Uniting Vic.Tas, one of Victoria and Tasmania’s largest community services providers, fully supports the equal opportunity legislation which will be introduced by the Victorian Government later this year.
The reforms will make it unlawful for religious organisations and schools to discriminate against employees and consumers because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or other protected attributes.
Under the planned changes, religious-based organisations that receive government funding to provide services, such as Uniting Vic.Tas, will not be able to refuse to provide those services based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Uniting Vic.Tas CEO Bronwyn Pike said fairness and equality is at the heart of the everything the organisation does.
“We provide safe and fully inclusive, nondiscriminatory and welcoming environments which celebrate the diversity of our employees and consumers,” Ms Pike said.
“We believe every person has the right to be who they are and enjoy freedom of thought, expression, conscience, religion and belief.
“However, expression of religion and belief shouldn’t harm or demean others and it shouldn’t be automatically privileged over other rights, such as the right of a person to determine their own sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Nobody should have to hide who they are or pretend they’re somebody they’re not to keep their job or to receive the vital support services we provide to vulnerable people right across Victoria every day.
“These changes strike the right balance between freedom of religion and equality, particularly for the LGBTIQ+ community.
“We think the proposed new laws are an important step forward for equality in Victoria, protecting people from discrimination and supporting the rights of religious organisations to practice their faith.”