Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian school faced backlash earlier this year over its anti-LGBTQI student enrollment and staff contracts.
This week two separate media reports have exposed the enrolment contracts of other Christian schools in NSW, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria that require parents students and staff to denounce homosexuality and endorse “biological sex”.
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“When a student walks through the school gate, they should feel supported to be themselves, safe to grow and learn, free from discrimination,” Ghassan Kassisieh, Legal Director at Equality Australia said in a statement.
According to Kassisieh “outdated carve-outs in our federal laws and patchy protections in states and territories across Australia” allowed religious schools in the country to expel or discriminate against gay and trans students.
“This needs to stop. The newly elected federal government must act urgently to protect LGBTQI people from discrimination in religious schools and other faith-based organisations,” said Kassisieh.
Contract Endorses Heterosexual Marriages
CCM’s draft enrolment contract required families to support the school’s belief that “God’s intended best for humankind is that we live our lives in accordance with our biological sex”.
The contract also had a clause that asked parents and students to support the Statement Of Faith that “sexual behaviour is to be limited to monogamous heterosexual, married couples” and “acknowledge the biological sex of a person as recognised at birth” and “require practices consistent with that sex”.
A student’s admission could be terminated if the child were to “engage in conduct that … is inconsistent or incompatible with the mission, beliefs, values or policies of the College, including as outlined in the CCM Statement of Faith.”
The religious school’s statement of belief published on its website says that “marriage, and therefore sexual intimacy, is to be between one man and one woman” and “sex should occur only within a monogamous marriage, with abstinence from pre-marital sex, extra marital sex, de-facto ‘marriage’ and homosexual relationships”.
Protect Gay And Trans Students
Victoria had last year passed law reforms that removed religious exemptions under the Equal Opportunity Act and banned religious schools from expelling students or sacking teachers because of the sexual orientation or gender identity. Following the Citipointe controversy, Queensland had said it would relook at its anti-discrimination laws.
Before the federal elections, the Labor party had promised to amend provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act that allowed religious schools to expel gay and trans students.
“These shocking reports provide yet more evidence that discrimination is occurring in faith-based schools and other religious institutions across the country. No matter where they live in Australia, LGBTQI people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect at school, at work and when they access services,” said Kassisieh.
“Before they were elected, the Labor Party under the now Prime Minister’s leadership promised to protect LGBTQI students and staff from discrimination in religious schools. We urge the new Prime Minster to urgently act to deliver that promise, and to extend those same protections to all staff working in any faith-based organisations, and LGBTQI people accessing services from religious providers,” added Kassisieh.