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You won’t catch anyone marching for gay rights in countries like Yemen or Qatar

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Sue-Ann Levy and her wife Denise Alexander on their wedding day in 2009 | Photo: Courtesy

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This Father’s Day, my wife and I celebrate 11 years of marriage.

Like most married couples, over the past 11 years, we’ve lived through many ups and downs. We’ve travelled to wonderful places like New Zealand, Ecuador, France, Morocco, Spain, Italy, and Israel.

We worship together at Temple Emanu-El, headed by Rabbi Debra Landsberg, who married us in a traditional Jewish ceremony in the back garden of Toronto’s McLean House, on another Father’s Day, that one very steamy.

We take our Jewish heritage very seriously and are committed Zionists.

Because we met too late to have children together, and our efforts to adopt a young Muslim boy from Israel didn’t work out, we’ve adopted three miniature long-haired dachshunds together (doxies are our passion) and have mourned the loss of two – one was put down two nights before our wedding and one (named Kishka) passed away a few days before our 10th anniversary.

We’ve also had many obstacles thrown our way, most especially the challenge of dealing with aging parents who suddenly can’t handle their finances, or basic decision making, due to the onset of dementia.

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For Denise, on this Father’s Day, the star of the show will be missing. Sadly her father, Keith passed away in early May.  

Keith was not at all thrilled when we announced we were getting married in January of 2009. But he told us after the fact the wedding was beautiful and came very quickly to embrace us as a same-sex couple.

We take for granted the ease with which we are accepted in our community, our Reform synagogue, and this country. My 20 years living in the closet, and the trepidation I had coming out at age 48, before meeting my wife Denise, now seem like another life.

Denise (left) and Sue-Ann, at home with their miniature long-haired dachshunds | Photo: Courtesy

But I only have to recognize what happened south of the border before the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states in 2015, to remember the hard-fought battles waged in other countries to acquire the same rights – not to mention other countries where homosexuality is still a crime, sometimes punishable by death, or at the very least, tortuous beatings.

The constitutional fights in the U.S. were tremendous.

Let’s take California for example, which went four different iterations of same-sex marriage laws, resulting in the on-again-off-again saga of Proposition (Prop) 8. 

By the time it was legal to marry in Florida, Denise and I had already been married six years.

In many countries—particularly in the Middle East—homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment or even death.

In fact, Israel stands out alone in the Middle East as the rare oasis of progressive thought on gay rights. While civil unions still cannot be performed in the Jewish state, marriages conducted anywhere else in the world are recognized there. There are several Gay Pride parades in Israel – most noteworthy in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem. All have been postponed this year over COVID fears.

I am forever gobsmacked when the left-wing anti-Israel pro-BDS radicals selectively attack the Jewish state’s alleged human rights abuses towards the Palestinians – but completely ignore the fact that Israel resoundingly embraces gay rights.

Whenever that fact is presented to the radical hypocrites, they dismiss it as “pinkwashing.”

Still, you won’t catch anyone marching for gay rights in countries like Yemen or Qatar. Most likely gays will be living underground or trying to make their way to Israel. 

In Yemen, married gay men can face death by stoning; in Iran gay men have been hung. In Qatar, the prison sentence for homosexuality is up to seven years, while in Saudi Arabia first-time “offenders” face the lash.

Those are but a few examples of the tortuous ways gays are treated.

It makes my wife and I not just celebrate the fact that we live in Canada, but that our ties are to the Jewish state.

Forget about pinkwashing. It’s clear the anti-Israel radicals are in the business of whitewashing the facts.

Sue-Ann Levy is a veteran journalist, a columnist for Toronto Sun, and a columnist for TheJ.ca

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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