Uniting Vic.Tas welcomes the decision by the Victorian Parliament to introduce the Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Bill into law.
The Bill will now make it illegal for faith-based organisations to discriminate against employees because of sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
Religious-based organisations that receive government funding to provide services, including Uniting Vic.Tas, will also no longer be able to refuse to provide those services based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identify.
Uniting Vic.Tas CEO Bronwyn Pike said the changes are an important step forward for equality in Victoria, particularly for the LGBTIQ+ community.
“This is about fairness, making everybody feel safe and supported, giving everybody equal rights,” Ms Pike said.
“We believe these new laws strike the right balance between protecting people from discrimination and supporting the rights of religious organisations to practice their faith.
“Nobody should have to hide who they are or pretend they’re somebody they’re not to keep their job or receive the help they need.
“Every person has the right to be who they are and enjoy freedom of thought, expression, conscience, religion and belief. These laws will make sure these freedoms can’t be used to harm or demean others.
“We believe in providing safe and fully inclusive, nondiscriminatory and welcoming workplaces – it’s integral to who we are.
“Everybody has the right to determine their own sexual orientation, their gender, their martial status and who they are, and these laws will protect that.”