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Greens move to end religious exemptions to SA’s anti-discrimination laws

3 July 2024

South Australian religious schools and organisations would be prevented from discriminating against LGBTI people, under a Greens Bill to be introduced into State Parliament after the winter break.

Currently religious organisations are exempt from the state’s equal opportunity laws, allowing them to potentially discriminate against LGBTI people on religious grounds. The Greens’ Equal Opportunity (Religious Bodies) Amendment Bill would remove these exemptions. The bill would however retain the right of religious organisations to appoint Ministers on the basis of their adherence to their religion.  

“Exemptions to equal opportunity laws allow discrimination by South Australian religious schools and organisations. It is outrageous that in 21st century South Australia, a gay teacher working in a religious school can be in fear of losing their job simply because of their sexuality, or a gay teen could be turned away from a shelter run by a religious organisation.  Surely all South Australians deserve equal protection before the law?” said Greens Attorney General Spokesperson, Robert Simms MLC.

“Why should schools or other organisations that receive Government funding get a get-out of jail card when it comes to our state’s equal opportunity laws? It is very disappointing to see the Federal Government dragging their heels on this. Rather than waiting for the PM to finally show some backbone, the Malinauskas Government should step up.”

“Vickie Chapman took this on when she was Attorney General but didn’t resolve it before the last state election. This is a chance for Kyam Maher to really cement his status as a progressive Attorney General and get this job done.”

“It’s almost 50 years since South Australia made history as the first state in the country to decriminalise homosexuality, yet we are now lagging behind other states when it comes to protecting the rights of LGBTI people. It is embarrassing and putting our state’s reputation at risk,” Mr Simms said.