WORLD Vision Australia has issued a statement today that re-affirmed its pro-LGBTI workplace policies and differentiated the organisation from its US counterpart following the criticism the latter faced when it reversed an inclusiveness policy.

Midway through last week, the US branch of World Vision announced a workplace policy that would’ve allowed openly-LGBTI job seekers with the appropriate qualifications to apply for jobs. However, it was soon reversed.

According to World Vision US president Richard Stearns in a statement to Associated Press, the initial policy change had caused numerous major donors and other prominent supporters to threaten to withhold their support for the organisation’s child support, education and welfare programs if they didn’t revert back to their initial policy of requiring celibacy outside of marriage and maintaining “faithfulness within the Bible covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.”

While the policy rollback caused a public relations nightmare for World Vision in the US, other branches of the global Christian relief agency, such as World Vision Australia, have been operating successfully under fully inclusive workplace policies for years.

In a statement today to the Star Observer, World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello (pictured) reassured that his organisation was different to that of its American counterpart when it came to LGBTI recruitment, engagement and workplace rights.

“World Vision Australia’s policy on this issue is very different from that of our colleagues in the US. We hire only (on) merit and we do not discriminate on the basis of gender or sexual orientation,” he said.

“This is in compliance with Australian law.”

Costello also explained the characteristics of federated organisations like World Vision Australia and the influence that they can have across the world in regards to transforming lives.

“We are a faith-based organisation but we are not a church. We have a singular focus: the transformation of children’s lives. Our staff support our values,” he said.

“Internationally, World Vision is a federated organisation, each country has its own separate board and leadership and its own constitution. Each country naturally also works within its own political and cultural context. World Vision United States’ decisions have no impact on any of World Vision Australia’s hiring practices.

“We serve all vulnerable children and value them as people irrespective of race, religion, sexuality, gender or ethnicity.”

World Vision Australia’s recruitment, human resource and LGBTI policies also verify Costello’s statement.

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