This Monday (Sep 4 2017) the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) issued a statement (incorrectly dated Sep 9 2017) advising the Jewish community to vote “No” in the proposed postal survey on whether the Marriage Act should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Changes to the Marriage Act enabling same-sex marriages will not impact authorised ministers of religion, as the existing protections under the Marriage Act will remain in force, allowing them to refuse to solemnise those marriages they object to.
The letter issued by the RCV draws on misleading, inaccurate and irrelevant information, failing to cite any sources.
Civil marriage in Australia is not subject to the requirements of Jewish law (Halacha). Orthodox rabbis have no right to interfere in the lives of people who do not wish to engage in an Orthodox Jewish marriage.
It would be appropriate for the RCV to desist from issuing negative statements on civil marriage while there is no proposed impact to their ability to perform their religious duties.
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