NSW Jewish Board of Deputies support same-sex marriage | Jewish News

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies support same-sex marriage

September 19, 2017

Joshua Levi

THE NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) has overwhelmingly passed a motion calling for “equal treatment under Australian law to same-sex couples who choose to marry” at its monthly plenum tonight (Tuesday).

The motion, which only one person voted against in a room filled with more than 100 people, stated that the roof body of NSW Jewry “strongly asserts that rabbis must continue to be able to conduct marriage ceremonies in accordance with Jewish law as they see fit”, “rejects any attempts to impose a belief or value system on the rabbinate”, “reaffirms its commitment to freedom of religious practice and religious education in Australia”, “acknowledges that as a matter of Orthodox Jewish law, same-sex marriage is not permitted” but then noted that “the question before Australia at the upcoming postal plebiscite is one relating to civil, not religious, marriage”.

The motion also noted that the JBOD is “committed to fighting all forms of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, homosexuality, gender and disability” and that it will support “all members of our community as they strive for equality under the law”.

And finally, it resolved, “To call on the Federal Government to ensure protections for practice of religious freedom and religious education; to support the elimination of discrimination against same-sex couples under Australia’s civil law by extending legal recognition to marriages between same-sex couples who choose to marry; and to support equal treatment under Australian law to same-sex couples who choose to marry.”

Former JBOD president Justice Stephen Rothman said that he was proud to speak to the motion at the plenum tonight.

“Some members of our community consider same-sex relationships and morally repugnant, and that is dealt with in the motion,” Rothman said.

“We don’t have to approve same-sex relations, in order to approve same-sex marriage.

“In my view, in the case of members of the same-sex community they should be free to enjoy their commitment to each other in the same way that other can.”

Rothman also noted that although same-sex marriage is not legal in Israel, the Jewish homeland does recognise same-sex marriages that take place in America or other countries were same-sex marriage is legal.

“If it’s good enough for the Jewish state, it’s good enough for Australia.”

Jack Pinczewski, who stepped down from the JBOD executive last month, spoke in support of the motion.

“We owe it to our friends and families to take a stance on this matter,” he said.

“It’s a matter of fairness, and a matter of separation between church and state.”

The motion was drafted by JBOD president Jeremy Spinak, however his wife is in hospital expecting twins so he was not in attendance.

In a written message, Spinak said the JBOD was obliged to act in what it considered the best interests of the community, which was to support marriage equality.

“This is about vital members of our community being recognised,” Spinak wrote.

“They have every night to be recognised as married.

“It’s about standing for gay families, so that even if they would not be accepted halachically, they would be accepted in the community in which they live.”

However, he reiterated that he respected rabbis and members of the community who took a different view and had a right to be heard, without being labelled as homophobic or derided for their opinions.

Only one person spoke against the motion at the meeting. He claimed that people who are gay are “not equal”.

A match made in heaven | AJN

October 26, 2012 – page 25
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

A match made in heaven

Marriage isn’t a right for all.  It’s between men and women and, civil or not, its roots are in religion.

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick

Judaism unequivocally recognises marriage as being only between a man and woman. However, while the Torah irrevocably forbids homosexual relationships and overt homosexual behaviour, it adopts the distinction found in numerous rabbinical texts, between the person and his or her behaviour. Tolerance and love must be shown to all.

However, while such tolerance is consistent with the core values of Judaism, there is a great difference between tolerance for an individual, and recognition of a movement which wishes to turn something clearly prohibited by Judaeo-Christian teaching into something not only tolerated, but recognised and solemnised through the institution of marriage.

There is no doubt that society must protect all citizens from discrimination, including from discrimination on the basis of sexual preference, but this can be done in other ways, without granting a homosexual union the sanctity of marriage.

It is indeed a complex debate as to the degree with which Judaeo-Christian ethical positions should be translated into public policy in a pluralistic democratic society. However, one thing is clear, at this point in Australian history, our great Commonwealth still bases itself on those values taught to mankind through the great religions of Judaism and Christianity.

Our Parliament begins its deliberations with a prayer to the God of all mankind: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name … Thy Will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven.” Parliamentarians swear their oath on a Bible, as do all who stand in our courts. Our constitution acknowledges the blessings of God.  While indeed we make provision for all, including those who do not believe in God, and that indeed is an essential part of our democracy, the overwhelming majority of our citizens build their lives, indeed not necessarily around organised religion, but around belief in a Creator.

