RAINBOW FAMILIES’ SUBMISSION TO THE NSW LAW REFORM COMMISSION’S REVIEW OF THE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT 1977 (NSW) September 2023.
Rainbow Families Advocates for urgent updating of NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.
In our pursuit of a more inclusive society, Rainbow Families strongly advocate for a comprehensive reform of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW). The current Act, with its outdated language and fragmented structure, falls short in safeguarding rainbow families against discrimination, harassment, and vilification. To align with modern standards, we propose expanding the protected attributes to include diverse sexualities and genders, ensuring a more encompassing protection for LGBTQ+ individuals.
The Act's primary objective is to foster an inclusive society by preventing discrimination and harassment. However, the existing attributes protected by the Act, such as sex, marital status, sexual orientation, and transgender status, need a broader definition to truly represent the diversity of our community and address their discrimination experiences. Additionally, we urge careful consideration in granting exemptions to religious organizations and private institutions, limiting them strictly to maintain their core functions and prevent discriminatory practices.
Rainbow Families offers the following recommendations to the NSW Government:
Expanded Protections: Broaden protected attributes and their definitions to cover all LGBTQ+ community members and their associates. This includes gender-diverse people. The Act should protect against discrimination by association, acknowledging the untraditional relationships within rainbow families.
Minimal Exemptions: Limit exemptions to maintain core functions of private institutions or religious organizations. The framing of exemptions must be clear and unambiguous to prevent misuse or circumvention.
Address Discrimination: Tackle discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, especially during the adoption process and in healthcare services. Implement positive obligations to prevent discrimination against rainbow families.
Discrimination against rainbow families takes various forms and is often rooted in conservative and religious biases. Key forms of discrimination include obstacles in adoption and foster care processes, school discrimination, healthcare bias, and denial of services based on religious beliefs.
The Act should recognize the intersectionality of rainbow families' experiences and that of the LGBTQ+ community. Updating the Act is vital to provide redress for community members whose identities were not properly acknowledged when the Act was first enacted in 1977.
In essence, our call for reform is a much needed and overdue step towards a more just and inclusive society—one that embraces diversity and ensures equal rights and opportunities for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.