Religious freedom is back on the agenda in New South Wales, with debate rapidly approaching on the “equality” bill introduced by the state’s independent member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich. Source: The Catholic Weekly.
The 50-page bill will be debated in the first week of February, when NSW Parliament first sits in 2024, after the Minns Government voted last year to make it a priority this year rather than let it lapse.
Religious freedom think-tank Freedom for Faith says if successfully passed the bill will “drastically undermine religious freedom” by making more than 80 changes to 20 different pieces of legislation, including 52 amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Act alone.
They have encouraged Christians to visit contactyourmp.org.au to call, write and meet MPs to oppose the bill.
The bill seeks to remove provisions in the Anti-Discrimination Act that allows faith-based institutions to teach their own doctrines on gender and sexuality, and preferentially hire those who uphold an institution’s faith and values.
The changes are being proposed even though the Anti-Discrimination Act has been referred for review to the NSW Law Reform Commission.
The bill also permits a child under 16 to consent to medical treatment, such as gender transitions, against the desires of their parents — so long as a doctor approves.
A person older than 16 years will be declared competent to consent to these procedures and will be allowed to change their sex on their birth certificate as they desire, without biological or surgical procedures.
The bill also seeks to protect sex work, making it equivalent to race and disability and also legalise commercial surrogacy, including surrogacy of women in developing countries overseas.
Freedom for Faith has called on the NSW Government to reject the bill in full, saying Greenwich’s omnibus bill is too complex to be safely split without unintended consequences.
‘Equality’ bill puts religious freedom under threat in NSW in 2024 (The Catholic Weekly)