Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts

Posted on: Wednesday May 6, 2020

Great is human dignity, since it overrides a negative precept of the Torah.” (Sanhedrin 19b)

Whereas we hold the concepts of Tzelem Elohim and k’vod habri’ot as sacred and foundational, believing that each individual was uniquely created to reflect the Divine and therefore we honor each of God’s creations as holy,

Whereas a 2006 teshuvah of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards cites the principle of k’vod habri’ot to supersede the rabbinic prohibitions relating to homosexuality; and there is no opinion of any member of the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards in favor of Conversion Therapy.

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has passed numerous resolutions (2011, 2014, and 2016) repeatedly calling our members to advocate, strengthen, and support the rights of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Gender non-conforming people,

Whereas the medical community has widely recognized that homosexuality and gender identity are not mental disorders, and therefore pathologizing LGBTQ folk is misguided and abusive, and

And whereas the medical and psychological professions have shown through study after study, that not only are SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts) and GICE (gender identity change efforts) not efficacious - they are in fact dangerous, causing depression, anxiety and sexual dysfunction;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly condemn Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts as contrary to the value of tzelem Elohim and specifically injurious to k’vod habri’ot, inasmuch as they falsely hold up that which is natural as disordered, that which is established as changeable, and that which does harm as therapeutic;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly recognize that Change Efforts, often termed Conversion and Reparative Therapies, are ineffective and fraudulent misapplications of scientific and psychological methodologies, as indicated by their broad and emphatic rejection by the health organizations in the US and around the world;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly recognize that Conversion and Reparative Therapies offered under religious auspices, be they Jewish or otherwise, dangerously seek to imbue pseudo-science with the authority of our Creator, thereby intensifying the risk and emotional damage they cause to earnest seekers of help when those therapies inevitably fail.

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its membership to support political advocacy efforts to extend the growing ban Conversion and Reparative Therapies in local, state, and national legislatures in the interest of public health and the good name of Judaism and all organized religion;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage all Conservative Movement synagogues, camps, schools, and affiliated organizations to incorporate its rejection of Conversion and Reparative Therapies into their existing efforts to create welcoming, safe spaces for LGBTQ people;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly offer training to its membership to provide appropriate and affirming counseling and referral to constituents who are unresolved about their sexual orientation and / or gender identity and who may seek resolution through one of the herein condemned therapies.