Simcha Felder “Firmly Opposes Any Redefinition of Marriage,” Says New Ad

Simcha Felder took out a full-page ad (pictured above) in the Orthodox Jewish newspaper Hamodia today stating that he is “the only candidate who shares our values” and “firmly opposes any redefinition of marriage,” reports the New York Observer.

Felder is running against David Storobin in the new State Senate District 17 which includes much of the Orthodox Jewish and traditionally conservative populations of Midwood and Borough Park as well as generally more liberal areas such as West Midwood, Fiske Terrace, Beverley Square West and Midwood Park.

Storobin has also fought against gay marriage. His first act in Albany was to write and be the lone sponsor of a June 2012 bill to repeal the New York law allowing same-sex couples to marry. His opposition to gay marriage was an important wedge issue in the race that first got Storobin elected, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Comment policy


  1. I’m gratified that he’s cool with the way the State of New York currently defines marriage. That is what he’s saying, right?

  2. I left the polling place so incredibly frustrated during the primary vote. Both Democratic candidates were anti-gay marriage. I ended up not voting. As a gay person, I just couldn’t vote for either of them. And, of course, the Republican candidate anti-gay marriage, too. I feel sick that my state representative will not actually be representing me.

  3. Yeah – so I’m confused as well – gay marriage is the law of the land – so by opposing redefinition – he supports marriage equality, correct? Is this a “have your cake and eat it too” approach to win the votes of older voters who are anti-marriage but don’t realize the laws have changed? hehe

  4. Having read Simcha Felder public communication, I need help in preparing to cast an educated vote. I need help understanding how: (1) our participatory democracy is guarded by such a biased mind; (2) how such bigoted perception, presented as a religious right, infringes into my political rights; (3) how such bigotry differs from racial discrimination, practiced & outlawed in our American history, but limited full political participation to specific citizens; (4) how, like under apartheid, one group of citizens is denied full citizenship and equal protection under the law.

    I am an educated, Catholic woman who treasures the right to practice each and every one of my democratic rights. I would never strive impose my religious beliefs on others.

    That Simcha Felder, as an elected official seeks to limit the rights of many of our citizens, to use his religious beliefs to benefit full participation to one group over another, to rob me and my family of our quality of life, is shame-filled.

    We have so many opportunities to build community, to scaffold quality of life for all. Such a platform publicized by Simcha Felder is inappropriate. Why do I feel this is a “use” of religion challenging the respect I find, lived each and every day in my immediate community?

  5. As a legal protection recently granted in this state by our legislature – (a bi-partisan effort I might add). Equal Marriage protection isn’t going anywhere. Who cares how a local politician panders to his constituency? In this part of Brooklyn, secular, progressively minded people are in the minority.
    Redefinition of marriage is Republican platform speak, but it’s meaningless in our state because we already have laws protecting marriage equality.It should be noted that the campaign issue listed ahead of “redefinition” is lowering the tuition of yeshivot – That should tell you how high on the totem pole redefining marriage is for this guy. Bottom line – all politicians pander – one day there will be an openly gay politican who the black hats will hate, but will grudgingly vote for.

  6. Except that the State legislature made the law, the State legislature can repeal it as well. I think that’s unlikely, but it’s still depressing that our own representative is against marriage equality.

  7. Racially discriminatory housing covenants are legally unenforceable, but I still don’t want to be represented by someone who advocates them.

  8. Laws can be overturned, so his opposition to gay marriage is not entirely moot. Since both he and his opponent oppose it, it would seem they reflect the views of a majority of their constituents. It is not (yet) illegal to espouse viewpoints that differ from those of “secular, progressively minded” people or disagree with legislation that has already been passed. I am in favor of gay marriage, by the way, but it is a stretch and a ploy to call opponents “bigots.” It is an issue upon which decent people can disagree (as witness Obama, who only recently “evolved” but was not widely reviled as a “bigot” when he was elected).

