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Advocates unhappy with exemptions

in AUSTRALIA, 25/11/2012

Tasmanian gay rights advocates are unhappy with a proposal to allow religious schools to discriminate against students on the grounds of religion but have welcomed safeguards to ensure discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation will continue to be unlawful. For several years the Catholic Church has sought an exemption to allow it to turn away non-Catholic students from schools that are over-subscribed.

In response, The Tasmanian government has framed a narrow exemption which gives the anti-discrimination commissioner the power to grant a religious exemption to faith-based schools but only in enrolment, only if they are over-subscribed and only for the period of the over-subscription.

To obtain an exemption, schools must actively demonstrate to the commissioner they do not discriminate on other grounds, including sexual orientation and relationship status. Some non-Catholic faith-based schools oppose these strict conditions and want a broader exemption.

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