Indeed, as Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks convincingly argues, it is only democracies that have at their foundations belief in a Supreme Being and subservience to a higher morality that indeed ensure the rights of all their citizens precisely because they are “created in the image of God”.  Without God, human government becomes supreme and the arbiter of morality.  Inevitably the rights of their citizens become subservient to the needs of the state, and as we have seen with the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, the results are catastrophic.

Gay people can be protected from discrimination without tampering with marriage.

Justice Rothman (AJN 12/10) argues that it is hypocritical for the rabbinate in our democracy to argue on the one hand against same-sex marriage while on the other hand insist on the right to brit milah (circumcision).  The argument, with respect to His Honour, is flawed.

It is indeed a universal human right to be able to freely practice religion, including the practice of brit milah.  However, there is no such universal human right for all persons to be able to marry.

As late as March 2012, the European Court of Human Rights found that same sex marriage is not a human right under the European Convention on Human Rights.  Marriage indeed is not a right, but in our society it is the voluntary union of  man and a woman as uniquely defined in the Judaeo-Christian ethic.

Indeed, the Marriage Act recognises the essentially religious nature of marriage.  No other act of Parliament includes in it outcomes achieved by a minister of religion.  In some other parts of the world, the recording of a marriage is purely a civil matter totally unrelated to the performance of a ceremony by a minister of religion; the certificate of marriage does not mention religion at all.

However, in our Marriage Act, marriage can be performed by a minister of religion; this and the fact that the marriage was performed according to the rites of that religion are all recorded on the certificate of marriage.  Indeed, we do provide for a civil celebrant to perform a civil marriage, but that does not take away from its essential Judaeo-Christian, and indeed biblical, foundation.

If there was a universal right to “marriage”, as Justice Rothman suggests, and marriage was just the conferring and acceptance of certain mutual legal rights and obligations, why would that not have to extend to allowing a (consenting adult) brother and sister to marry?  Or for that matter a man to marry two women or a woman to marry two men, as indeed does take place in other cultures and other parts of the world?  Should a minority of our citizens wish to have such unions, would Justice Rothman seriously suggest we are denying them their rights?

Gay people can be protected from discrimination without tampering with marriage.  Maintaining the definition of marriage, in accordance with the Judaeo-Christian ethic, is not a denial of rights nor an act of homophobia; it is simply the maintaining of a definition, and with it the sanctity of marriage.  Our democratic principles are not those that espouse freedom from religion but freedom of religion.  And indeed it would appear, by the recent overwhelming vote in the House of Representatives against changes to the Marriage Act, that the vast majority of our elected representatives agree.

Rabbi Moshe D Gutnick is president of the
Orthodox Rabbis of Australasia and a dayan
on the Sydney Beth Din.

AJN Letters: Marriage Equality – Responses to Rabbi Chaim Ingram – October 26 2012

26 October 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

Letters to the editor should be no more than 250 words and may be edited for length and content. Only letters sent to letters@jewishnews.net.au will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.

No rational basis for opposing gay marriage

IN his response to Justice Stephen Rothman’s article, “Marriage Rites Are Rights For All” (AJN 12/10), Rabbi Chaim Ingram (AJN 19/10) rejects as “patently risible” Rothman’s view that “current opposition to same-sex marriage is irrational”.  Rabbi Ingram then continues: “Opposition to homosexual marriage is eminently rational.”  However, other than baldly stating that such opposition is “eminently rational”, Ingram provides little evidence of precisely how that opposition is rational.

The closest Ingram comes is citing the opinion of 150 doctors that marriage is between a man and a woman exclusively is the basis for a healthy society.  However, the Australia Medical Association (AMA) has rejected the stance of those 150 doctors.  In fact, the AMA president has reportedly said the doctors’ claims are irresponsible and at odds with medical evidence.  The AMA president cited a growing body of evidence that children of gay and lesbian parents are just as happy with themselves and their own sexuality as children of heterosexual parents with no difference in development, psychological adjustment, or peer popularity.