  9. Websters defines a bigot as: “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices”. I think that fits the bill of someone who blindly thinks that some people should have different rights than others based on the way they were born. And no, I will not be voting for either of these people to represent me either. Hopefully more tolerant, intelligent people will come out at the next primary.

  10. Is someone espousing discriminatory housing convents? I understand that many sections of Victorian Flatbush had such in the 19th century, but haven’t come accross any recently.

  11. Hello, Brooklyn Mom. I am also a Brooklyn mom, who is a Chrsitian and I wanted to reply to your post. I, first of all, don’t understand how you can say our participatory democracy is guarded by a biased mind. A democracy is just that, a free government in which individuals have the freedom to vote for or against laws that they agree or don’t agree with. Just because there are people who don’t agree with a liberal view on marriage, does not make them biased. If that were the case, then you would be considered liberally biased. If we didn’t live in a free country, where people have the right to express their free opinions and cast their free votes, then your point of view might have validity, but if you want to live somewhere where everybody must adhere to a particular belief because it is yours, then you probably don’t adhere to a democratic belief system as much as you think.

    As a practicing, Bible believing Christian, I along with many other Americans, am free to live my life by the Word of God as it is expressed in the bible and to vote accordingly. I appreciate that right as an American. I don’t agree with a liberal view of marriage. I agree that marriage is between a man and a woman and that is the way I would vote if I were voting. I do not plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election because I am not a fan of either candidate. There are circumstances, I’m sure, in some states, where there are Christians like me who don’t have a public official who identifies with their personal beliefs to vote for. Does that mean that democracy is biased and bigoted in their opinion? I guess you’d have to ask them, my point being that you are not the only person in the situation you see yourself in. There are people who find themselves on the opposite side of your belief system who find themselves in your very predicament. That is part of the reality of living in a democracy.

    Aside from this, on to your second point, I do not think that I am a bigot because I believe that gay men and gay women should not be able to be married. I’m not sure if you know this, but many Christians and other people with other belief systems don’t have issue with gay people being able to live together and have all of the same communal rights as married opposite sex couples do. I don’t believe they should have to pay higher taxes or not be able to receive their loved one’s belongings if their partner should pass away. I don’t know the full gamut of issues that face gay people today because I am not one, but I certainly don’t feel they should be discriminated against or enslaved. I just don’t think that two gay people living together should be defined as marriage. I believe that our definition of marriage in America, as a Judeo-Christian country, is defined by God and God is very clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. I don’t see how that makes me a bigot. It just makes me a woman who actually believes in and lives by the Christian tenants by which she defines herself. I am a black woman as well. I am not racist or sexist or homophobic. I don’t believe that being gay is the same thing as being black because God chose to make me black. I can’t change the color of my skin. However, there is no proof to the belief that gay people are born gay. It hasn’t been proven. It is an opinion and it is an unsubstantiated opinion. If gayness were a gene, then if there is a gay identical twin, why are both twins not both gay? How can someone be straight for a portion of their life and then choose a gay lifestyle or vice versa? There are many people who profess to be gay who say, themselves, that they haven’t always been gay or who have lived a gay lifestyle and chosen a straight lifestyle later in life. I don’t think it would be possible for me to be black and then half way through my life, choose to be Asian. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.

    Anyway, all this is just to say, that I am not a bigot, I am not homophobic, I am not an intellectual degenerate, although, I will say in all truthfulness, that I do not profess to be an intellectual at all. I just thought you might like to consider a point of view of someone who’s opinion differs from yours and who doesn’t fall into the pigeonhole it seems, from your post, you want to place all people who have differing views from you. As a Jewish man and as an American, Simcha Felder has a right to express and run by the tenants he lives by and if that includes standing in support of traditional marriage, he has the right to do so without being called names….

    Actually, on second thought, I guess this is America, so you do have the right to call him whatever you wish, just be sure that you are educating yourself as much as possible about what he and others really believe and why, before degrading him to the likes of a pro apartheid bigot.

