Following on from the announcement of Bialik College becoming the first school in Australia to declare support for marriage equality, the school’s principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner has issued the following statement on their Facebook page:
From: Michael Barnett
Date: 16 February 2016 at 22:06
Subject: ECAJ & Marriage Equality
To: Peter Wertheim <PWertheim@ecaj.org.au>, Robert Goot <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hi Peter, Robert,
I see the ECAJ are keen to discuss “LGBT equality” for it’s ideological purposes:
Ordinarily this use of LGBTI people would not bother me but given Australia doesn’t have LGBTI equality and given your organisation exists to promote the welfare (eg equality) of Australians, it seems you’re taking a liberty with the liberties LGBTI Australians don’t yet have.
Allow me to remind you of your platform:
|1.1||NOTES that it is the vision of the ECAJ to create and support a community in which all Australians, including all Jewish Australians:
(a) feel valued and their cultural differences are respected;
(b) have a fair opportunity to meet their material and other needs; and
(c) are equally empowered as citizens to participate in and contribute to all facets of life in the wider community;
Right now I’m not feeling especially valued, not do I have fair opportunity to meet my needs, and am not empowered to participate in or contribute to all facets of life in the wider community. I am sure I speak for others too.
On this particular ground, I’d really like your organisation to sign its name to marriage equality so LGBTI people in Australia can have equal rights, similarly to those of the people you are so proud to show off in your open letter.
To this end, Australian Marriage Equality have provided a simple mechanism to facilitate your addition to their list of over 800 supporters:
It would also be an ideal opportunity for the ECAJ to follow in the footsteps of Bialik College, a proud supporter of marriage equality.
How soon can you arrange this support?
Bialik College first Australian school to support Marriage Equality
February 16 2016
As a member of the Safe Schools Coalition, Bialik College is showing genuine leadership and vision by supporting marriage equality. The school clearly understands that giving children equal opportunities in life enables them to achieve their full potential.
Michael Barnett, convenor of Aleph Melbourne, reflects on this significant moment:
“As a former student of Bialik College, I am exceedingly proud of my first high school today. They have come a long way since I attended in the early 1980s. I would have had an easier time at school, experienced less bullying and felt less isolated if the school had told me it was ok to love boys and that I could even marry a man when I grew up. That validation would have made a huge difference to me, particularly at that formative stage of my life”.
Every current and future student at Bialik can now know that when they attend school, their friendships and relationships will be equally valued within their school community and that gender identity, sexual orientation and intersex status will not be a barrier to full inclusion.
This is a proud moment for the Jewish community in Australia. It also brings Australia one step closer to removing the hurtful and pointless discrimination in the Marriage Act.
All Jewish schools, and those beyond the Jewish community, must step up to the mark, in the name of equality and for the best outcomes for their students, and similarly add their name to the Australian Marriage Equality list of academic supporters.
Further comment available from Aleph Melbourne convenor Michael Barnett on 0417-595-541.
Melbourne’s Jewish Community came out in force on Sunday January 31 2016 to participate in the annual Pride March in St Kilda. The largest contingent to date, this year saw community stalwarts Aleph Melbourne and the Jewish Lesbian Group of Victoria joined by a strong presence from youth groups Habonim Dror, SKIF, Netzer and Hashomer Hatzair. Members of AUJS and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria also marched in solidarity.
|From 20160131 Pride March|
Pride March celebrates the rich diversity of Melbourne’s LGBTIQ community. Aleph Melbourne has participated every year since 1997. The significant presence of Jewish youth groups in Pride March over the past three years shows that increasingly, young people are passionate about equality, inclusion, respect and social justice.