Uniting Network, the LGBTIQ network within the Uniting Church in Australia, expresses its concern around the short period to respond to the Exposure Drafts on Religious Freedom and Associated Legislation released today.
Co-convenor Rev. Peter Weeks commented that “It is our view that there is no need or demonstrable evidence for new religious freedom legislation. It is our position that existing legislation that permits discrimination against LGBTIQ people in religious organisations is not only wrong but not theologically sustainable.”
Rev. Weeks further commented, “The Liberal National Coalition Government put the LGBTIQ community through an unnecessary and vitriolic postal survey campaign over an extended time period. That process created significant mental health issues for the LGBTIQ community that are still reverberating within the community today.”
“The Ruddock Inquiry was held in secret, and the final report withheld from the community for an extended period. During the development of these proposed pieces of legislation, there has been extensive consultations with communities of faith in developing these drafts, however there has been no consultation with the LGBTIQ community, who are the clear targets of these draft legislation.”
“There is just over a month for the community to comment on the exposure drafts which are extensive and their implication to the LGBTIQ community potentially severe.
We strongly call on the Prime Minister and the Attorney General to undertake a significant consultation period with the LGBTIQ community and delay any attempts to bring legislation to Parliament until the middle of 2020 at the earliest.”
Uniting Network will provide additional information and details on our specific concerns with the draft legislation once we have had an opportunity to digest and analyse them thoroughly.
**** END STATEMENT ***
OTHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR MEDIA:
Contact Jason Masters, Secretary – 0407780110, firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for Open and Affirming Congregations.
The Uniting Church LGBTIQ network has launched a new suite of educational resources for congregations, study groups and individuals. The resources cover a range of topics from how to become “open and affirming” to queer young people, children, language, gender identity, sexuality and the Scriptures. All can be downloaded from http://www.unitingnetworkaustralia.org.au/open-and-affirming-project/