LGBTIQ advocates will rally in Brisbane on Friday in response to Citipointe Christian College’s anti-LGBT controversy and the Morrison Government’s Religious Discrimination Bill.
Last week, the Brisbane religious school demanded families sign a document denouncing homosexuality and transgender identities just days before students returned to classes.
The school doubled down on the document and claimed it doesn’t discriminate against students. However it caused outrage both within the school and the wider community. The school later backed down and retracted it on Thursday.
On Friday evening, Equal Love Brisbane will hold an anti-discrimination rally from 6pm at King George Square in the Brisbane CBD.
Equal Love convener Sel Dowd said the Citipointe Christian College contract saga “cannot go unchallenged.”
“This kind of bigotry has no place in our society,” Dowd said.
Dowd said it comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushes ahead with the government’s “bigoted” Religious Discrimination Bill.
“We know that students and staff are unhappy at Citipointe,” Dowd said.
“At least two teachers have been sacked from schools in Sydney in the last year due to their sexuality.
“The Bill seeks to give even more institutions the right to discriminate against LGBTIQ people.
“We fought and won marriage equality, and we won’t accept this kind of discrimination any longer.”
Citipointe Christian College principal withdraws contract
Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a third draft of the long-delayed legislation last November.
That draft, widely panned as discriminatory by LGBTIQ groups and law experts, is currently before two parliamentary inquiries. Both are due to report on Friday.
In Brisbane, Citipointe Christian College faced a week of backlash for the contract’s clauses on gender identity and homosexuality.
A Change.org petition against it, created by former Citipointe student Bethany Lau, attracted 155,000 signatures.
On Thursday, principal Brian Mulheran announced the contract would be retracted.
He expressed “deep regret” for the impact on students. He said the school does not discriminate on sexuality or gender identity.
However he added the school will maintain “its Christian ethos” and would continue to provide education “based on our shared beliefs.”
Petition creator says school enrolment saga ‘traumatising’
The creator of the petition, former student Bethany Lau, welcomed the “positive news” of the backdown but said many students.
“[It’s] the first step to ensuring that our schools remain a safe space for all LGBTQI+ students,” she said.
“Unfortunately the actions of Citipointe Christian College are indicative of a much broader issue.
“Whilst many may be celebrating today, the reality is that Citipointe has made it clear that although it is no longer written in the contract, their view on the matter remains fundamentally the same.
“Many students across the nation will be scared to return to school on Monday.
“This contract has traumatised students, parents and the community. We recognise that there is a lot of work to do in supporting these people.”
Lau also took aim at the Morrison Government’s contentious Religious Discrimination Bill.
She said the legislation “aims allow religious institutions to make decisions and statements around sexuality and gender identity that do not uphold the dignity and respect of LGBTQI+ people.”
“Organisations that support the actions of Citipointe Christian College will no doubt be lobbying over the coming weeks given this result,” Lau said.
But the proposed legislation must not allow “discrimination against society’s most vulnerable,” Lau said.
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