LGBTIQ+ groups release statement in support of Religious Discrimination Bill

Over 50 Australian LGBTIQ+ community organisations have released a joint statement today in support of an affirming Religious Discrimination Act.

The statement publicly pledges support for “protections from discrimination for people of all faiths, and for people who don’t hold religious beliefs, provided these laws do not sanction new forms of discrimination against others.”

Signatories include Bisexual Community Perth, TransFolk of WA, just.equal, Rainbow Territory, ACT LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council and Equality Australia.

“As members of LGBTIQ+ communities, we have seen and experienced firsthand the immense harm discrimination causes. Discrimination has a devastating impact on physical and mental health, and an individual’s sense of acceptance and belonging,” the statement continues.

“We strongly believe that no one should be treated as ‘less than’ because of who you are or what you believe.”

Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown has called on the government to follow through on their federal election promise to deliver a Religious Discrimination Bill, and ensure that the legislation will not take Australia backwards on equality.

“Conservative religious groups, like the Australian Christian Lobby, are trying to use this protection from discrimination as payback for marriage equality,” Brown said.

“But we cannot let their cynical politics divide us when we are seeing the rise of vilification and hate crimes against others, such as Muslim or Jewish Australians.”

“Our anti-discrimination laws should be a shield against discrimination, not a sword to attack others. We call on the Parliament to ensure that protections against religious discrimination cannot be used to harm others or undermine existing anti-discrimination protections.”

“Australians consitently show that we value equality,” Brown continues.

“We saw it in the overwhelming majority who votes YES for marriage equality, including people of faith.”

Porter has been travelling across the country presenting the proposed religious discrimination legislation to colleagues.

Earlier this week the West Australian reported that some of the Attorney General’s parliamentary colleagues had questioned if he would be able to developed suitable legislation because he himself is not religious.

UPDATE SUN 21-07-19 : The groups have released a second statement clarifying their position.

We the undersigned, have signed the Equality Australia community statement in support of religious discrimination protections. We stand in solidarity with the 50+ LGBTIQ+ community groups and allies in opposition to discrimination in all its forms.

The following statement aims to clarify our position on the Government’s proposed religious discrimination legislation:

We oppose all discrimination, including against LGBTIQ+ people, our families, LGBTIQ+ people of faith, and all other people of faith.

We do not endorse the Government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill because we have not seen it. No draft bill or summary has been released, or made publicly available for consultation with the LGBTIQ+ communities.

We remain very concerned that there may be provisions in the Government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill that take away the rights of LGBTIQ+ people.

We are also concerned the Bill may not provide adequate protection for people of faith, including protection from Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of religious vilification.

We urgently request there to be extensive LGBTIQ+ community consultation on the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill in order for LGBTIQ+ advocacy groups and the community to respond to it.

We support a vigorous campaign that opposes any weakening of discrimination protections for LGBTIQ+ people in the name of “religious freedom”.

We believe the best way to ensure everyone’s rights and freedoms are protected is to have a national Human Rights Act.

 

OIP Staff


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