#885 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 4 May 2014.
Exemptions to anti-discrimination laws are an important protection for the human right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.
So when the Law Institute of Victoria last week recommended watering down the religious exemptions under that State’s Equal Opportunity Act, there was a robust response from people of faith.
President of the Victorian Christian Lawyers Association, Derrick Toh, said the proposed changes would severely limit the rights of religious communities to operate in accordance with their values.
Executive Officer of Freedom 4 Faith, Chelsea Pietsch, said
The extent to which anti-discrimination law should apply to religious organisations has long been a contentious issue, and for good reason. It requires a careful balancing of the principles of equality, freedom from discrimination, freedom of religion and freedom of association.
Balance is the key. When one basic human right consistently overrides others, and is enforced by law for political ends, the whole community suffers.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.