Make voices heard on religious discrimination


religious discrimination just.equal rodney croome

Just.equal urges LGBTI groups to make their views known to the Federal Government on proposed religious discrimination and freedom laws.  Recently, the Government announced a consultation process involving MPs and religious groups.

However, it is not clear if LGBTI groups can participate.

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Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“We have an assurance from the office of Attorney-General, Christian Porter, that LGBTI groups can be part of the consultation.

“We urge LGBTI groups, including faith groups, to contact Mr Porter’s office and ask to participate in the consultation.

“It is vital the Government hears diverse LGBTI community voices, especially those concerned about the potential erosion of LGBTI legal rights in the name of religious freedom.”

Legislative Priorities

On Monday the Government released a summary of its legislative priorities.

Those included religious freedom amendments to existing federal laws regarding marriage, charities and discrimination.

The summary also mentioned the appointment of a religious freedom commissioner.

The proposed legislation would make it, “unlawful to discriminate against people on the grounds of their religious belief or activity.”

Religious belief, as defined, would also include a lack of religious belief.

It would also, “establish the statutory office of the Freedom of Religion Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.”

Further, the bill would, “amend existing Commonwealth legislation relating to freedom of religion, including amendments to marriage law, charities law and objects clauses in existing anti-discrimination legislation.”

Activists fear the proposed amendments might include exemptions which discriminate against LGBTI people and anyone else who falls foul of traditional religious precepts.

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Just.equal were critical of the proposals.

A report in the Sydney Morning Herald mentioned a consultation process with various stakeholders.

However, it made no mention of LGBTI communities.

“Attorney-General Christian Porter is preparing to hold workshops with backbenchers in Canberra this week before consulting churches and others in the weeks ahead to finalise the first version of the bill.”

For a copy of the just.equal statement, or to sign their petition on equal rights,  visit their website.

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