Churches, schools fear anti-discrimination changes

Churches, schools fear anti-discrimination changes, by Rebecca Urban.

Religious institutions and free-speech advocates have condemned a bid by the Northern Territory government to “modernise” anti-discrimination laws, describing proposed changes as a significant threat to religious freedom.

Faith-based schools would be stripped of their ability to hire teachers who adhere to their beliefs and banned from excluding prospective students who are not of a particular religion, with existing religious exemptions to the NT Anti-Discrimination Act on the chopping block.

The proposed reforms also include scrapping traditional definitions of “man” and “woman” and replacing the term “parenthood” with “carer responsibilities” and “marital status” with “relationship status”. …

The only area in which religious groups would be permitted to discriminate would be in relation to the training and ordination of clergy, the education of religious sisters and brothers and roles in liturgical settings. …

Whatever happened to freedom of association?

Coalition for Marriage spokesman Lyle Shelton said the paper confirmed the fears of those worried about the implications of taking gender out of marriage. “The Australian public is being told that their freedoms won’t be affected with a change to the marriage law,” he said. “But already the Northern Territory is positioning itself to take away protections of speech, religion and association.”

hat-tip Stephen Neil