Rainbow Families Asks For Your Say For Religious Freedom Review

Advocacy group Rainbow Families have called for LGBTIQ people and their families to have their say in a submission to the federal government’s religious freedom review.

The review, headed by former Howard Government minister Philip Ruddock will examine “whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to religious freedom” following the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in December.

“Freedom of religion is an expressed right already contained within s116 of the Australian Constitution, prohibiting the Government from enacting legislation that prohibits the free exercise of religion,” the group said.

“Some organisations – such as religious schools – already have exemptions from anti-discrimination laws that mean they can fire people for being gay or lesbian, or refuse to enroll students who have LGBTIQ parents.

“Opponents of marriage equality now want additional rights to refuse services – such as photographers, venues or even cakes – to LGBTIQ people who are getting married.

“Rainbow Families strongly disagrees that service providers should be able to refuse services to LGBTIQ people and our families.

“The most powerful way for us to influence policy decisions is to tell our stories.”

The group has set up a survey asking for the LGBTIQ community’s thoughts on religious exemptions and discrimination. You can have your say anonymously via the group’s webform here.

Standalone submissions to the review will be accepted until February 14 and can be made through the online form on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website here.

Other members of the review’s expert panel include Human Rights Commissioner Rosalind Croucher, Federal Court Judge Annabelle Bennett, University of Queensland constitutional law professor Nicholas Aroney and Jesuit priest Father Frank Brennan.

The panel is due to deliver its findings by March 31, but last month Ruddock indicated it may require more time.

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