Australia: Marriage equality campaign seeks abolition of religious rights to discriminate

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, the Equality Campaign has said. The Equality Campaign, which prosecuted the case for marriage equality in the postal survey campaign, has made the call in a submission to the Ruddock religious freedom review.

The submissions follow a call from Christian Schools Australia and Adventist Schools 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 said that the cross-party same-sex marriage bill, which passed in December, “struck a fair balance and should not be revisited” and called on the review to reject proposed amendments in the rival conservative Paterson same-sex marriage bill.

The Equality Campaign said religious exemptions allowing discrimination in employment, education and delivery of goods and services should be repealed. 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”. Read more via the Guardian