• 4 out of 5 Australians oppose laws allowing discrimination against gay and lesbian students and teachers at religious schools
• Virtually the same proportion oppose allowing discrimination against transgender students and teachers at religious schools
• There is strong opposition to refusal of services to same-sex couples in the name of religion
• A majority say religious schools that discriminate should not receive government funding
• Advocates to lobby Gov’t and Labor to oppose any retrograde Ruddock recommendations

Four out of five Australians oppose laws that allow gay, lesbian and transgender students and teachers to be expelled or fired by religious schools.

There is also strong opposition to any legal changes allowing people with religious views to refuse their services to same-sex couples.

The findings are from a YouGov survey of 1015 voters commissioned by advocacy group, just.equal.

The survey also found a majority of Australians do not believe religious schools that have the right to discriminate against LGBTI people should receive public funding.

The results come ahead of the release of a report by a panel, chaired by Philip Ruddock, to determine if religious freedom is sufficiently protected in the wake of marriage equality.

Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“Australians emphatically reject discrimination against LGBTI people in the name of religion, even more emphatically than they supported marriage equality.”

“The message to the Government and the Labor Party is that Australians want less discrimination against LGBTI people in the name of religion, not more.”

“Armed with these figures we will begin lobbying politicians to tighten up exemptions allowing discrimination against LGBTI people, not extend them.”

“A will lobby government members to ensure they oppose further discrimination, but we will also focus on Labor to ensure it opposes any retrograde recommendations from the Ruddock inquiry.”

“Labor should oppose all discrimination against LGBTI people en bloc, and not let its religious caucus override basic principles of equality and fairness.”

Earlier this year, Deputy Labor leader, Tanya Plibersek, said Labor has no plans to tighten up existing religious exemptions of the kind the YouGov poll shows Australians strongly oppose.

A summary of the findings of the YouGov report are below and a copy of the full report is attached.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here

Main Findings from the YouGov survey

Support for existing Australian law where gay or lesbian students can be legally expelled from religious schools
•  82% do not support this current law, and only 18% support it. (D1) 

•  Support for the law is highest among males (25% males, 12% females), and in South Australia (25%). 

Should gay or lesbian teachers at religious schools be dismissed if they marry under same-sex marriage law 

•  79% of Australians say that they should not be dismissed. 21% support them being dismissed (D2). 

•  Objection to any dismissal is greatest among females (84% females, 73% males). 

Support for existing law allowing transgender students or teachers to be legally expelled from religious schools 

•  78% of Australians do not support this law (83% of females and 73% of males). (D3) 

•  22% support the existing law. 

Should religious schools continue to receive tax payer funding from the federal government if they legally discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender teachers and students
•  78% of Australians say ‘no’, religious schools should not be entitled to tax-payer funding if they legally discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender teachers and students (D4). 

•  Disagreement is higher among females (82% females, males 73%).

Should discrimination laws be changed so that people with religious views can refuse service to same-sex
couples 

• Two in three (69%) of Australians say that discrimination laws should not be changed to allow religious people to refuse service to same-sex marriage (72% of females, 65% of males).