gay_jewishAustralasian progressive Jewish representative body the Union for Progressive Judaism has issued a statement in support of last week’s repeal of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the United States, effectively allowing same-sex marriage in some parts of the country.

The statement by the Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ) applauded the move towards equality, calling for similar change in Australia.

“Today’s decisions by the US Supreme Court represent a historic and positive step towards justice and equality for same sex couples,” said the statement from UPJ President Stephen Freeman and Executive Director Steve Denenberg.

“The UPJ believes that this decision supports the call for marriage equality to be accepted in Australia in order that same-sex couples receive the respect, rights, and recognition that they deserve. We believe that these decisions are a victory not just for the LGBT community but for all who value equality and fairness in our society.”

This statement follows a decision by rabbis involved in the UPJ to allow same-sex commitment ceremonies between Jewish people to be performed in synagogues as early as 2007, and a call in 2011 is support of marriage equality in Australia. Last year the UPJ put forward a submission to the Senate during the failed marriage equality vote in September.

Co-convener of LGBTI Jewish group Aleph Melbourne Michael Barnett told Star Observer the UPJ set a high standard for religious groups to support socially progressive causes.

“There’s this relatively small but strong community that’s actively getting behind human rights and social justice and that type of issue,” he said.

“I think they set a pretty high benchmark for the rest of the community, whether it be the Christian community or other faith communities, where they perhaps haven’t been as vocal or haven’t been as united or haven’t been as progressive.

“This is really good to hear—not all religious organisations are backwards, they’re not all digging heels in and being problematic.”

In May this year the World Union of Progressive Judaism passed a resolution in support of marriage equality, and in support of the rights of LGBTI people.

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