Monday, October 19, 2009

"Church can reject gays, single mums"

From The Age (a newspaper lol).

It's a couple weeks old but we were discussing it at my 'gay youth group' today.

Gay rights advocates have criticised slated changes to Victoria's equal opportunity laws that will continue to allow religious organisations to discriminate against gays and single parents.

State Attorney-General Rob Hulls says a new Equal Opportunity Bill will be introduced into parliament next year.

Under the changes, religious groups will no longer be able to discriminate on the grounds of race, disability, age, physical features, political belief or breastfeeding.

But they can continue to discriminate on grounds including sexuality or marital status if it is in accordance with their beliefs.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome says the right to employment and education is more important than pandering to religious prejudice.

"Too often this issue is seen as gay rights versus religious freedom when, in fact, it is about the right to a job you're qualified for, to attend the school of your choosing and to receive essential services," he said.

Australian Christian Lobby director Rob Ward said some of the options canvassed as part of a review of exemptions to the Equal Opportunity Act, had they been implemented, would have had serious repercussions for churches, religious schools and church-related organisations.

"Faith-based groups throughout Victoria have been united in their strong concern about a number of the options being looked at as they would have undermined the very core of these bodies by preventing them from upholding their beliefs in terms of who they employ and, therefore, how they operate," he said.

"It is good to see the Victorian government respecting those concerns and the basic right to religious freedom in this state."

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission chief executive Helen Szoke said the proposed revamp of the law was a positive step towards a better balance between religious freedom and anti-discrimination.

She said she was pleased religious bodies would soon have to demonstrate how employing someone of a particular religion was an inherent requirement of a job.

"Religious schools or religious charities, for example, will have to show how belonging to a particular religion is relevant to the job they are trying to fill," Dr Szoke said.

"In the case of religious education teachers or chaplains, this will be clear. However, in the case of office staff or the maths teacher it will need to be made explicit how religion is relevant to the job."

The review of the Equal Opportunity Act was conducted by parliament's Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee.


Micky said...

When you read the last bit from the equality commission person it looks like this is a first step which can be taken against the religious bigots.

I guess it leaves you as unhappy as it leaves me that they will still be free to promote their brand of homophobia. It makes it all the most important for us to stand up and shout back!

Aek said...

Interesting . . . I wonder how that will pan out. It seems to be introducing a lot of complications just to appease one side or the other. :-/

Seth said...

Complications to appease one side or the other seems to be the name of the game here, and there.

But I agree with the statement about equal rights in employment and education, long before religious issues.

cvn70 said...


its a different approach then we have here as far as using equal rights but in both contries we are struggling to have equal rights

im glad your youth group discusses these issues

take care and be safe


naturgesetz said...

It seems to me that everything a religious group does should ultimately be an expression of their beliefs. For the state to be saying, "Your beliefs have no bearing on what you are doing here — they are irrelevant to this activity," shows a complete lack of understanding of what religious groups are. I'm glad Victoria isn't following that particular path of incomprehension at this point.

ithaca said...

I'd have thought that any group using taxpayers' money is required to abide by the law, whether they agree with it or not. Don't like the law, don't take the money.

Mirrorboy said...

So because we don't like a law we should close down our group? Because i don't like the anti-abortion laws in our country should i not be a part of the group? Because we don't like that same sex marriage isn't legal, we should quit our gay youth group? Pretty dumb logic, mate. Anyways, this so-called 'taxpayers' money' is barely enough to keep us running, and cuts off anyway in a couple of years.