    Just food for thought…

    God bless,

  12. I’ve heard a similar argument, perhaps not so well written, offered elsewhere. Essentially, “I’m entitled to my beliefs, and if I had my way, you’d all be required to live by my beliefs as well. And, hey, that doesn’t make me a bigot.”

    How else would you define someone who believes a minority, however you may define them, doesn’t deserve the same rights as the majority?

    You use as your argument the claim that you’ve heard of gay people who were once straight (something I’ve rarely encountered) as proof that being gay is a choice. I would counter that, due to personal and societal pressures from people who espouse views like yours and Simcha Felder, many people struggle with their sexuality over what can be a prolonged period of time before being able to come out. But even if it were a choice, does that matter? Does someone who ‘chooses’ to be a U.S. citizen instead of someone who is born here deserve fewer rights?

    The beauty of a democracy is not so much in how it protects the views of the majority, but in how it protects the rights of the few.

  13. This is a very good debate, and it’s interesting how Felder crafts his words to appeal to both sides. I don’t see though how “Jesus-in-the-city” is “requiring” anyone to live by her beliefs. Where does she say this?

    I’m in favor of same-sex marriage myself, but our first reaction to opponents of same-sex marriage should not be to call them bigots. Same-sex marriage is a fairly new idea and has only been discussed at the national level in the last twenty years. It was only this year that Obama became the first President to endorse the idea. It represents a sea change in thinking about marriage. This will take time for some people to get used to and I don’t think it’s labeling someone as a bigot is particularly likely to change their opinion or anyone else’s. It’s an ad hominem attack on them, not on their argument.

  14. Actually, I address quite clearly the flaws in the argument. Further, I did not refer the poster as a bigot, but asked the question rhetorically, what would you call someone who would deny rights to a minority group based on their own personal spiritual belief system? Perhaps the person is not a bigot, but the action of voting to deny such rights could be viewed as intolerant at best, bigoted at worst.

  15. I think Joe Biden expressed my view of this issue very nicely in the VP debate: Joe is a practicing Catholic, and he agrees with the Church’s view that life begins at conception. However, he doesn’t believe that American citizens who do not share his personal views on abortion should be governed by them. Joe is not a anti-women. Storobin and Felder are not bigots. They are entitled to their personal views and beliefs. But if both Storobin and Felder both believe that their personal views should become the basis of law for everyone else, then it presents voters in our district a very depressing choice indeed.

  16. Hello Aja,

    That is a very well worded yet ignorant and yes, bigoted point of view. You can bend the facts to represent whatever view you want to have. The facts are that there have been many studies about whether or not homosexuality is genetic. The scientific answer is currently that there is not one “gay gene” but that being gay is a complicated mixture of hormonal, environmental and yes, genetic factors. To me all the information I need is that 99% of gay people say that they were born that way. The only way you can dispute that is if you yourself are gay and are choosing that orientation. No, it is not the same as being black because it is less visible (maybe you would like them to wear visible pink arm bands and live in a specific neighborhood so you can make it easier to tell them apart), but other than that, yes it is just as much of a choice.

    So according to you, you don’t really have anything against these minorities, and you want them to have the same rights as you, but you just don’t want them to say they are married to each other. You say this because to you being married is a religious term defined by your religion and your book. So my question to you is does that mean it is a redefinition of the word marriage for non-religious people to be married? Do you want to make a new word for them too? What about muslims? What exactly do you define marriage as? It seems to me that you are the one redefining marriage. And what difference does it make to you? Why is it so important to you that these people should not be able to say they are married?

    Just as a side note about religion and the freedom to believe what you want: Up until 1978, Mormonism, the religion of the republican front runner in the presidential election, black people were not allowed to be a part of the clergy and forbidden from taking part in ceremonies in their temples. This is because they were believed to be black because they were believed to be “the children of Cain” and were permanently cursed. So by your logic, if this was before 1978 and the country democratically elected Mitt Romney as president whatever discrimination would then be brought against black people is entirely justified because he was elected democratically and it’s his religion. Just because its Simcha Felder’s religion, does not mean it’s ok to be a bigot.

