Private religious schools can still legally discriminate against LGBTIQ+ students, teachers and parents. This means schools can refuse to employ or sack teachers based on their sexual orientation or gender history, refuse to enrol the children of LGBTIQ+ parents and exclude young people who identify as LGBTIQ+.
Despite advancements in rights for LGBTIQ+ people in other areas of Australian law including the passing of marriage equality laws, parts of the Equal Opportunities Act 1984 (WA) grant exemptions to other sections of the Act for religious bodies – including educational institutions.
This creates a worrying loophole that denies LGBTIQ+ people the same protection from discrimination as their fellow Western Australians.
Not only are private religious schools still allowed to discriminate in this way, they still receive taxpayer funding. Schools receiving public funding need to provide services for everyone.
When it comes to matters of equal opportunity in WA, laws should protect all members of our community. Rights are rights and for rights to be effective, they must apply to all.