Put a Marriage Equality statement in your wedding ceremony. It’s important and it’s easy to do.
My husband Gregory and I went to Canberra for the wedding of our friends Melanie and Ari on December 7 2014. That day was also the first anniversary of same-sex marriages being temporarily legalised in the Australian Capital Territory.
Ari invited me to deliver a message of Marriage Equality at the wedding, as a friend of his who is an activist for marriage equality and as a man who was recently married to a man in New Zealand. I was honoured to have been asked and without hesitation I accepted.
Ari and Mel object to the Federal government’s refusal to legislate in favour of Marriage Equality in Australia and they, along with an increasing number of opposite-sex couples, are incorporating statements of protest in their wedding ceremonies.
I read the following statement:
Speech for Mel & Ari’s wedding – December 7 2014
Today… the celebrant will declare as a requirement that marriage is the coming together of a woman and a man. Just remember that as these mandatory words are said today my husband Gregory and I stand in defiance of them.
I know Mel and Ari would rather this formality was not part of the proceedings. So rather than let it diminish the occasion, I’m going to treat the clause as a gift from the government, to mark a point in time where we all aspired for greater freedom, equality, dignity and humanity. When the discrimination in the law is erased and marriage is available to all, this will be a memento of the sweet success of that win.
I’m grateful for the friendship Gregory and I have with these two fine people, about to be married here today. We value the respect they have for our relationship and without hesitation we deeply respect theirs. As different as we may be individually, we share a love for our respective partners and in that, our relationships are truly equal.
If you’re attending a wedding between a woman and a man in Australia, ask the bride or groom if they’ve planned a Marriage Equality statement for their ceremony. If they haven’t, send them this article and suggest they do it, in the name of equality. It’s important, and it’s too easy.
The new president of the Canberra Jewish Community, Professor Kim Rubenstein, brings exceptional gender and law skills to the role. Hopefully she will be extremely well placed to work on breaking down barriers and working toward greater GLBT inclusiveness and acceptance.
Announced on J-Wire today:
Professor Kim Rubenstein has been elected president of the Canberra Jewish Community.
Professor Rubenstein has served as the community’s Vice President over the past year. She is Professor and Director of the Centre for International and Public Law at the Australian National University, and also Convenor of the ANU Gender Institute.
ANU is delighted that Professor Kim Rubenstein, Director of the Centre for International and Public law in the ANU College of Law will be the inaugural Convenor of the exciting new ANU Gender Institute.
ANU Gender Institute Members, Peter Bailey (Professor, ANU College of Law) and Fiona David (Visiting Fellow, ANU College of Law) made a submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s consultation on protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, sex and/or gender identity.
With leadership of the calibre of Prof. Kim Rubenstein, the Canberra Jewish Community is extremely well placed to work on breaking down barriers and working toward greater GLBT inclusiveness and acceptance.
On July 27, 2011 I asked the president of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Jewish Community, Manny Waks, if his organisation could adopt a motion supporting respect for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people in his local community. Within a few hours the response was that he would indeed pursue this initiative.
Just a few hours ago I received the following message from Manny Waks:
I’m pleased to advise you that the GLBT Motion was passed at last night’s ACT Jewish Community’s Board meeting.
This is excellent news. The Canberra Jewish Community now joins the NSW and Victorian Jewish communities in their attempts to promote a more respectful and accepting environment for GLBT people. See above for the policy wording.
I truly hope that these words can be turned into positive actions over the coming months and years. Whilst there are significant hurdles to be overcome before homosexuality and bisexuality are considered remotely acceptable by Orthodox Judaism, it’s policies like these that will send the message that it’s unacceptable to treat people disrespectfully or in a discriminatory manner because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.