As one of Victoria’s largest faith-based not-for-profit community services organisations, Uniting Vic.Tas, we’re extremely disappointed there is not unanimous support for the Victoria Government’s proposed reforms to the Equal Opportunity Act (Religious Exceptions Bill).
The reforms would make it illegal for faith-based organisations to discriminate against employees because of sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
Faith-based organisations that receive government funding to provide services would also not be allowed refuse access to those services based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Uniting Vic.Tas CEO Bronwyn Pike said the proposed changes would be a step forward for equality in Victoria, particularly for the LGBTIQ+ community.
“This is an issue that should be above politics – it’s about respect, fairness and equality,” Ms Pike said.
“As a large faith-based organisation, we believe in fairness, making people feel safe and supported and giving people equal rights
“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. Nobody should be discriminated against because of their sexuality.
“We fully support the Government’s proposed changes to the Bill which we believe strike the right balance between protecting people from discrimination and supporting the rights of religious organisations to practice their faith.
“Every person has the right to be who they are and enjoy freedom of thought, expression, conscience, religion and belief and the right to determine their own sexual orientation, their gender, their marital status and who they are.
“The proposed changes to the Bill would protect all of these freedoms and make sure they can’t be used to harm or demean others or discriminate against them – that’s why these it’s so important.”