    I hope that you and Simcha are able to open your heart to God and love your neighbors. Love and Hate are choices too. Which do you really think God wants you to choose?

  17. Hello Jeff,

    I wrote out a looong reply to your post and then inadvertently erased it, really annoying if it has ever happened to you. I tried again and the same thing happened. I think I am too keyboard happy.

    I thought I would include here a link to an audio interview by one of my favorite social commentators, Star Parker. The clip basically talks about how Christians and the Christian world view are fast becoming the new group not to be tolerated by society. I thought you might be interested to hear about something that seems to be meaningful to you, from a different point of view.


    I also wanted to invite you for a coffee or a walk sometime if you are ever interested. Just reply here and I guess I can check back from time to time and we can organize something. I just don’t seem to be having a lot of luck with the typing and maybe you can see for yourself that, although, as a Christian, I am not ashamed to be vocal about what God believes, and therefore I believe, is sin, that doesn’t mean that I am a bigot. Millions of people around the world for centuries have had and still have this world view. I don’t believe that makes them bigots or God a bigot either.

    As for muslims, their religion is especially intolerant toward gays and in most muslim countries, I believe, homosexuality can be punishable by death. I, of course, don’t agree with the death penalty or any Islamic worldview so don’t misunderstand me saying that to mean that I agree with it, it’s just what I understand to be true. For this reason, I don’t really care to bring their worldview into the equation, because I don’t think it stands to make your point any stronger. They also believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, as do the vast majority of mainstream definitions of marriage, if you just google them on your computer. I believe marriage is defined as between a man and a woman because it benefits procreation, something that would not be able to happen in a union between the two sexes. In fact, if you do believe that homosexuality is genetic and you do believe in evolution, then gays would probably cease to exist because they wouldn’t be able to survive as a people, not being able to procreate… Just another reason why I don’t believe homosexuality is not a choice. I also don’t believe that 99% of gay people believe they were born gay. Maybe you know 99% of gay people, but I don’t and until I’ve heard from them, I still won’t believe it. I actually am the mother of a toddler and as any parent can tell you, babies do not have a sexual orientation. There would be no way to tell if they do, as no one, no one at all, remembers being an infant, another reason why it’s impossible to prove people are born gay…

    I don’t agree with your mormon view either, as, as a bible believing Christian, I believe mormonism to be a cult. They claim to be an offshoot of Christianity, but their core beliefs deviate vastly from the core tenants of Christianity, like Jesus being both the Son of God and God incarnate and stuff like that. I don’t believe that prior to 1978 a mormon would have ever made it into the white house, so again, I think that makes your point moot as well.

    Anyway, I better cut this short now before I erase it again! In closing, I would like to add that I did open my heart to God when I accepted Him into my heart and was saved, three years ago. I don’t hate gays, but I do hate sin, including the sins I commit every day. God does not hate sinners either, but He does hate sin, every sin, from impure thoughts, lusting after a stranger, coveting something of your neighbor’s, hateful thoughts against another person, stealing, hard heartedness, and the list goes on and on. God hates all of these sins, including homosexual behavior, but He does not hate sinners. He sent His Son to live and die amongst sinners, He died for us while we were still in our sin, including myself and you. Love and hate are choices and I chose to turn away from my sin and ask God for His love and forgiveness through Jesus. I don’t believe that tolerating everything that people choose makes us loving. I don’t tolerate my daughter’s bad behavior when it may get her into trouble or hurt her in some way and this is the same reasoning that God has given us knowledge about sin, so we can come into agreement with Him that it is wrong and not safe for us and choose His worldview about what is. I believe caring for people enough to tell them the Truth is the most loving choice of all and as a Christian I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

    God bless you and let me know if you want to meet up for further discussion. I will try to check back from time to time if you haven’t forgotten this altogether.


  18. Thanks 🙂

    You should read up on Star Parker. She is a social commentarial and writer and shares a lot of the same views as me, although I am an independent, not a Republican.

