Citipointe warns teachers about expressing homosexuality

Citipointe

Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College is back in the news after it was revealed the school has introduced new employment contracts for teachers that warns them against being openly homosexual, having non-monogamous relationships or conducting intimate acts outside of marriage.

The school says the wording of it’s staff contracts is now under review, but the move comes a month after there was condemnation of the school’s ‘Statement of Faith’ which asked parents and students to commit to the belief that students could not be transgender, and homosexual acts were immoral.

The Guardian obtained a copy of the school’s agreement for teachers which was dated February 2022, after the school has withdrawn it’s controversial policy for students. It was signed by the school’s Acting Principal Ruth Gravestein.

“It is a genuine occupational requirement of the college that the employee not act in a way he knows, or ought reasonably to know, is contrary to the religious beliefs of the college,” the document reportedly says.

“Nothing in his/her deliberate conduct should be incompatible with the intrinsic character of their position, especially, but not only, in relation to the expression of human sexuality through heterosexual, monogamous relationships, expressed intimately through marriage.

“Your failure to abide by such requirements expressed in the above clauses could constitute a breach of your employment contract and subsequent dismissal.”

The legality of the documents has been questioned by Queensland’s LGBTI Legal Service.

“My legal opinion is that this contract is likely to be found unlawful under Queensland anti-discrimination laws,” said Matilda Alexander from the LGBTI legal service.

“It seeks to prohibit conduct that is not in connection with the workplace by stopping an employee acting in a way that is contrary to the religious beliefs of the college, whether or not this is done openly.

“It changes the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ mantra to ‘don’t do it’.

“This is far beyond the power of any employer in Queensland. We all have the right to attend work and pursue our own personal lives outside of work, even if working for a religious school.” Alexander said.

Just Equal calls for school’s funding to be cancelled

Just.Equal Australia has called on the Federal and Queensland governments to strip Citipointe College of its public funding.

Spokesperson, Brian Greig, said there had to be consequences for school’s who ignore discrimination laws.

“Religious schools cannot continue to defy discrimination laws and public opinion, and expect to receive public funding.”

“There comes a limit where taxpayers should no longer be expected to fund bigotry, and Citipointe has reached that limit.” Greig said.

“We call on the Federal and Queensland governments to withdraw all public funding for Citipointe College until it can show it respects the laws of the governments that fund it and the inclusive attitudes of the everyday Australians who pay.”

Queensland law prohibits discrimination against LGBTIQ+ staff and students in faith-based schools.

In 2018, polling by YouGov Galaxy found that 78% of voters believe that religious schools should not be entitled to taxpayer funding if they discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender teachers and students. Its polling in February this year found that 62% of voters opposed schools discriminating sagainst LGBTIQ+ teachers.

Greig also called on both major parties to support federal discrimination potections for LGBTIQ+ staff in faith-based schools and other organisations.

“Existing LGBTIQ+ discrimination protections in places like Tasmania and the ACT have not prevented faith-based schools from operating according to their religious ethos.”

“It’s time such protections were adopted nationally.”

“Ahead of the federal election, we will campaign for both major parties to show stronger support for such protections.” Greig said.

In the lead up to the election the Morrison has promised to pass a Religious Discrimination Bill, but argued that provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act that do allow for discrimination against same-sex attracted students at a federal level would need to wait until at least six months after the bill’s passage.

The bill was shelved after it became clear that too many of the government’s own members would not support the legislation.

OIP Staff


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