— Aleph Melbourne (@alephmelbourne) June 12, 2015
A little over three years ago, in April 2012, orthodox rabbis in Sydney and Melbourne submitted letters to a Senate enquiry, opposing marriage equality.
As reported in yesterday’s The Australian (June 9 2015), rabbis are among 38 signatories to a letter (PDF) addressed to the Prime Minister opposing marriage equality. The three Orthodox rabbis, one from Melbourne and two from Sydney, are:
Aleph Melbourne notes that any proposed changes to the Marriage Act to broaden the definition of marriage from “one man and one woman” to wording similar to “two people” will safeguard ministers of religion and not require them to perform marriages between two people of the same-sex.
As it stands, ministers of religion are authorised to refuse to marry any two people, a protection that would carry through with proposed marriage equality amendments.
Exactly why these rabbis are opposing changes to the Marriage Act is incomprehensible in terms of their religious obligations, as any such changes will have no impact on their professional responsibilities. Therefore is would seem that these rabbis are commenting on matters of civil law beyond their purview, which begs the question: why?
16 February 2015
Much of the evidence presented at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse over the past two weeks has been seriously disturbing, appalling and distressing. One of the lows was the statement made by Rabbi Zvi Telsner, a senior rabbi in the Yeshivah community, that homosexuals can be ‘cured’.
This is repulsive, ignorant and insulting, demonstrating a serious departure from the views of the mainstream Jewish community.
Rabbi Telsner also linked paedophilia and homosexuality in his testimony. Any such linking is disturbing and indeed toxic. Those comments are poisonous to people of diverse sexual preference, their families and friends.
The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) signed up to the ‘No To Homophobia’ campaign in 2013, the first and possibly only faith community to do so and we urged our affiliates to do likewise. 26 Jewish community organisations have also signed up to the campaign, including the Australian Union of Jewish students (AUJS), Progressive Judaism Victoria, Jewish Care, Jewish Aid, the Jewish Holocaust Centre and the Jewish Museum. Obviously Rabbi Telsner, whose organisation is not affiliated to JCCV, did not sign up.