Pastor Kevin Green fears the bill will justify conversion therapy. (Facebook/ Kevin Green)
While federal attorney general Michaelia Cash told The Australian last week that the bill aims “to protect people from discrimination on the basis of their religion”, critics say it puts minorities in a dangerous situation.
Drafts of the bill have been released twice, but neither made it to parliament, and a third draft is currently in the works.
The second draft would have made “statements of religious belief” exempt from anti-discrimination laws, allowed medical professionals to refuse treatment based on religious beliefs and allowed religious workplaces to discriminate in employment.
On Sunday (5 September), the queer community staged a protest against the potential legislation in Brisbane, Australia, according to QNews.
Kevin Green, a gay pastor at the inclusive Metropolitan Community Church in Brisbane, told the rally: “Anyone who treats anyone else as a second-class citizen because of their sexuality or gender identity is so very wrong.
“I am just as God made me, and that’s a gay man. One of the key messages of the Bible is, ‘Love thy neighbour’.
“I can’t find any reference to only loving the ones you agree with. It definitely doesn’t say love others more than some.”
Green said that the bill could even be used as a justification for conversion therapy, and added: “As a 30-year survivor of it, I can’t and won’t allow that to happen.”
Australia’s LGBT+ community vows to keep fighting against the dangerous religious freedom bill
Sel Dowd, of Equal Love Brisbane, said that the queer community would passionately fight against the legislation, and that the protests would keep coming.
“The bill would enshrine in law the right of some employers and institutions to refuse service, fire workers and discriminate at will by invoking statements of belief,” said Dowd.
“It would provide bigots in positions of power exemptions to anti-discrimination laws.
“This will not be the last time we gather to rally against the bill and demand equal rights for all.”
The third draft of the bill is expected to be published in December, 2021.