Religious discrimination exemption rejected in Tasmania
LGBT advocates in Tasmania have welcomed the move by the State Parliament to vote down a proposal that would have allowed religious schools to discriminate against students based on religious grounds.
For several years the Catholic church in Tasmania had been seeking to reject any non-Catholic students who are applying to enrol when the school is over-subscribed.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome said the proposed changes to the Anti-Discrimination Act could have allowed religious school to discriminate against LGBT students.
“Our concern is that if church schools are given the right to discriminate against students on the grounds of religion they could use this as a cover to discriminate against students on other grounds like their sexual orientation or their parent's relationship status,” he said.
“We welcome the vote not to include this unnecessary and damaging exemption in the Anti-Discrimination Act.”
The proposal was voted down by the Greens and the Liberals, however, the vote by the Liberals was under the belief that the exceptions for religious schools were not broad enough.
“Those faith-based schools that are concerned about the failure of this exemption can blame the hardline dogmatism of a few church schools representatives and the Liberal Party,” Croome said.
During the debate on the Anti-Discrimination Act changes other amendments were passed to give greater protection to transgender and intersex people.
“Fair-minded Tasmanians can take pride in the fact that we are the first place in Australia to explicitly protect intersex people from discrimination,” Croome said.
“Tasmania is yet again leading Australia in fostering a fairer and more inclusive society.”