An alternative statement referred to as The Torah Declaration (otherwise known as the Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality) has been created. This declaration is signed by those who are more to the right in the Orthodox world (it does include prominent YU rabbis such as R' Herschel Schacter and R' Moshe Tendler).
There are several differences between the two statements. The major difference is that in The Torah Declaration, the rabbanim declare that same-sex attractions can be modified and healed through reparative therapy. In contrast, the Statement of Principles signed by those who are Modern Orthodox asserts:
- 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.
I am not sure which statement I am most in accord with. The empathic, humanistic side of me thinks the Statement of Principles is more correct. On the other hand, I think that those who put their names to The Torah Declaration are willing to flaunt society and stand up for what they believe is true and right, including their belief that God would not create someone who has no chance for marital happiness in this world. I applaud the people who wrote and signed The Torah Declaration and yet don't feel that I (not that I am in their league) could sign on to it.
I guess the question is whether God could create someone who has gay feelings but is mandated by the law not to act on those feelings or whether he would simply not have created someone who is only attracted to/ has feelings for the same sex in the first place. The Torah Declaration says God would not create someone who could never act upon his feelings. My philosophy of Judaism is one that includes pain, suffering and striving as valid paths for finding God, so I'm not sure that I see that as so definitive. I can imagine a God who creates someone who is attracted to the same sex but is charged not to act on those feelings. Why is that not a challenge like any other challenge?