Moreover, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) – the largest professional association for psychologists in Australia, which represents more than 20,000 members – has endorsed the American Psychological Association’s calling for marriage equality.  In a unanimous resolution, the APS has called for legalisation of same-sex marriage, on the basis of psychological evidence showing the mental health benefits of marriage, and the harm caused by social exclusion and discrimination arising from not having the choice to marry.

I ask Rabbi Ingram to have another attempt at explaining the rational basis for opposing same-sex marriage.  In particular, I ask the rabbi: What is the rational difference between a committed, exclusive relationship of one man and one woman and a committed, exclusive relationship of one man and one man or one woman and one woman?  The rational difference cannot be children, since one does not need to have to children to get married in Australia; and one does not need to get married to have children.  What, then, is the patently rational difference?

Fraser, ACT

The reality of homosexuality

DOES Rabbi Ingram have any compassion for those whose natural sexual desires are toward their own, rather than the opposite, sex?  Homosexuality has been observed in animal species as well as in humans, so perhaps some people are born that way.  What has the Orthodox rabbinate to say on that?

The Torah also has a command that “wayward” sons be brought to the community to be stoned.  Naturally the application of this law is abhorrent and the rabbis have found ways around the law.

But when it comes to homosexuality, an ancient prejudice that has lead to suicides, only the Progressive rabbis have made a positive step to justice.

Tell me rabbi: How would gay marriage in any way affect those of us in heterosexual marriages?  How could it change our relationships with our spouses and children?  Why, rabbi, do you take such a strong stand on this subject?

Bentleigh East, Vic

Most medics are pro gay marriage

Rabbi Ingram refers to 150 doctors who oppose changes to the Marriage Act that would allow same-sex attracted and intersex people the right to marry the person of their choice.  What he conveniently neglects to mention are the over 1000 Australian medical practitioners who have signed their names to support such legislative changes, on the basis of credible medical evidence.  The list of names and research papers are all available at drs4equality.com.  With stark headlines such as the recent “Suicide rates high for Orthodox homosexual youths” in The Jerusalem Post, and in the face of the evidence presented by Doctors for Marriage Equality, it doesn’t take much to realise that people like Rabbi Ingram are exacerbating the problems their communities are facing.

Contemporary scientific and medical understanding is so completely foreign to what was acceptable decades ago, let alone 4000 years ago.  Rabbi Ingram must learn to move with the times or be rendered a prehistoric relic who does more harm than good.

Michael Barnett
Ashwood, Vic

Disgusted at rabbi’s homophobic views

I AM ashamed that Chaim Ingram’s homophobic and offensive comments were allowed in last week’s letters.  I am extremely disappointed and embarrassed by this representation of our community.

Being a philosophy student and an atheist secular humanist Jew, I am once again shocked by this widely held view in the religious community.  Ingram tries to apply logic to his emotional plea and fails miserably.  We, as people, are meant to spread love, compassion and kindness, and this letter is taking us in the other direction.

Melbourne, Vic

How would rabbis react to gay kids?

I AM writing to express my disgust at the letter from last week’s AJN from Rabbi Chaim Ingram in reply to Justice Stephen Rothman’s article (12/10).

Again it displays the total ignorance and intolerance of many of our rabbis.  It is disgusting in its content.

What would many of the so-called rabbis say if they personally had a gay son or daughter? I fortunately belong to a congregation on Melbourne where are rabbis are understanding and very tolerant of all sexual relationships, and welcome heterosexuals and homosexuals equally, remembering we are all created equal in the sight of God.

A letter like this is a sure way of losing many Jews from the various congregations.

Black Rock, Vic

AJN Letters: Marriage Equality – Rabbi Chaim Ingram responds to Justice Stephen Rothman – October 19, 2012

19 October 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

Letters to the editor should be no more than 250 words and may be edited for length and content. Only letters sent to letters@jewishnews.net.au will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.

Rothman wrong on same-sex marriage

Justice Stephen Rothman’s article “Marriage rites are rights for all” (AJN 12/10) is intellectually flawed several reasons:

While he, like everyone, is entitled to express his view, to state that “current opposition to same-sex marriage is irrational” is patently risible.

Opposition to homosexual marriage is eminently rational. It is based on the universal age-old, time-hallowed, sacred definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Will Justice Rothman perhaps advocate a similar change to the definition of death and redefine it as, say, “the loss of a will to live”, thus paving the way for voluntary euthanasia? After all, it is less conscience-pricking to kill an already dead man.

