Protect gays and single parents, say mothers

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the lead-up to the November 27 Victorian state elections, the Council of Single Mothers Action Group has expressed its concern about the right of religious institutions to legally discriminate against gays, lesbians and single parents.

Until amended last year, Victorian Equal Opportunities legislation granted religious bodies many exemptions. This meant they could discriminate against many groups of people in employment and service provision. The amendments did not remove the right to discriminate against gays, lesbians and single parents.

Religious institutions controlled or run by a body established for religious purposes may discriminate on the basis of any “protected characteristic” when employing people, provided that discrimination is necessary to conform to religious beliefs or sensitivities.

Religious schools run according to religious beliefs and principles but not by religious bodies are also exempt from discrimination provisions.

The action group has also expressed its concern about the lack of after-school care for secondary school students; more flexible child care hours and education maintenance allowance for students over 16. Other issues of concern are Family Law reform and the need for greater access to legal aid.

From GLW issue 855

Comments

The article

The article states:

"Religious institutions controlled or run by a body established for religious purposes may discriminate on the basis of any “protected characteristic” when employing people, provided that discrimination is necessary to conform to religious beliefs or sensitivities."

But isn't this what religion is all about? A set of beliefs in accordance to the will of the Supreme Being? The very notion of a "Supreme Being" strikes me, as a devout atheist, as being archaic in itself. It puzzles me why people with so-called "progressive" lifestyles, then, attempt to conform to rigidly old-fashioned religious values. It's like punching a square peg into a round hole.

Religion is not a salad, you cannot pick and choose what you want from the menu and leave the rest. Yes, many religions practice what one may term as outdated beliefs, but again, such is the nature of many of the world's religions.

I wonder what will happen if, say, an indoor swimming pool is opened exclusively for women, in order to appease the Islamic community, and Islamic women start to complain about lesbian couples attending the facility. I wonder what will happen when Islamic women start demanding not only male-free swimmng pools, but also lesbian-free pools.

Then, what side will Green Left Weekly assume? Will GLW speak out in favour of the Islamic women, at the risk of being called homophobic and discriminatory? Or will GLW side with the "gay community" and denounce the Islamic religion as being "homophobic" and "out of touch with modern society"...thus inviting accusations of Islamophobia?

You can't have it both ways, GLW.