morling college religious school discrimination
Image: Facebook | Morling College.
National, News

Stronger discrimination law urged after lesbian fired from religious college

Australian voters overwhelmingly oppose religious schools having a special right to sack LGBTIQ+ teachers, according to advocates.

Recently, a lesbian teacher at a Baptist college in New South Wales was allegedly fired for becoming engaged to her partner, ABC News has reported.

Just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome said that such action is not supported by most Australians and could not happen in some other states.

“The YouGov Galaxy poll we commissioned three years ago found there is nationwide disapproval of this discrimination,” Croome said.

The 2018 poll found that 79% of voters said that gay and lesbian teachers at religious schools should not be dismissed if they marry a same-sex partner.

Further, 78% said that religious schools should not be entitled to taxpayer funding if they discriminate against LGBTIQ+ teachers and students.

Croome said that the poll results support the call for state and federal governments to outlaw discrimination by religious schools against LGBTIQ+ teachers and students.

“We now have the unacceptable situation whereby it’s legal for LGBTIQ+ partners to marry under federal law but be sacked the next day because of various state laws,” Croome said.

Just.equal has called for a uniform national approach to non-discrimination, calling the Tasmanian model the “gold standard”.

“Tasmania outlawed all discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people by faith-based organisations 21 years ago,” said Croome. 

“All faith-based schools, hospitals, universities, charities, accommodation services, and aged care facilities are prohibited from discriminating against LGBTIQ+ staff, students, and clients.

“In more than two decades, not one religious organisation in Tasmania has claimed that the law has impinged on their religious tenets or undermined their values.”

The YouGov Galaxy poll also found that 82% of voters oppose LGBTIQ+ students being expelled from religious schools.

Before the last federal election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would outlaw discrimination against LGBTIQ+ students in religious schools, but this has not yet occurred. 

“The Australian public want discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people by religious organisations to be prohibited like all other discrimination,” Croome said.

The Morrison Government recently made headlines for supporting a “disgusting” One Nation Senate motion undermining the recognition of gender diversity.

Just.equal has challenged the opposing Australian Labor Party to show its allyship to the LGBTIQ+ community with strong policies ahead of the next election.

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