Will he, moreover, accuse those opposed to such a radical redefinition (and redefining marriage is no less radical) of being “irrational”?

Such intolerant pejorative labelling is redolent of the anti-intellectual tactics of the far left.

That can be no meaningful comparison between opposition to circumcision, a practice sanctified nearly four millennia ago by Abraham, progenitor of the three monotheistic faiths accounting for 60 per cent of the world’s population, and opposition to same-sex marriage which, prior to the 21st century, was instituted in only the most decadent ancient cultures.

Justice Rothman rightly cites evidence that female circumcision “injures the ‘victim’ both physically and psychologically”.

However, there was other medical evidence he didn’t mention.

Earlier this year, 150 prominent doctors – including Victoria’s deputy chief psychiatrist – publicly declared in the face of political correctness that in their considered medical view marriage between a man and a woman exclusively is the basis for a healthy society.

Even supposing the evidence is not conclusive, should Justice Rothman not take it into account?  Worse, on what intellectually sound basis does he excoriate those who do and tell them they are irrational?

Justice Rothman declares that homosexual marriage is “not antithetical to the values of society in which that minority resides”.

I beg to disagree.

The values of Australian society are founded on what is often termed Judaeo-Christian ethic and which Jews term the Noahide Code, according to which homosexuality is one of a handful of offences (and prawn-eating is not one of them), which one is bidden to resist even on pain of death.

Bondi Junction, NSW

Marriage rites are rights for all | AJN

October 12, 2012 – page 24
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

To deny same-sex couples a chance to marry is discriminatory and undemocratic, just as the recent ruling criminalizing circumcision is in Germany.

Marriage rites are rights for all

Justice Stephen Rothman

Some sections of the community have opposed amendments to the Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage.

At the same time, those persons vehemently criticise the decision in Germany to render circumcision illegal.

The two issues have one fundamental common thread: the nature of minority rights.

Current opposition to same-sex marriage is irrational and fundamentally undemocratic; even more undemocratic than rendering male circumcision illegal.

Yet each is a different side of the one coin.  These statements need explanation.

When occupying a communal position, I once suggested, somewhat arrogantly, that multiculturalism is a Jewish concept.

But multiculturalism, when properly implemented, is a species of equal justice.

Its origins are pre-enlightenment.

Aristotle wrote about it.

Equal justice requires that like should be treated alike and that the difference in treatment of different persons should be rational.

Equal justice is a principle that is fundamental to the exercise of judicial power and ought to be fundamental to, and a limitation on, the exercise of legislative power in a constitutional democracy in which the implementation of the rule of law is required.

Equal justice prohibits discrimination, except to the extent required to meet and ameliorate disadvantage.  It is protected by the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights.

The concept of equal justice, and adherence to it, defines the strength of the democracy that implements it.

Democracy is not simply the rule of the majority.

Democracy requires, among other things, that the majority not interfere with the capacity of a minority to engage in conduct that is not antithetical to the values of the society in which theat minority resides, and that causes no reduction in the rights of other members of society.

While the majority has rights, so to do members of the minority group.

Discrimination against minorities is undemocratic and contrary to the rule of law, regardless of whether the minority discriminated against is based on gender, race, colour, religion or sexuality.

Yet each of the major religions, including the Orthodox rabbinate, has opposed the amendments to the Marriage Act to include same sex relationships.


Is it because the Mosaic laws describing lying with man as with woman as an abomination?

If so, it joins adultery, idolatry, breaking the Sabbath and eating non-kosher food; hardly a compelling group for a basis to discriminate against a minority in secular society.

Do we discriminate against prawn eaters?

As a society, Australia does not prohibit same-sex relationships.

Some suggest there should be an act to recognise civil unions, which would include same-sex relationships.


That is precisely what the Marriage Act does; it recognises civil unions

It recognises such unions, albeit currently restricted to heterosexual relationships, and thereby avoids the couple meeting the more ambiguous tests necessary to establish a de facto relationship and also truncates the time period that may be necessary to achieve recognition.

The Marriage Act, as it currently operates, does not affect religious observance and does not implement religious practice.

