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An Australian student in Victoria recently contacted his local Member for Parliament, newly elected Geoff Shaw, in order to raise concerns about proposed anti-discrimination legislation. The legislation would allow church-operated schools, hospitals and businesses – subsidised with public funds – to discriminate against would-be users of those facilities based on such things as sexual- and religious-orientation, gender, marital status and so on; while still receiving public monies to operate.

“I’m 20 in a week. I’m able to vote. I want to work, live and love freely during the course of my life, and I want to do that without thinking that I can’t,” wrote the student in a letter to Shaw.

His representative’s reply left him deeply offended and has attracted the ire of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner.

“What if I loved driving 150kms per hour in residential areas?”, the MP responded, “What if there was a convicted sex offender who stated that, or a child molester? Can they still do what they want? Under your statement the answer is yes. What if one wanted to get drunk, take drugs, steal and murder? What if one loved this? Can they also do what they want without thinking that they can’t?”

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke described the comparisons in Mr Shaw’s email as “wrong and potentially dangerous”.

While homosexuality has become legal in Australia, it has only become legal relatively recently, and gay and lesbian Australians are still subject to significant oppression and discrimination – discrimination that the Australian and Victorian governments claim to be committed to eliminating.

[via The Age]

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Categories: Culture, Opinion.

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