As one of Victoria’s largest faith-based not-for-profit community services organisations, Uniting Vic.Tas welcomes the Victoria Government’s reforms to the Equal Opportunity Bill.
The reforms, introduced to the Victorian Parliament today, 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 changes are an important step forward for equality in Victoria, particularly for the LGBTIQ+ community.
“As a large faith-based organisation, we believe this is about fairness, making people feel safe and supported and 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.”