EOC hears of discrimination over same-sex marriage

Western Australia’s Equal Opportunity Commission has released its annual report and revealed that since the introduction of marriage equality they’ve had to deal with several discrimination complaints.

The commission received 475 complaints in the last year, and 97.7% of resolved within 12 months of the submission being lodged. Following changes to the marriage laws, the commission is now also hearing complaints of discrimination in this area.

One case documented in the annual reportĀ  tells of a woman who decided to include decorative displays at her post wedding reception.

She alleged sexual orientation discrimination when a company she contacted about the decorative display declined to provide a service because the business owner objected to same sex marriages on
religious grounds.

The outcome of the complaint was the respondent apologised for the hurt she caused and agreed to review the words she used when speaking to same sex marriage participants and agreed to get
legal advice on how people can be treated fairly and in a non-discriminatory way.

This complaint was one of five related to sexual orientation that were received in the 2018-19 period.

Last year Perth photographer Jason Tey was called to appear before the State’s Administrative Tribunal after he told a same-sex couple that wanted to engaged his services that he was opposed to same sex marriage, and recommended they engage a different company. The complaint was withdrawn before it was heard.

The AUstralian Christian Lobby have claimed that Tey’s case is an example of why greater protection is needed for religious beliefs in Australian law.

OIP Staff