A NEW online petition calling on the WA Government to introduce a bill amending the state’s Equal Opportunity Act to prevent schools that receive public funding from discriminating against rainbow families has just been launched.
The Change.org petition addressed to state Education Minister Peter Collier was created in response to news of a private Christian school in Mandurah, about 70km south of Perth, that told the father of a seven-year-old girl she would not have been welcome had it known her parents were gay.
In less than 12 hours, it had garnered about 1000 signatures.
The allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexuality against Foundation Christian College was first raised last week when the seven-year-old girl off-handedly told school friends her father was gay.
The father, who only identified himself as Brendan to the Mandurah Mail, alleged that school principal Andrew Newhouse told him his daughter could only stay at the school as long as she did not “promote” the word gay at the school and not speak of her father’s relationship with his same-sex partner.
Brendan also alleged that he if a parent raised a complaint, his daughter would be asked to leave.
“[Newhouse] said to me that ‘if we knew you were gay at the interview you would never have got in this school’,” Brendan told the Mandurah Mail.
The father also alleged that Newhouse, a Family First candidate in the 2013 Federal Election, would also work with the school board to make sure the application process made it clear that “gays aren’t welcome” — should marriage equality be legislated in the near future.
As a result, Brendan has withdrawn his daughter from the school and placed her in a public primary school.
In a statement sent to the Mandurah Mail, Newhouse denied the family was forced to leave the school.
“When the father submitted his application for enrolment, he did so with his ex-wife as part of the process,” he said in the statement.
“Knowing that the college would not endorse an application from same-sex parents, I find there is not openness from the parent’s point of view.
“The [school] board are firm in their view that families have a mother and father who raise children jointly. The board also has a strong view that families with same-sex parents do not support a Christian world view.
“I mentioned to the parent that if his daughter was to continue this topic of discussion with her peers, then it would be in both his and his daughter’s interests to move to a school that would support his world view.”
According to the Mandurah Mail, a spokesperson for Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said no conditions were in place regarding funding for the school to prevent it discriminating against the children of rainbow families.
To sign the Change.org petition, click here