Each of Christianity, Islam and Judaism do not accept all marriages recognised by the Marriage Act; even though they confined to persons of different gender.

Likewise, the Marriage Act does not recognise all religious marriages.

One only has to instance the Roman Catholic prohibition on divorce and the need for religious divorce and/or annulment in Judaism and Islam to understand that there are many marriages that religion considers are continuing and valid, that the civil law does not recognise.

Likewise, using the same example, there are many marriages that the civil law recognises that these religions will not, e.g. a second marriage of a person who has not received a religious annulment or divorce, or any non-religious marriage conducted by a celebrant.

So the recognition of a relationship under the Marriage Act does not impact upon the religious observance of any person in Australia or the recognition of the relationship by any religion.

An amendment to the Marriage Act to allow for the recognition of same-sex couples would not prevent any and every rabbi berating congregants on the alleged evils of homosexuality.

It would not stop the Cardinal Archbishop doing likewise; nor the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney.

Humankind is, in the religious view, created in the image of God. Our traits and characteristics are God-given.  Our capacity to choose what is right or wrong is God-given. We were given the ability to make moral choices.  It is for the individual to choose what she or he considers right or wrong.

Unless that choice results in conduct that interferes with the relationships between members of society or the ability of others to enjoy their own lives, government has no role in prescribing the conduct.

Nor does it have a role in prescribing advantages for some people over others, based on other than conduct.

There is no prohibition on same-sex relationships.

Therefore, excluding same-sex relationships from the Marriage Act does not implement any societal purpose.

It simply discriminates, not on the basis of conduct, to deny rights to some that are available to all others.

For my own part, whether, as an adherent to Orthodox Judaism, I support or oppose same-sex relationships is irrelevant.

Assuming I oppose them, it is not my decision to make.

I am not affected in the enjoyment of my rights in society by the existence of same-sex relationships, nor by the recognition by the law of those same-sex relationships.

If otherwise observant Jews engage in same-sex relationships, openly or otherwise, that is a matter for their conscience and between them and God, and possibly their rabbi.

But for our community to oppose the recognition of same-sex relationships for all, even atheists, is wholly hypocritical.

This is not post-modernism. The foregoing principles of equal justice enshrine the view that some viewpoints ought not be allowed to be put; those viewpoints that encourage illegality or those that intimidate or insult minorities to the point where those minorities are constrained in enjoying all of the privileges that flow with the democratic society in which they live.

But we, as a group, would oppose, quite properly, any prohibition on male circumcision, because male circumcision is fundamental to our religious beliefs and our existence as a minority.

The recognition of a relationship under the Marriage Act does
not impact upon the religious observance of any person in
Australia or the recognition of the relationship by any religion.

There is no suggestion, or evidence, that male circumcision adversely affects the child.

In that position, we would be joined by members of the Islamic faith.

Yet, it is quite conceivable that majoritarian view would see the mutilation of a child at a time when s/he is incapable of giving informed consent as a moral question.

That is the position adopted in Germany.

I interpose, at this point, to make clear that the arguments against female circumcision are fundamentally different, because of the purpose of female circumcision and the evidence that injures the “victim” , both physically and psychologically.

In the end, the issue is a simple one.

Should the law recognise some civil unions and not others in circumstances where those that are not recognised are unions that are not illegal and do not affect the rights, life or liberty of others?

We have the right to observe our religion; we do not have the right to force its teachings and observance on others.

Justice Stephen Rothman is a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and a former president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. He says the article does not relate to the constitutional validity of any amendments to the Marriage Act.

AJN Letters: Marriage Equality – Responses to Rabbis Gutnick & Ingram – November 9 2012

9 November 2012
The Australian Jewish News Melbourne edition

Letters to the editor should be no more than 250 words and may be edited for length and content. Only letters sent to letters@jewishnews.net.au will be considered for publication. Please supply an address and daytime phone number for verification.

We should not impose our laws on society

I WAS displayed by Rabbi Moshe Gutnick’s column about same-sex marriage (AJN 26/11).  He raises and then dismisses the key point that civil, non-religiously affiliated celebrants can perform legally recognised marriages in Australia.

Contrary to his claim, this is indeed an indication that the civil status of marriage is not based on a “Judeo-Christian, and indeed biblical, foundation”.

