“Until we all belong”

By Roslyn Sugarman, Head Curator 

As World Pride 2023 approaches, we share the story of the “acceptance” rings of Oscar Shub and Ilan Buchman, from our collection.

By 2017, Australia had become the last Western country that didn’t recognise same-sex marriage. During this time, companies, Airbnb and Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, teamed up to protest the ongoing lack of marriage equality with a wearable symbol of solidarity.

Mirroring that of a wedding band, the Acceptance Ring is broken (with a 2.2mm gap), leaving a void in something that is meant to represent eternity and everlasting love. The incomplete ring, designed by Marc Newson, was a representation of the work that still needed to be done to “close the gap” in marriage equality.

The rings are engraved in the interior with an inscription of acceptance ‘Until we all belong’.

Oscar and Ilan’s acceptance rings; 2018. SJM Collection.

On 9 December 2017, Australia’s Marriage Act 1961 was updated to allow for marriage equality. The passage of the law followed a voluntary postal survey of all Australians, in which 61.6% of respondents supported legalisation of same-sex marriage.

Shortly after, Oscar Shub and Ilan Buchman, who had been together since 1971, set a date to be married. Their ceremony was the first Jewish religious same-sex marriage in Australia. The wedding was performed by Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins at Emmanuel Synagogue on 2 May 2018.

During the ceremony, Ilan and Oscar exchanged Acceptance Rings for traditional, full circle wedding bands.

Ilan Buchman and Oscar Shub under the Chuppah, Emmanuel Synagogue, Sydney, 2 May 2018. Image courtesy Wentworth Courier and photographer Joel Carrett.

Ilan and Oscar met at a dinner party in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1971 and have been together since. They initially settled in South Africa, immigrating to Australia in 1986. Their story is being told in the documentary film Past Continuous by Kineret Hay-Gillor, which is due to be released during World Pride 2023.

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