A new study by the Australia Institute has found that state laws have created a de facto hierarchy of discrimination where a private school’s religious beliefs can be used to expel homosexual students and teachers. However, parents think it’s time for a change.

The report, Public Attitudes To Discrimination In Private Schools, said an opinion poll of 650 parents revealed that 89 percent disapproved of private schools expelling kids on the basis of their sexuality. This view is held by both parents with children in private schools (76 percent strongly disagree) and public schools (75 percent strongly disagree).

The Institute has been joined by the NSW Teachers Federation, the Greens and the Gay And Lesbian Rights Lobby in calling for a reform of anti-discrimination laws.

Deputy president of the Teachers Federation Jennifer Leete said special provisions for private schools create institutionalised and blatant discrimination and it was time to close these loopholes.

Gay And Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Somali Cerise agreed. We know schools are a hotbed of homophobia. In light of this, for the law to allow private schools to actively discriminate against gay and lesbian students is adding fuel to the fire, she said.

But Cardinal Pell believes Catholic schools should not be coerced into implementing other values. We have a right to teach our Christian teachings, he told ABC News. Nobody is forced to send their children to Catholic schools.

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