In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry, the HRLC has called for long overdue legal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people to be incorporated into Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act. The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013 will, if passed, extend protection under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) to ‘gender identity’, ‘sexual orientation’, ‘intersex status’ and ‘relationship status’.
In its submission, You, Me, Us: Protecting LGBTI Australians from discrimination, The HRLC welcomes moves to protect LGBTI Australians against discrimination and makes recommendations to enhance protection for human rights and bring the proposed legislation in line with international human rights standards.
In particular, the HRLC calls for narrower exemptions for religious organisations and schools to discriminate against people in employment, education and access to aged care services on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status or relationship status to strike a more appropriate balance between the rights to religion and non-discrimination.
The HRLC also makes recommendations to remove or limit proposed carve outs to the prohibition against discrimination including:
- federal marriage laws that currently define marriage as between a man and a woman;
- state, territory and other commonwealth laws that discriminate against LGBTI Australians; and
- discrimination against transgender and intersex people in record-keeping by government agencies and business who collect data.
A media release about the submission can be found here.