On November 25th, 2021, Australia proposed a new bill that will essentially protect religious people from “cancel culture”, while discriminating against members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison says that if the bill is passed then it will ensure that religious organizations and people will be protected to express their beliefs. This also means that it would allow Catholic schools to fire teachers or expel gay students in the name of “religious ethos”. More scenarios that would result in no consequences would be, a woman having a child out of wedlock being told she is evil, or being told in the workplace that you are going to hell for your sexuality. Although Morrison says that the bill is to protect people’s “statements of belief”, many critics including Human Rights and LGBTQ+ activist groups have warned that this bill will permit homophobic ideologies. As of right now, in Australia you are allowed to sue if you feel as though you are being discriminated against due to your sexuality, however if this bill is put into action it would completely take away these rights.
This bill first came into works in 2017 after same-sex marriage was legalized in Australia. There was major pushback from religious conservative groups and politicians, and the 5 million citizens that voted against the legalization now felt as though they were a minority in their own country (yeah i’m confused about this too). Some religious groups, including The Australian Christian Lobby say that the proposed bill is “the first step in the right direction”, “moderate”, and “should be uncontroversial”. I am not sure how discrimination and bigoted ideas is uncontroversial, but apparently some Catholic groups believe this is a reduced document than what they originally wanted. On the other hand, United Church in Australia says that the bill does not allow people to live freely from discrimination and they are not in support of the passing of this bill.
The status of this bill will be reviewed again before being voted on in the Senate next year. Many Australians are hoping the bill does not pass into law, so let’s hope this discriminatory bill is fought against.