A thirty-year-old law in New South Wales, Australia, allows private schools to kick out students simply for being gay. (This is slightly different from Boston’s Catholic schools kicking out kids whose parents are gay.) And while the state’s Attorney General is defending the law because it “maintain[s] a sometimes delicate balance between protecting individuals from unlawful discrimination while allowing people to practise their own beliefs,” even some religious types can’t believe it’s still around.
A relic of the Wran era when homosexuality was still a crime, the law exempts private schools from any obligation to enrol or deal fairly with students who are homosexual. An expulsion requires neither disruption, harassment nor even the flaunting of sexuality. Being homosexual is enough.
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Introducing the little-known law in the early 1980s, the then attorney-general Paul Landa told Parliament: “The facts of political life require acceptance of the claim of churches to conduct autonomous educational institutions with a special character and faith commitment.”
But the churches are now divided. The Anglican bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, told the Herald: “I don’t think our schools would want to use it.”
But not all.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney declined to distance itself from the legislation. A spokeswoman said: “The focus for our schools has always been on supporting our students regardless of the circumstances.”
Is this where they say something about loving the sinner but hating the sin?