Australia: LGBTQ advocates blast religious discrimination bill

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Critics claim the bill will reinforce discriminatory hiring practices

Australia introduced controversial legislation to safeguard religious persons from the “cancelculture”.

This would permit Catholic schools, among others, to expel or fire gay students for their “religious faith”.

Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Canada, said that the Religious Discrimination Bill, should it be passed, will provide protections for religious people, and organizations, such churches, in their right to share beliefs.

It is said to be “deeply unbalanced” by critics.

Morrison presented the bill Thursday morning.

The bill, according to Australia’s Human Rights Law Centre, does not “fairly balance equality and freedom of religion.”

The LGBT and Human Rights groups also warned that the law could allow for bigoted opinions to be expressed.

Human rights groups stated that the law permits people to use derogatory, harmful, and threatening comments at work, school, and in health facilities.

Equality Australia, a gay rights advocacy group told the ABC earlier this week: “When… a nurse says to a patient with HIV that their HIV is a punishment by God, for example…[that]Could constitute a statement or belief. This bill would protect the law.

These incidents are not new in Australia. However, victims of discrimination can file a lawsuit. If passed, the law would replace these rights.

Why did this bill get passed?

In recent years, religious discrimination was a central topic in many public discussions. This is especially true after Australia passed same-sex marriage legislation.

The government initiated an inquiry led by conservatives into the possibility that religious groups were being denied their rights to free expression.

The conversation has been sparked by the case of Israel Folau, a rugby player who said on Instagram that hell awaits gay people.

Australian officials were also criticised for giving Margaret Court an Order of Australia honor earlier in the year. Margaret Court has previously publicly expressed anti-gay sentiments.

The honour was not awarded to Canberra by two of the state premiers.

However, Mr Morrison is a Pentecostal Christian who has come to view concerns over discrimination as “cancel-culture”.

On Thursday, he stated that many Australians from different religions are worried about lack of religious protection to counter the prevalence of cancel culture in Australian lives.

“People shouldn’t be persecuted for their differences in beliefs.

Before the bill can be voted on by the Senate upper house, it will likely need to go through a review.

Source: BBC.com

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