Adelaide Christian school defends its ban on hiring gay teachers

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A religious school in Adelaide, Southern Vales Christian College, has defended its policy banning the hiring of gay teachers.

The school stipulates in an information pack for prospective employees that anyone same-sex attracted won’t be hired, 9News has reported.

“Our beliefs are such that we do not accept that homosexuality is appropriate,” the document says.

The document also goes on to declare the school wouldn’t employ anyone identifying as LGBTIQ.

The school’s principal told 9News they were committed to upholding “the values of its Christian faith and always aims to employ people who hold the same beliefs”, as reflected in the policy.

Equality Australia told the broadcaster the school’s policy is legal. Current laws allow religious schools and other organisations to discriminate in employment.

“You can empathise with a young person sitting in a classroom, whose own school is saying, ‘We don’t want you to work here,'” spokesperson Ghassan Kasseisieh said.

The Adelaide school has ties with the nearby Harvest Church.

The church believes homosexuality is “contrary to God’s order” and “a perversion of the natural order and believers cannot enter into it.”

Teacher speaks out about sacking from Christian school

Recently, teachers legally sacked from Christian schools for being gay have shone light on existing discrimination exemptions for religious organisations.

A teacher at a separate Sydney Christian school who was legally sacked after coming out spoke out earlier this month.

Steph Lentz, raised as a conservative Protestant, came out as gay later in life. She told her bosses at the school she worked at, who then let her go.

“I felt that in the spirit of integrity and to honour the agreement I was under, I informed the school,” she said.

“[My view] that it’s okay to be gay, God doesn’t have a problem with it [and] Christian schools need queer people of faith to be models for students and families.

“But that didn’t gel with the school I was teaching at.”

She added, “Students need to know it’s okay to be who they are.

“There is no barrier to being fully who they are, and belonging in a community of faith.”

Lentz said she was sharing her story in light of the Morrison government’s controversial Religious Discrimination Bill.

Before the end of the year, Attorney-General Michaelia Cash plans to unveil a new draft of the long-delayed legislation.

Lentz said she hopes politicians “carefully consider the human impact of the decisions they make” around the Religious Discrimination Bill.

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