LGBTIQA+ community urged to write to federal discrimination inquiry
Concern over religious consultation bias
Just.Equal Australia has urged LGBTIQA+ Australians and allies to tell a national inquiry they oppose existing federal laws that allow discrimination against students and staff in religious schools.
Outdated federal legislation allows discrimination based on sexuality, gender identity, pregnancy and marital status.
On Friday the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry released a discussion paper that proposes the removal of special discrimination exemptions that allow religious schools to sack LGBTQA+ teachers or expell LGBTQA+ students.
Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Brian Greig, welcomed the discussion paper and called on LGBTIQA+ people and allies to send in submission.
"We urge those who oppose the detrimental treatment of LGBTIQA+ people to raise their voices for equality in religious schools before the February 24th deadline."
"We also urge people who send in submission to make the point that there should be no indirect discrimination, including loophole discrimination in the name of 'religious ethos', and to call for an end to exemptions for faith-based welfare agencies as well."
"Recent revelations about anti-LGBTIQA+ discrimination and harassment in two Opus Dei schools in Sydney are a reminder why it is vital the law condemns discrimination in fatih-based schools."
"States like Tasmania and Victoria already prohibit all discrimination and the Federal Government should too."
Concern over consultation bias
Mr Greig raised concerns about bias in the consultation that led to the inquiry.
Responding to a question from Greens Senator, Janet Rice, Labor Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, said ten organisations had been consulted about the terms of reference for the inquiry
This included seven religious organisations, only one LGBTIQA+ group and no women's groups.
“The conservative Anglican Diocese of Sydney was consulted despite it not representing the Anglican Church nationally, and the LGBTIQA-friendly Uniting Church was not consulted at all", Mr Greig said.
“The LGBTIQA-friendly Independent Education Union was not consulted, nor were any women’s groups despite the inquiry impacting their rights too."
"This bias reflects in concessions to conservative church leaders such as the ALRC proposal to allow the exclusion of LGBTQA+ students from religious observances."
"We must do all we can to stop any such concession to prejudice."
Just.Equal Australia has written to the Attorney General pointing out that the majority of groups he consulted are not representative of the people harmed by discrimination, nor are they representative of the many faith organisations that oppose discrimination.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Brian Greig on 0407 776 961.