Brisbane-based Citipointe Christian College is once again in the news, this time for asking teachers and staff to sign employment contracts that threaten to sack them for being openly LGBTQI.
Stop Funding Bigotry
LGBTQI advocacy group Just.Equal has said that schools should be stripped of public funding.
“Religious schools cannot continue to defy discrimination laws and public opinion, and expect to receive public funding,” Just.Equal Australia spokesperson Brian Greig said in a statement.
“There comes a limit where taxpayers should no longer be expected to fund bigotry, and Citipointe has reached that limit.”
Threat Of Dismissal
According to The Guardian, the employment contract for teachers was dated in February, after the controversy erupted over the enrolment contract.
The document says that teachers agree to work within the statement of faith of the International Network of Churches that runs the school.
“It is a genuine occupational requirement of the college that the employee not act in a way he knows, or ought reasonably to know, is contrary to the religious beliefs of the college,” the contract says.
“Nothing in his/her deliberate conduct should be incompatible with the intrinsic character of their position, especially, but not only, in relation to the expression of human sexuality through heterosexual, monogamous relationships, expressed intimately through marriage.”
Reviewing Employment Contract
In a statement, Citipointe college said that it was reviewing the employment contract.
“Citipointe Christian College can confirm that no member of staff has had their employment terminated for failing to sign their employment contract,” the school said in a statement published on its website.
“One staff member who received an employment contract for the 2022 school year, before the decision was made on 24 February to amend the Statement of Faith (which is part of the contract), has informed the College that they are unable to sign the contract. The staff member remains employed at the College at this time. However, the contract in question refers to the Statement of Faith which was retracted in February and will be replaced by a revised version with no references to sexuality and gender identity.”
“The College is reviewing its employment contract and other documents after the decision to amend the Statement of Faith. After the review is completed, new employment contracts will be offered to relevant staff.”
Citipointe College added that “Like many faith-based schools in Queensland, Citipointe has always employed staff on the basis that they see their work as a part of the Christian ministry of the College. Both the Queensland and Commonwealth legislation respect and protect the right of faith-based organisations like Citipointe to employ staff who will act consistently with the religious beliefs of the College.”
Protect LGBTQI Students And Teachers
Just.Equal urged the major parties in Australia to support federal anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQI students and staff.
“Existing LGBTIQ+ discrimination protections in places like Tasmania and the ACT have not prevented faith-based schools from operating according to their religious ethos. It’s time such protections were adopted nationally. Ahead of the federal election, we will campaign for both major parties to show stronger support for such protections,” said Greig.
Just.Equal also pointed to a 2018 survey by YouGov Galaxy, which found that 78 % of voters believed that religious schools should not be entitled to government funding if they discriminate against LGBTQI students.
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