Sunday, October 10, 2010

Christian Brethren Church ordered to pay gay discrimination claim

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has upheld a discrimination complaint made by a gay support group against a business run by the Christian Brethren church.

WayOut claimed it was barred from hiring the Christian Youth Camp's Philip Island Adventure Resort in 2007 because of its stance on homosexuality.

The resort has been ordered to pay the group $5,000 in compensation.

WayOut spokeswoman Sue Hackney says the Brethren should not be exempt from equal opportunity laws.
"We, quite unknowingly and innocently, attempted to book a conference facility which we understood was just open to the public at large," she said.

"We thought it was quite unfair that, in that situation, a religious group could turn around and try to claim exemption or pardon from equal opportunity laws which apply to all other businesses."
Ms Hackney says the ruling shows the courts protect vulnerable young people.

"A lot of our young people have had dreadful experiences at school, and on the rare occasions when they've sought to complain about these, unfortunately a common reaction is that they don't get listened [to]," she said.
"For the young people who've been involved in the complaint directly, it's shown them that our system will work and it will protect them."

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