Here Are The Aussie Schools That Have Asked To Discriminate Against LGBTQ+ Teachers

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34 Anglican schools in NSW have written a joint letter to federal MPs asking them to protect exemptions that allow religious schools to legally discriminate against LGBTQIA+ students and teachers. The letter follows the introduction of a bill to protect students from discrimination, though protections for teachers are still being discussed. Here's what you need to know.

The Government has recently introduced a new Religious Discrimination Act aimed at protecting the rights of gay students. It has said that protecting students is the priority, while protections for teachers are still being discussed.

The Anglican schools involved in the letter sent to MPs have urged the government to protect exemptions for religious schools, though largely seem more concerned with the issue of teachers rather than students.

Interestingly, in defending their request, the letter claims that Anglican schools are not in the practice of firing LGBTQ+ teachers, or expelling students. However they still ask that the protections to do so, if they did choose to, be upheld.

Is It Legal To Fire Someone For Being Gay?

Discrimination occurs in the workplace when an employer takes adverse action against an employee or prospective employee because of a protected attribute such as sexual orientation.

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"There hasn't been any gay student expelled from an Anglican school in my memory, and there hasn't been a gay staff member sacked from an Anglican School in my memory," Shore Church of England Grammar School's principal Tim Wright said this morning on ABC Radio Sydney. "At interview the question we ask is 'are you able to support the Christian ethos of the school?"

This echoes the wording of the letter sent to MPs, which says "by and large across faith-based schools, the issue at hand is the right to employ staff who support the ethos of the school." It continues: "the current exemptions, however clumsy, in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 are really the only significant legal protections available to schools to maintain their ethos and values with regards to core issues of faith."

However, while it may not always be enforced as such, the current exemptions from discrimination could expose LGBTQ+ teachers to pressures and job insecurity that isn't an issue for their peers.

Here is the list of NSW Anglican schools who signed the letter in question:

And you can download and read the entire letter for yourself here.


What Can You Do?

If you disagree with these schools demanding the right to discriminate against an already vulnerable minority, here's what you can do about it.

If you went to one of the schools on the list, or have a child at the school, get in touch with the school's leadership and make it known that you don't support this course of action. With the schools mentioning the concerns of parents and families as a key reason why they want these rights protected, it's important to make your voice heard as well. Many current and former students are already voicing their objections.

If you're not involved with any of the schools involved, but still disagree with what they're requesting, you can write your own message to your MPs and to Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlining your own point of view, and why you support an end to protected discrimination.


Comments

    Please post the actual letter that these schools have signed so that people can actually read it rather than just spewing out your interpretation which I believe is very simplistic and not really what the letter says.

    Forgive me if i'm wrong but they're just asking that the exception they already have to hire based on "ethos/faith" whatever you want to call it simply stays in place. They've had it for years and shockingly religious schools want to hire religious people.

    To pull out sexuality specifically as the only thing they are targeting is not really true or accurate but to create a sensationalist headline because it's the topic of the day.

      I've added the link to the full letter, though the laws in question are specifically targeting LGBT minorities - they're just arguing that they need those laws to continue hiring based on their ethos/faith.

      They have specified that they only 'need' these laws until better ones are introduced that can protect that faith-based hiring, but wouldn't it be better if they just asked for those laws rather than requesting to keep the discrimination-based ones in place?

    Private Religious schools should have a right to selectively hire staff that adhere to the faith the school is born of, anyone who disagrees with this, is unable to remain objective.

    And for clarification, I am Bi, I am studying to be a Teacher and i understand and accept this will exclude me.

      I think my major issue is that they want to discriminate but also want funding from the taxpayers they discriminate against. So sure, hire whoever you want and discriminate but fully fund yourselves first.

    If its teachers and staff, I can accept the right to hire/fire on faith... but ones sexuality does not exclude them from believing in God, its the church that decides to exclude them.

    Its the right to discriminate against children that is the offensive part that got the public riled up... it makes children potential victims of discrimination and removes their rights as protected citizens under the law.

    We are talking about giving the adults Educators the right, to persecute, discriminate and punish children that are suppose to be in their care and refuse them the human right of an education.

    At a confusing time of puberty when they ask for help understanding their feelings, they risk being faced with scorn and hatred by the people that are suppose to be their educators. Cause politicians gave them the exemption to do so! *urgh!*

    A lot of the churches issues stem from their unhealthy attitude towards sexuality and mental health, this should not be condoned in any fashion.

    There can't be an ethical position for them to be allowed to mentally harm children by placing homophobic Sword of Damocles above their heads if they step out of line and question sexuality. Forcibly removing them from school cause they don't conform to their beliefs on sex (not belief on god)... means they put the Church above god, and put the Church above their roles as educators, and that is wrong!

    With their left hand they want the right to public money to fund them, and with their right hand they want the right to punish children for questioning their sexuality. That does not sit well with any tax paying citizen

      Would you be happy for a school to hire based on other circumstances? If one could argue that they couldn't hire someone of a particular race, sex, etc and this fit within the discrimination law, would you still be fine with it? Not antagonising, just curious what you would and would not tolerate in this case?

    If you disagree with what Lifehacker is doing, ie seeking to discriminate against these schools, please let your MP know too.

      Calling out discrimination is discrimination?

      Better question though is why you and these schools want to hide their prejudice?

      I like that you are basically asking for people to press their politician to stop the free press. It's an interesting argument for one to make.

    They should all stop receiving government money.

      Each child should receive the same amount. That's equality.

        They are being taught by bigots and liars.

        Their education comes first. If that means taking money from religious schools, then that should happen.

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