JCCV backs same sex marriage

THE Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) has voted to support same-sex marriage and called on the Federal Government to eliminate discrimination against same-sex couples.

The resolution passed on Monday night “notes that the question before Australia at the upcoming postal survey is one relating to civil, not religious, marriage”, “supports same sex marriage under civil law as part of its commitment to equal rights and respect for all people and the elimination of discrimination in all its forms” and “urges all participants in the public debate regarding same sex marriage to engage with respect and tolerance, and without personal rancour”.

It also resolved to “call on the Federal Government 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”,”to support equal treatment under Australian law to same sex couples who choose to marry” and “to call on its members and the wider community to take part in the postal survey and help ensure that the basic right to marriage is afforded to all Australians regardless of their gender or sexuality in order to create a modern, fair and just society”.

At the organisation’s monthly plenumt, 41 people representing 25 affiliates voted in favour of the motion, with four abstentions.

Fourteen people spoke in favour of the motion proposed by the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Victoria) and seconded by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, while two people spoke against the JCCV passing a motion on same-sex marriage, but not against same-sex marriage itself.

“JCCV has been working very hard in the area of inclusion for Jewish members of the community who identify at LGBTI for a number of years,” the body’s president Jennifer Huppert said.

“This is one further step and relates to same sex civil marriage and the view of the JCCV, and the plenum, is that this is a human rights issue and consistent with our commitment to human right and equality.”

Huppert said she is personally in favour of same-sex marriage and the motion sent a clear message of equality.,

“There were some people who said they didn’t think that it was an appropriate matter to be dealt with by the plenum, but the debate was very respectful and positive.”

NCJWA Victoria president Miriam Bass hailed the overwhelming support for the motion as “really gratifying”.

“This is about doing what is right because we have a duty to all out discrimination when we see it,” Bass said.

“This is what we felt we had to do to join with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, who recently passed a similar motion, and state what is right.

Bass said that NCJWA made its own statement last month and the response was overwhelming.

“We had something like 57 good comments and only one negative, and that was from someone that wasn’t a member of NCJWA.

“I think the way it was done at the JCCV was good because it came from the community, not the JCCV executive.”

LGBTI advocacy and support group Aleph Melbourne congratulated the JCCV on passing the resolution.

“That the motion was voted on without opposition, by a significantly larger than normal number of delegates, speaks volumes to the importance equality means to the Jewish community,” the organisation said in a statement.

“By supporting marriage equality the JCCV sends a message to all Victorian Jews, and the wider community, that no matter a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status, their relationships are valued equally and should be afforded equal dignity.”

For further coverage, see this week’s AJN.

JOSHUA LEVI