Laws that are already oppressive are not oppressive enough for them
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 said 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 is 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."
Posted by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here