Tasmania’s LGBTI community concerned about religious freedom laws

Tasmanian LGBTI advocates are gearing up to defend their state’s strong discrimination laws from any potential federal override under the cover of “religious freedom”.

Equality Tasmania will hold a No Right to Discriminate Rally at 11am on September 7th outside State Parliament in Hobart.

It has also launched a new petition and webform that allows supporters of the state’s discrimination laws to voice their concerns to federal politicians.

Equality Tasmania spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said their state had the best anti-discrimination laws in the country and it was essential they were not watered down by overriding federal legislation.

“Tasmania has the most to lose from federal ‘religious freedom’ legislation because we have the strongest discrimination laws in the nation, including provisions that comprehensively prohibit discrimination by religious organisations against LGBTI people.”

“The rally will hear from a former Catholic school teacher, Olivia Hogarth, and a former Catholic school student, Sam Watson, both of whom have benefitted from Tasmania’s gold-standard laws banning discrimination by faith-based schools.”

“We have also launched a new petition and webmail page allowing anyone who supports Tasmania’s laws to voice their concerns to politicians.”

“The fact that Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act does not allow anti-LGBTI discrimination by faith-based organisations is important for all LGBTI Australians because it sets a high standard other states should aspire to, and because it shows that the sky doesn’t fall in when religious organisations are held to the same standards as everyone else.”

“Tasmania is a model of what Freedom from Discrimination really means and we intend to keep it that way.” Croome said.

The advocates also argue that Tasmania has the nation’s strongest hate speech laws. They prohibit both incitement to hatred and offensive language, with no religious exemption.

The proposed religious discrimination legislation has been approved by cabinet, Attorney General Christian Porter has indicated it will be introduced into parliament shortly. While the legislation has been shown to religious groups the government has not shared it with the opposition and LGBTI groups.

Source: Media Release



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