Australia to stop religious schools rejecting gay students

​Australia to stop religious schools rejecting gay students

Australia to stop religious schools rejecting gay students

​Australia's prime minister has promised to ban religious schools from discriminating against gay students.

​Scott Morrison said new legislation would "make it clear that no student of a non-state school should be expelled on the basis of their sexuality".

​Some Australian states allow such schools to turn away gay students.

​The issue has been hotly debated in the country after recommendations of a report on religious freedom were leaked earlier this week.

​The report, commissioned after same-sex marriage was made legal last year, suggested that procedures for non-state schools to reject gay students should be made consistent nationwide, raising the possibility of allowing such rejections across Australia.

​On Wednesday Mr Morrison, who leads the centre-right Liberal-National coalition, said the proposals - which included some safeguards for gay students - would be considered "carefully and respectfully"

​But on Saturday he made clear that religious schools would not be allowed to discriminate under new legislation.

​"Given recent misreporting, we have an opportunity here to bring forward a simple amendment to end the confusion," he said.

​State schools are already banned from discriminating against students on the basis of their sexuality.

​The Labor opposition had condemned the leaked proposals, with the shadow education minister saying the party "doesn't expand discrimination opportunities".

​Mr Morrison's announcement comes a week before a by-election for a seat in the Sydney area previously held by his predecessor and fellow Liberal, Malcolm Turnbull.

​Voters there overwhelmingly endorsed same-sex marriage in last year's referendum. Mr Morrison said his position on religious schools had "nothing to do" with the by-election.

​The report into religious freedom - known as the Ruddock Report - was commissioned to address fears that same-sex marriage would restrict people's ability to practise their religion.

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