seems grossly disproportionate – even in the context of traditional Jewish dogma. As controversial post-Chabad Rabbi Shmuley Boteach once put it:
Photo of a recent Jerusalem gay pride event by Harry Rubenstein.
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