Churches are battling to keep their right to refuse to employ gay, lesbian and transgender people, reports The Herald Sun.
The Federal Government has thrown open for debate the laws which exempt religious organisations from court action if they refuse to employ or have as volunteers gay, lesbian and transgender people - if this conflicts with the organisation's religious beliefs, reported The Advertiser.
Many church groups have defended the need to discriminate including the Australian Catholics Bishop Conference, which has told the Federal Government: "The right to freedom of conscience and religion should be upheld as there is scope for the attributes of sexual orientation and gender identity to undermine the freedom of Catholic bodies to have the right to employ or admit those who are committed to Catholic teachings and beliefs".
The report adds that many religious groups no longer discriminate when they employ people but some have bans, most commonly in the employment of teachers.
South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner Anne Burgess said if the exemption to discriminate was continued, it should be limited to jobs directly involving spiritual or religious activities.
Churches and religous schools fights to maintain gay ban (Herald Sun)
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