Thursday 11 October 2018
The New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has called on NSW Parliament to overhaul its dated Anti-Discrimination Act to reflect modern community sentiment.
Co-Convenor Lauren Foy said the outdated NSW laws were now among the worst in the nation.
“As we’ve all been reminded this week by many, including the Prime Minister, this state has some of the broadest exemptions and loopholes in favour of religious discrimination in Australia today,” Foy said.
“These laws do not belong in the 21st Century. They are prejudiced, and they are archaic. Kids shouldn’t be allowed under law to be kicked out of school just for being gay, lesbian, or transgender.
“After the overwhelming public victory for equality in the 2017 national marriage survey, it’s high time for NSW anti-discrimination law to be brought into line with modern community sentiment,” Foy said.
Ms Foy noted the 2010 decision of the Court of Appeal, allowing Wesley Mission to discriminate on religious grounds against a male same-sex couple who had applied to be foster carers to children in need.
“NSW law leaves major loopholes, largely for religious organisations, to discriminate against LGBTI people in a wide variety of circumstances in their everyday life.
“From schooling, to healthcare, to adoption – NSW law leaves LGBTI people exposed to extraordinary discrimination that’s long been out of step with community sentiment,” Foy stated.
NSW was the first Australian jurisdiction to introduce anti-discrimination laws covering homosexuality in 1982. However, in the 35 years since, these laws have gone from ‘first to worst’ – they do not cover bisexuality or sex characteristics, according to Co-Convenor James Bolster.
“The NSW Anti-Discrimination Act doesn’t provide protections for bisexuals, and needs a major overhaul of definitions and application for transgender, non-binary and intersex people,” Mr Bolster said.
“Our state parliament has shown great leadership by updating vilification law this year – and we have every hope they can do so again,” Mr Bolster concluded.
The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby will continue to work with all NSW parliamentarians to ensure the modernisation of anti-discrimination law in NSW.