Former reality television star Republican Congressional candidate Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Wednesday, backing the celebrity rabbi’s plan to make marriage counseling tax deductible.
“We are here today because America is leading a lie and that lie is that if we talk about gay marriage for the next 50 years, we are going to save the institution of marriage,” Boteach said at a press conference outside Bergen Marriage Counseling in Teaneck. “We’re playing a game that if we fight over cultural issues for the next 50 years and divide this nation we’re going to save marriage.”
Gosselin, a father of eight and former star of TLC's “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” saw his own marriage to Kate Gosselin fall apart amid allegations of infidelity. Boteach counseled the former television star to make a public apology to his wife.
“He has an amazing moral compass and follows through with everything he does,” Gosselin said of Boteach.
Although $30,000 in counseling could not save Gosselin’s marriage, he said lessening the financial burden could help others.
“Even though it didn’t work for me, I believe in it and I believe in marriage,” Gosselin said, adding his wife did not attend the sessions. “The fact financially is it is expensive.”
Boteach, who's parents are divorced, said couples often claim marriage counseling as a mental health expense so insurance will cover the costs.
"According to the American Association of Marriage and Family therapy, nearly 90 percent of clients report an improvement in emotional well being and health through marital counseling. Seventy-five percent report an improvement in their marriage and relationship," Boteach said. "And yet in order to obtain those positive benefits, marital counseling in America ranges from the absolute minimum of $75 an hour up to the maximum of about $200 an hour so we're at a median of about $130 an hour."
The rabbi said divorce is ignored by political candidates at all levels and is making the marriage counseling tax deduction a focus of his campaign for the 9th district.
“I find it astonishing that this nation will make charitable donations tax deductible but not marital counseling,” Boteach said. “Charity begins at home.”
Divorce should be a higher priority than abortion, gay marriage and contraception, the rabbi said.
Boteach, a former spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson, is running against .