In a new equal opportunity bill to be introduced next year, Victorian religious groups will no longer be allowed to discriminate based on the grounds of race, disability, age, physical features, political belief or breastfeeding. Sure, that sounds great, but it's interesting that two of the major sources of discrimination amongst religious communities, sexuality and marital status, will not be included in the new bill.
The gut reaction is likely to be something along the lines of "well great, if the churches are going to discriminate, it'll just drive people away from them, aiding in the secularisation of Victoria", but what is often forgotten is the role that religious communities play in community support, employment and social services. This means that religious schools will be able to deny employment to adequately trained people if they are homosexual, a single parent or even living with a de-facto partner, if their religion supports it. It means that welfare could be denied to single parents. It is a disgrace.
More interestingly, many of the religious communities who will be selectively discriminating against these groups will still be recieving tax benefits which are compensated for by the taxes paid, in part, by the very groups that they are discriminating against!
So what's next?
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