Jewish body backs LGBTI protections

Jewish body backs LGBTI protections

The new head of the Anti-Defamation Commission, a Jewish organisation combatting anti-semitism and racism, said he supported the inclusion of LGBTI people in proposed anti-discrimination laws. However, the commission is yet to form a stance on marriage equality.

Dr Dvir Abramovich was elected as chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) last month, taking over from former chairman Anton Block.

Last week, Abramovich announced the commission’s support for the federal government’s proposed Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Bill 2012.

In a letter to federal Attorney General Nicola Roxon, the ADC congratulated the government on the proposed changes and the inclusion of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people as a grounds for complaint.

“The ADC considers that the Anti-discrimation and Human Rights Bill 2012 is proposed legislation that seeks to include all Australians,” he wrote.

The new chairman told the Star Observer the ADC supported the inclusion of LGBTI people in the proposed anti-discrimination laws.

“Yes, we support the inclusion of protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” Abramovich said.

“The ADC has always opposed any form of bigotry, prejudice or hatred of anyone on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity and will fight for individual liberty and freedom from discrimination for all Australians.”

On same-sex marriage, the chairman said the new board did not have a position on it. But he said the new management team would be drafting policies on various issues next year which may include marriage equality.

Aleph Melbourne convenor Michael Barnett (pictured) said he would like to see the ADC take all complaints from LGBTI people seriously.  Barnett said he invited the new president to have a conversation with the community on Jewish LGBTI issues.

In April 2011, the ADC board passed a motion recognising issues in the LGBT Jewish community.  The motion to include LGBT issues as part of the organisation’s overall agenda was unanimously passed, although the ADC chairman at the time, Anton Block, said it was more a ‘recognition’ than a formal resolution.

“Dealing with GLBT discrimination is part of, I suppose, our purpose of promoting human rights, speaking out against homophobia or vilification of members of the GLBT community,” Block said last year.

The ADC is a Jewish communal organisation based in Melbourne.

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