Australia to Retain Gay Discrimination Law; Memes Abound

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By Vittorio Hernandez | January 16, 2013 11:24 AM EST

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will retain religious rights law which legally allows gay discrimination in Australia. Reports said that she has assured religious groups that a new rights bill will keep current law that permits faith-based organisations to refuse employment to people they view as sinners, including gays and lesbians.

Australia's Parliament rejected in 2012 a same-sex marriage bill. Ms Gillard, during a question hour, explained her personal views on gay unions.

PinkNews reported that Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Jim Wallace has met with the prime minister several times and has allegedly assured him that she has no intention to restrict freedom of religion in Australia.

Ms Gillard's office declined to comment on her discussion with stakeholders, apparently avoiding controversy over a hot issue. In 2012, Ms Gillard backed out of attending a Christian lobby conference after Mr Wallace suggested smoking was healthier than a gay lifestyle.

Religious organisations in Australia are among the country's large employers, including the Catholic Church which runs private schools. While they get government funding, their religious status allows them to reject applicants with sexual orientation or lifestyle that goes against their beliefs.

Expected to steer the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill in the Senate is Finance Minister Penny Wong, a Christian and a lesbian. She said the bill seeks to balance current legislation with the practice of religious exemption and the principle of non-discrimination.

The bill as well as current debate over same-sex marriage in other western countries had resulted in gay memes abounding in social media sites.

This meme seems to describe the current situation in Australia

while this one has a more liberal but skeptic view of marriages.

The perceived hypocritical view towards same-sex union is tackled in these three memes.

While this last meme sees gay marriage in terms of dollars and cents.

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