Sam Hibbins
Sam Hibbins

The Greens plan to propose a private member’s bill before the Victorian Parliament that would no longer allow religious schools to discriminate against students and staff based on sexuality.

A new bill is in the process of being presented to the Victorian Parliament.

The modification of the Equal Opportunity Act would allow transgender students to attend single-sex religious schools of their identified gender. It would also allow gay and lesbian identified teachers to work in religious schools without the fear of discrimination.

Sam Hibbins, the equality spokesman for the Greens, is drafting a bill that will remove discriminatory exemptions for religious groups in relation to schools.

In a statement, Hibbins said “Being able to deny a transgender student the right to attend school as their preferred gender or sacking a teacher because they are gay or lesbian is blatant discrimination and must not be sanctioned by Victorian law.”

There is currently a clause that allows religious schools exemptions from discrimination laws “to avoid injury to the religious sensitivities and adherents of the religion”

Sean Mulcahy, the co-convenor of Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, stated that “We’ve always opposed the religious exemptions in the Act and particularly where they affect young or vulnerable people. Studies show that younger LGBTI people have much higher rates of suicide and have much higher rates of mental health issues.”