Australian Senators Wish to Preserve Religious “Ethos” in Law Barring LGBTQ Discrimination

I've recently written about the Australian Prime Minister's decision to prohibit religious schools from expelling LGBTQ students and firing teachers based on their sexuality that was created by Australia's Green party. While this is most assuredly a good thing, some people are not happy with it. Most noticeably among the naysayers are Australia's Labor senators who say that this new policy is ultimately negative because they wish for schools to retain their religious "ethos" by allowing expulsion of students and firing of staff based on their sexuality, The Guardian reports.

During a debate on Wednesday, it was revealed that many Labor senators had serious objections to the bill that would protect LGBTQ students and staff members. They object to the bill because while it puts protections in place for LGBTQ individuals, it does not provide assurance that religious schools can retain their ecclesiastical character. 

Because of this objection, the bill may be stalled. The Labor Coalition says that they will create their own bill that would allow for protection for students but not for teachers. So… discrimination is bad against one group but the same exact discrimination is okay for another group? Makes perfect sense.

A labor senator, Jacinta Collins, which is the woman in the picture above, protests the bill as she believes that it's necessary for religious schools "to be run in accordance with their beliefs" and for their parents' religious convictions be honored as their children get an education. She also believes that adding protections for LGBTQ students and staff undermines the beliefs of religious schools and is myopic in regard to factoring in both sides. Collins wants legislation that recognizes that religious schools have policies in place that match their belief system, i.e. not hiring LGBTQ teachers and not allowing discussion of marriage equality.

Simply existing as an LGBTQ shouldn't be a reason for discrimination, but unfortunately it is a reality. Respecting the belief system of religious schools is not incompatible with placing protections for LGBTQ students and staff, as everyone has the right to an education and employment. These protections do not run counter to beliefs in a Christian sense because, as far as I know, the Bible never mentions that LGBTQ people should not be educated or hired. The Labor party will continue to work with parliament to reach an agreement.


h/t: The Guardian

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