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Australia to Ban Religious Schools From Expelling Gay Students

Australia

A leaked "religious freedom" report sparked public outrage and concern for queer young people.

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Australia will take measures to ban private and religious schools from expelling LGBQ students.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, an evangelical Christian himself and the head of the ruling Liberal-National coalition, announced the intended ban in a statement released Saturday.

"I will be taking action to ensure amendments are introduced as soon as practicable to make it clear that no student of a non-state school should be expelled on the basis of their sexuality," Morrison said, according to Reuters.

The statement instructed Australia's Parliament to address the issue by the end of the month. The Labour Party, the largest opposition party, has also pledged to change the law to revoke any existing "license to discriminate" against gay students in faith-based schools.

Last week, Morrison made headlines for saying that "existing law" allows religious schools to bar gay students. The remarks came in the midst of a controversial "religious freedom" report, which included recommendations for the government to empower faith-based schools to bar gay students and teachers.

"To the extent that this can be done in the context of appropriate safeguards for the rights and mental health of the child, the panel accepts their right to select, or preference, students who uphold the religious convictions of that school community," read a leaked version of the report, which has not officially been made public.

The review, commissioned by conservatives in the wake of marriage equality in Australia, sparked public outrage.

Tanya Plibersek, Australia's shadow education minister -- the country has a "Shadow Cabinet" populated by members of its opposition Labour Party -- called it a "disturbing proposition" on ABC News Breakfast. "What kind of adult wants to turn away a child, wants to reject a kid because they are gay?" she asked.

Morrison's new statement appeared to try to quell this outrage. "Our government does not support expulsion of students from religious non-state schools on the basis of their sexuality," he declared.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.