  19. Religion really has no place in politics, and this, coupled with the opinions on this thread, shows why. I have no idea why people want to constantly hide behind iron-age mythology.

  20. Hi Aja,

    I know that I cannot reason with you. I just wanted to reply to a couple of your points. Thanks for the offer of coffee, I think i will pass.

    My point about 99% of gays believing they were born that way appears to have been misunderstood by you. The point was that the only way that you can disagree with them is if you find yourself overwhelmed with homosexual urges but are constantly trying to “adjust” yourself. If you have some sort of logical disagreement, then by all means share it. Also, I do not know 99% of all gay people, but I do probably know 100 and not one of them believes they were not born that way. I thought I would give you the 1% as a present. Happy Halloween.

    Secondly I would also like to tell you that i agree with you about something. Homosexuals cannot reproduce. In fact that is why it is in the Bible in the first place. The Bible is an amazing book full of many great and beautiful things and purposes. One of these purposes was to govern a nation of people 2 millenia ago. One of the important factors in survival in those days was to be sure you had as many warriors as possible to defend your country. I submit to you the following idea: that homosexuality is frowned on in the Bible because they needed to build up their population as much as possible to survive in that world. We do not have that issue in this day and age. The world is over populated as it is. There are a lots of laws in the bible that no longer make sense in this era and for our current society. How do you feel about Deuteronomy 21:18-21 as a parent? Or a hundred other things that don’t make any sense in our society. You don’t believe everything word for word just because they are in the Bible. Nobody but psychopaths do. This in no way effects you being saved. This in no way is a knock on God’s word. This in no way effects the core tenants of Christianity or Judaism or Islam. This shouldn’t effect loving your neighbors and wanting that love to be spread which was God’s actual intent. To truly be saved is to actually understand what God wants and to open your heart to it. Not to fixate on random passages that are meaningless and turn them into hate. The pastor or priest that tells you otherwise is an imbecile who is spreading hate and doing the devil’s work.

    So no I haven’t forgotten about it. I feel just as passionately about it as your ancestors who fought and died that they could be free. Now you are bringing a child into this world to think these thoughts which push people further apart instead of bringing them together and that makes me really upset.

    All of your arguments rely on two main points. That logic shouldn’t have a place in the discussion and that lots of other people feel the way you do and that should be some sort of validation. I would carefully examine why you feel that these two things are so important to you.

    Men love Women, Men love Men. Women love Men, Women love Women. God loves us all.

    Love, Jeff

  21. Simply put RELIGION should be out of politics, after all they do not pay taxes. I am a Homosexual and have been out since I was 11 yrs old, in a Southern Baptist Home it was brutal and yes churches breed hate and bullying. Every Sunday I was made to go so I could hear some ‘man’ tell me my sin is greater than theirs. Enough is Enough! When will Churches see what devastating affects they have on a child. When will the ‘straights’ realize they made a choice to be straight?

  22. I would describe myself as a ‘social conservative’, yet I’m absolutely not opposed to gay marriage. It’s a matter of individual, private freedom.

    What business does anyone have telling two consenting adults what they can or cannot do in their own private lives.

    The aspiration to be civilly married belongs to a couple’s own private sphere, and in a democratic, free country nobody outside that sphere should be enabled to interfere with it.

  23. It’s not about religion. Not really. If we woke up in a thoroughly secular world tomorrow, we’d come up with some entirely new reason to dislike the people who once disagreed with us about religion. That’s just the way people are. Religion is just a convenient excuse of the moment.

  24. Well exactly, without religion to cowardly hide behind, prejudice becomes much harder to justify. Suddenly “the bible says…” turns into “I just don’t like…”. Religion could easily have done away with this intolerance, though, if there is any so-called divinity to the texts of holy books it would have been an ideal time to say something like “men can love men and women can love women, for this type of love pleases god just as a man and a woman does”, but it doesn’t, because they’re concocted from desert tribes who knew nothing, a product of their time and nothing more.

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