Australian orthodox rabbis interfering in civil marriage (again)!

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:

Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick
President Rabbinical Council of Victoria
Senior Dayan – Melbourne Beth Din (Jewish Ecclesiastical Court)

Rabbi Moshe D Gutnick
Senior Dayan – Sydney Beth Din

Rabbi Yehoram Ulman
President Rabbinical Council of NSW
Senior Dayan – Sydney Beth Din

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?

Rabbi Is Out Of Line & Out Of Touch With The Community | JCCV

Rabbi Is Out Of Line & Out Of Touch With The Community

16 February 2015

Jewish Community Council of VictoriaMuch 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.

View Related Article in “Star Observer”