More than one hundred community organisations and advocates have signed a joint statement calling for an end to laws that permit religious discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people.

The statement, which was organised by Community Activists Against Homophobia (CAAH), comes ahead of the government’s impending Religious Discrimination Act, which advocates fear may undermine protections for LGBTIQ+ people.

National PFLAG spokesperson, Shelley Argent OAM, was one of the statement’s signatories.

“When LGBTI people face discrimination and hatred, God weeps. The Bible should never be used as a weapon of abuse against anyone, including LGBTI people,” she said.

“When some religious leaders talk about ‘religious freedom’ what they mean is maintaining their power and privilege to disadvantage and vilify our LGBTI children.

“As parents of LGBTI people we are determined to foster a society where everyone has equal rights and protections.

“That means not allowing discrimination and hate speech across the board, including by people who say they speak in the name of God.”

The statement calls on the Coalition and Labor to commit to removing all anti-discrimination exemptions that allow religious organisations to discrimination on the basis of sexuality, sex, and gender identity.

It also urges politicians to rule out any new exemptions in a proposed Religious Discrimination Act.

Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said the LGBTIQ+ community wouldn’t abide attacks on their rights and dignity under the cover of religious freedom.

“For over twenty years, my home state of Tasmania has prohibited anti-LGBTI discrimination by all religious organisations and anti-LGBTI hate speech in the name of religion, without the sky falling in,” he said.

“I want all LGBTI Australians to have the same level of legally-guaranteed safety and inclusion LGBTI Tasmanians enjoy.

“We call on both major parties to rule out ‘religious freedom’ being used to undo the gains made with marriage equality, and to commit to removing exemptions in national law that allow discrimination in God’s name.”

To read the full statement and to see the list of signatories, click here.

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