Religious review proposes to make permanent religious schools to turn away LGBTI teachers and students
In the words of Fairfax Media:
“The report calls for the federal Sex Discrimination Act to be amended to allow religious schools to discriminate against students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status – something some but not all states already allow.”
The proposed step would be a step backwards for LGBTI students. For example, in the ACT there is no exemption for discrimination against LGBTI students. Section 46 of the Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT) provides:
“Section 18 does not make unlawful discrimination on the ground of religious conviction in relation to a failure to accept a person’s application for admission as a student at an educational institution that is conducted solely for students having a religious conviction other than that of the applicant.
Note The Legislation Act
, dict, pt 1 defines fail to include refuse.”
Therefore while a Catholic school could refuse to admit for enrolment a Muslim student, it cannot refuse to enroll (or discriminate against the student at school) a student who is a Catholic, but happens to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex.
However the panel:
“… did not accept that businesses should be allowed to refuse services on religious grounds, warning this would “unnecessarily encroach on other human rights” and “may cause significant harm to vulnerable groups”.
The review does not recommend any changes to the Marriage Act. Nor does it recommend a dedicated Religious Freedom Act – championed by several major Christian churches – which would have enshrined religious organisations’ exemptions from anti-discrimination laws.
“Specifically protecting freedom of religion would be out of step with the treatment of other rights,” the report found.”