A Brisbane rally opposing anti-discrimination exemptions for religious groups in the name of “religious freedom” will be held this weekend.
The rally will call on the Morrison government not to “further entrench and broaden discrimination” with new “religious freedom” laws.
“Discrimination cannot be tolerated under the guise of religious belief or any other basis,” the organisers said.
After a rally in Sydney earlier this month, the Brisbane event will be held in Queens Gardens on Saturday (August 17) from 1pm.
Speakers at the rally will include PFLAG spokesperson Shelley Argent and Anglican Minister Jo Inkpin, as well as transgender activists and high school students concerned about “religious freedom” legislation.
Shelley told QN Magazine, “After marriage equality was achieved, the right-wing of the government decided Christian rights were at risk.
“A religious review chaired by Phillip Ruddock was held, and it found there was very little of concern to Christians.
“But now LGBTIQ people and their supporters fear religious groups and businesses large and small, will soon be given the right to refuse any retail service, healthcare or employment just because their clients, customers or staff are LGBTIQ.”
Activist and rally organiser Johnny Valkyrie told QN Magazine any bid to undermine existing legal protections for the LGBTIQ community must be opposed.
“We will resist every single attempt to remove, undermine, weaken and delegitimise the protections and freedoms hard earned by our community throughout history,” he said.
“Historically, there were faith organisations that banned people of colour from their places of worship on the grounds of ‘religious freedom,'” he said.
“Today, this is unthinkable. The similarities are obvious.
“We will never stop the fight for recognised and legislated equality.”
Government plans to introduce religious discrimination bill
Attorney-General Christian Porter is expected to introduce an as-yet-unseen Religious Discrimination Act before the end of the year.
But conservative MPs have also publicly advocated for broader laws.
An unseen “omnibus” bill addressing recommendations from the Ruddock “religious freedom” review has also concerned advocates. Equality Australia has warned the legal detail of the bill may undermine federal marriage equality.
‘We need to change the conversation around religious freedom’
Anglican priest Father Rod Bower told the Sydney rally that those pushing for “religious freedom” laws did not represent the majority view of Australian Christians.
“When you endured that dreadful plebiscite the majority of Christians supported you. They said yes,” he told the crowd on August 3.
“Now we are going to have a debate about so-called religious freedom.
“But you need to know, and especially vulnerable young LGBTIQ people need to know, that the Australian Christian Lobby does not represent Christians in this land.
“We need to change the conversation around this because religious freedom is not about discrimination. To be truly religiously free is to be free from the need to discriminate.”
LGBTIQ advocates will also hold anti-discrimination rallies in Perth on August 24, and Melbourne and Canberra on August 31.
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