Let's not beat around the bush on this one. The Victorian Equal Opportunity Amendment Bill 2011 allows churches and other faith-based groups to discriminate. They don't have to justify discrimination as an inherent requirement on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parental status or gender identity.
This Bill reflects the views of the noisy Christian Lobby, hot on the heels of their equally disgraceful campaign against the Rip and Roll campaign in Queensland.
Baillieu ignores Parliamentary rules to pass discrimination bill
What is even more galling is that this Bill was reintroduced to Parliament for a vote after it had already been defeated. Instead of abiding by the normal rules of Parliament, when Mary Wooldridge missed the vote the first time, the Premier decided he didn't like that outcome and didn't like the rules. The defeat of the Bill the first time should have been the end of it. This cynical rejection of the rules is as unacceptable as the Bill itself.
Mothers will suffer - not just gays
This Bill will open the door to discrimination against mothers. I've been proud at the last two companies I have worked for that two wonderful women have been promoted to senior roles, while they were on maternity leave. Most likely, single mothers will be singled out. This terrible Bill will turn back the clock and justify religious groups and religious schools in ignoring all of the gains that have been made in equal rights for women, as well as for all people based on sexuality, sex and gender identity.
March in the streets. Lobby your MLC. We are as mad as hell.
This week when the Australian Christian Lobby campaigned against Rip and Roll, the equal rights communities responded strongly. With credit to AdShel, they reversed their original decision to take down the posters. Campaigning does work.
With this discrimination Bill having passed the lower house, we must lobby Victorian Upper house members. The Government has a majority in the Upper house, and the Bill will most likely pass, but we can't go down without a fight.
Lobby your legislative council member. March in the streets. If equality is worth fighting for, this is the first battle.
The passing of the discrimination Bill by the Baillieu government highlights a desire by some sections of society to return to the past. We cannot let progress by overturned by bully boys and the Christian right.
Let me know what you think.
ABC: Fury as Vic government retakes lost vote
SMH: Vic govt casts rules aside for revote
Equal Opportunity Act 2010
Equal Opportunity Amendment Bill 2011