A new poll shows four out of five Australians are against religious schools being able to fire teachers or expel students for being gay.

The YouGov Galaxy poll, conducted for advocacy group just.equal, found that 82 per cent opposed the existing discrimination law exemptions that allow gay students to be expelled, and 79 per cent were against religious schools being allowed to fire staff if they married someone of the same sex, The Guardian has reported.

Four in five respondents also opposed schools being permitted to fire or expel people for being trans.

“Australians emphatically reject discrimination against LGBTI people in the name of religion, even more emphatically than they supported marriage equality,” said just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome.

“The message to the government and the Labor Party is that Australians want less discrimination against LGBTI people in the name of religion, not more.

“Armed with these figures we will begin lobbying politicians to tighten up exemptions allowing discrimination against LGBTI people, not extend them.

“We will lobby government members to ensure they oppose further discrimination, but we will also focus on Labor to ensure it opposes any retrograde recommendations from the Ruddock inquiry.

“Labor should oppose all discrimination against LGBTI people en bloc, and not let its religious caucus override basic principles of equality and fairness.”

The Catholic church threatened during the marriage equality debate to fire staff including teachers and nurses if they married someone of the same sex, while claiming that this would not be discrimination against gay people.

“That is, staff in a school could reasonably be expected to support the teachings of the particular religion, to not undermine that teaching and to act as role models to their students,” it said.

The Ruddock review into ‘religious freedom’ is due to report this week, but is expected to be extended again.

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