In September 2017 a resolution on same-sex marriage was passed overwhelmingly at the Board of Deputies plenum. The Board of Deputies was the first community group to support the referendum on same-sex marriage. The resolution was carefully nuanced so as to protect the rights of Jewish religious institutions.
TEXT of Resolution on same-sex marriage
This meeting of the Plenum of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies:
STRONGLY ASSERTS that Rabbis must continue to be able to conduct marriage ceremonies in accordance with Jewish Law as they see fit.
REJECTS any attempt to impose a belief or value system on the Rabbinate or observant Jews or prescribe to them requirements that are in conflict with Jewish Law.
OBJECTS to any attempt to silence or stifle legitimate and fair minded debate on the issue of marriage equality regardless of the position taken.
REAFFIRMS its commitment to freedom of religious practice and religious education in Australia.
ACKNOWLEDGES that that as a matter of Orthodox Jewish law (halacha), same sex marriage is not permitted.
- The question before Australia at the upcoming postal plebiscite is one relating to civil, not religious, marriage.
- Australian law and society has long allowed for same sex relationships between consenting adults.
- Many Jewish people are already in marriages that are recognised as such under Australian law yet are not recognised in Jewish Law.
- Current laws prohibit persons, other than religious organisations, from discriminating on the basis of homosexuality or gender.
- The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies represents the whole Jewish Community in NSW, including those who are LGBTI and their families, friends and loved ones.
- Many couples in our community who are in committed, loving relationships are unable to have their relationship recognised by the state as a marriage in the same way that committed, loving relationships between heterosexual couples may legally be recognised.
- The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is committed to fighting all forms of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, homosexuality, gender and disability and to supporting all members of our community as they strive for equality under the law.
1.To call on the Federal Government to ensure protections for practice of religious freedom and religious education;
2.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
3.To support equal treatment under Australian law to same sex couples who choose to marry.