Speaking of a biblical foundation, I find it especially interesting that Rabbi Gutnick then raises a “slippery slope” argument that approving same-sex marriage would lead to the permitting of a marriage between a man and two women because in the recent parshah, Vayetze, Yaakov enters into that exact relationship with Rachel and Leah!

Australia prides itself on multiculturalism, and one of its most attractive features is the lack of religious influence in its civic life. I’m sure it would not occur to Rabbi Gutnick to insist that other marriages forbidden to Orthodox Jews, such as marriage between a Cohen and a divorcee, should be forbidden by civil law in Australia.  Similarly, Jewish law regarding marriages and homosexuality should not be imposed on the larger Australian community.

South Yarra, VIC

Australia not beholden to the Jewish view

Rabbis Moshe Gutnick (AJN 26/10) And Chaim Ingram (AJN 19/10) have very different approaches, but each does not deal with the fundamental issue.  Rabbi Gutnick’s comment on the place of Judeo-Christian ethic in Australia is misplaced.  The only mention of God in relation to the Australian Constitution is in the preamble to the Imperial (UK) Act, not in any operative provision of that Constitution, and the mention is that the people were “humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God”.  So am I.

Australian democracy is quite different to most.  Firstly, voting is compulsory.  The majority in Australia is not silent; it votes.  Secondly, voting is preferential.  The person elected represents a consensus of the majority in the electorate.

The combination of the two factors forces political parties to the centre; to appeal to the majority are not sectarian interests, who will then turn out to vote on one or more issues of concern.

Thirdly, Australia, despite its history of bigotry, particularly to blacks, gays and new immigrant groups, is extremely tolerant; laissez-faire, not moralistic.  It allows people to do what they like as long as it doesn’t interfere with them.

The best example is the Australian reaction to the AIDS epidemic. We did not suffer at the hands of religious bigotry.  We educated and provided needle exchange; and Australia was the only major western country in which the incidents of AIDS fell in the gay community and was never an epidemic in the heterosexual community.

Australia owes much to the Judeo-Christian ethic, but only indirectly, and we have significantly departed from it: e.g. stem cell research (inconsistent with Christian, but not Jewish, ethos); abortion; and same gender relationships.  Democracy is not a product of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Rabbi Gutnick threatens polygamy and incest as the possible result if marriage is broadened.  He must have read the parshah: Abraham had three wives and married his niece!  Each act would be illegal in Australia.

The Judeo-Christian ethic (what Rabbi Ingram calls the conduct of Abraham, being over 6000 years old) allowed and encouraged polygamy (at least one male with more than one wife); it allowed slavery (up to six years); and it permitted Abraham to marry his niece, Issac his cousin, Esau his first cousin, Jacob his first two cousins (through both his mother and father).

Australia has determined that same gender relationships should be legal – they can be recognised as de facto couples. If the Judeo-Christian ethos prevailed, as Rabbi Gutnick suggests, this would not have occurred.

Perhaps same-gender marriages are not, in the Jewish view, made in heaven.  But the Jewish view does not prevail in Australia.  We do not live, thank God, in a theocracy; we live in a democracy.

The only issue is whether a couple legally living together (or who want to) should have the choice of marriage.  This change does not affect Orthodox Judaism, but it does effect true tolerance to those who are currently suffering discriminatory treatment.

And in the end, it’s about treating others as we would want to be treated (or not doing to them that which we would find hateful); everything else is just commentary.

Bondi Junction, NSW

Exceptions to the rights to marry

DICTIONARY definitions of marriage recognise “mutual relation of husband and wife” being “a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family”.

Justice Stephen Rothman (AJN 12/10) regards marriage as a universal rite with rights for all; however, Rabbi Gutnick (AJN 26/10) surely has debunked that assertion by reminding us that incestuous or polygamist marriages are not acceptable so rites and rights have some exceptions.  Why?  Because that is our Judaic tradition.

Respect, love the one’s fellow man, tolerance, diversity, compassion for weaknesses within us all and equal standing before our creator is a sine qua non also contained within our Judaic traditions.  For millennia, during times of upheaval, confusion and bedlam, we have been a light unto the nations and therefore let us not change widely understood definitions of marriage or the teachings of Torah that form the basis of civilised society and family in order to satisfy a vocal interest group.

Bondi Junction, NSW