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Australia’s Progressive movement has paved the way for the country’s first gay Jewish union.

The Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, New Zealand and Asia adopted British guidelines for same-sex ceremonies at its biennial conference held last week in Tasmania.

Council chairman Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins said the English model makes an important distinction between the commitment ceremony and a marriage ceremony.

“The distinction is also necessary for legal reasons, as it conforms with Australian law,” Kamins told the Australian Jewish News.

The guidelines were offered to the Progressive rabbis by Rabbi Mark Solomon, a former Australian rabbi who is part of the British Liberal movement.

The Australian council agreed earlier this year to allow, but not require, its rabbis to conduct same-sex ceremonies.

Delegates from Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand attended the conference in Hobart, the capital of the island, which has a Jewish population of about 100 and is home to the oldest Australian synagogue in use.

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