A Sydney couple married last night in what could be Australia’s first legal religious same-sex wedding.
Oscar Shub and Ilan Buchman were wed at Emanuel Synagogue in Woollahra.
“It is a great privilege for us to feature in the Star Observer and being able to reach out to all gay readers,” said Buchman.
“We were thrilled to make our small contribution to marriage equality and to the broader Jewish community with the hope that other religious groups will follow this historic event.”
The couple have been together for 47 years before finally being able to marry.
“I feel that after years of discrimination we have a duty to ease the passage for the young generation of LGBTI people who are coming out to be accepted by their communities,” said Shub.
Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins told the Star Observer he felt privileged to have conducted the ceremony.
“It was an incredible honour and privilege, on behalf of Emanuel Synagogue, to officiate at the first same-sex ceremony under the legislation,” he said.
“Emanuel Synagogue is a pluralist congregation, including the Masorti, Progressive and Renewal streams of Judaism, all of whom have advocated for marriage equality in Australia.
“We’ve been advocating for marriage equality for decades, and we have the full support of our congregation.
“It’s an auspicious time in Australian history.
“We look forward to more ceremonies in the coming months.”
Rabbi Kamins said that Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio, who was a strong long-term advocate for marriage equality, will conduct another same-sex marriage at the synagogue in June.
Earlier this year, Emanuel Synagogue also hosted the wedding vow renewal ceremony of Dr Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker-Phelps, who had previously legally married overseas.
“It was pretty much what I wanted since I was a little girl,” Stricker-Phelps told The Australian Jewish News in January.
“I always wanted to get married in a synagogue with a rabbi and that was what I grew up expecting would happen, until I realised that I was gay and I was obviously quite distressed when I realised that I could not get married.”
Stricker-Phelps said it was “incredibly meaningful” to have been able to renew her vows at the synagogue, seven years after legally marrying in New York.
“As religious leaders, we do not see any contradiction between marriage equality and freedom of religion,” said Rabbi Kamins.
He added that the congregation—Australia’s largest—includes many LGBTI people, and all are welcome regardless of faith.
“Celebration of diversity is behind our community growing,” Rabbi Kamins said.
“We welcome people, whether they’re Jews or not Jews, who support our values and vision.”