Marriage equality campaign seeks abolition of religious rights to discrimination

Australia- Exemptions in discrimination law that allow religious institutions such as schools, hospitals and aged care facilities to discriminate against staff and clients based on beliefs should be abolished, said the Equality Campaign.

The Equality Campaign has made the call in a submission to the Ruddock religious freedom review.

These submissions follow a call from Christian Schools Australia and Adventist School Australia for schools to retain the ability to hire and fire teachers and other staff and exclude students based on their beliefs and adherence to religious codes.

The Equality Campaign has also said that the exemptions “go too far”- allowing publicly funded religious social services to “lawfully turn away LGBTI people, single mothers and others where this refusal is in line with the charity’s religious beliefs.”

“Religious exemptions act as a barrier to vulnerable people accessing the support services they need,” it said.

Religious exemption has been a focus in the campaign because of the threat from the Catholic church to sack staff who engaged in same-sex marriage as well as the sacking of a gay teacher in Western Australia.

Co-chair of the Equality Campaign, Alex Greenwich gave evidence to the Ruddock review in a hearing:

“We talked about the fact it’s one thing to have your belief protected and another to target the LGBTI community in discrimination law exemption… which create an environment of fear, which prevent LGBTI people from being their whole self,” he said.

Photo Credit- The Guardian

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