Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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Australia to stop religious schools that reject gay students

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits the Catholic Primary School in Galilee, Sydney, Australia on September 21, 2018.Picture copyright
EPA

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared his policy in religious schools in a heated debate

The Australian Prime Minister has promised to ban religious schools from discriminating against gay students.

Scott Morrison said new laws would "make it clear that no student from a nongovernmental school should be excluded because of their sexuality."

Some Australian states allow such schools to turn away gay students.

The issue was hotly debated in the country after recommendations for a report on religious freedom were released earlier this week.

The report, which was commissioned after same-sex marriage, was declared legal last year. He suggested that procedures for non-state schools that reject gay students should be uniform across the country, allowing for the possibility of such denials throughout Australia.

On Wednesday, Morrison, who leads the center-right Liberal National Coalition, said the proposals – which contained some guarantees for gay students – were considered "careful and respectful."

But on Saturday he made it clear that religious schools should not discriminate under new laws.

"In view of the recent false reports, we have the opportunity here to make a simple amendment to end the confusion," he said.

State schools are already banned from discriminating against students for their sexuality.

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The Labor opposition had condemned the leaked proposals, and the Shadow Minister said the party "does not broaden the possibilities of discrimination".

Mr Morrison's announcement comes one week before a by-election for a seat in the Sydney area previously held by his predecessor and compatriot Malcolm Turnbull.

The voters of last year's referendum voted mostly for same-sex marriage. Mr Morrison said his position in religious schools had "nothing to do with the by-election".

The Report on Religious Freedom – known as the Ruddock Report – was commissioned to counter fears that same-sex marriage would limit people's ability to practice their religion.

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