Teachers at a Christian school in Australia were asked to sign contracts which said they could be fired for being openly gay.
Citipointe Christian College in Brisbane also attempted to make students sign “discriminatory” agreements in February, resulting in its principal, pastor Brian Mulheran, standing down and the contracts being withdrawn, The Guardian reported.
Families were asked to sign documents stating that gay acts are “immoral” and “offensive to God”, as well as implying that “biological sex” would be used to recognise transgender students at the school.
“I hope that by withdrawing the contract we can return all our focus to the Christian education of our students,” Mulheran said in an apology to students who felt “they would be discriminated against” by the contents of the document.
However, the aforementioned outlet has since seen an employment contract signed by Ruth Gravestein, the acting principal.
The agreement is part of the workplace contract of any new teacher at the establishment and is dated as February 2022, after the withdrawal of the controversial document issued to students and the apology that followed.
“It is a genuine occupational requirement of the college that the employee not act in a way he knows, or ought reasonably to know, is contrary to the religious beliefs of the college,” the contract states.
“Nothing in his/her deliberate conduct should be incompatible with the intrinsic character of their position, especially, but not only, in relation to the expression of human sexuality through heterosexual, monogamous relationships, expressed intimately through marriage.
“Your failure to abide by such requirements expressed in the above clauses could constitute a breach of your employment contract and subsequent dismissal.”
Helen Clapham Burns is a teacher at Citipointe Christian College, where one of her children attends. The school has not backed down on its policy against LGBTQI+ students. Today, Helen handed in her resignation. She joins us to tell us all about why she has made the decision. pic.twitter.com/JJqd4rc7sn
— The Project (@theprojecttv) January 31, 2022
Citipointe Christian College has claimed that these conditions are “under review” and that “new wording is awaiting approval”, though one teacher claimed that he lost his job as a result of refusing to sign the contract.
“Not signing this contract was my choice, but I have effectively lost my job to discrimination,” he told The Guardian.
“Excluding LGBTQIA+ people from the school community perpetuates these archaic values, and doesn’t prepare students for the real world. In the real world if you don’t share values with a colleague or friend you can’t contract them out of your life.
“I’m disgusted by this kind of intolerance and discrimination hiding behind the name of God, especially when formalised in a contract. This is not Christianity.”
Queensland law permits discrimination from religious bodies in specific circumstances, though whether or not the contracts break the law is currently being questioned by lawyers.
Matilda Alexander, a representative of the LGBTI legal service, told the newspaper that her “legal opinion is that this contract is likely to be found unlawful under Queensland anti-discrimination laws.”
“It seeks to prohibit conduct that is not in connection with the workplace by stopping an employee acting in a way that is contrary to the religious beliefs of the college, whether or not this is done openly,” she added.
“It changes the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ mantra to ‘don’t do it’.
“This is far beyond the power of any employer in Queensland. We all have the right to attend work and pursue our own personal lives outside of work, even if working for a religious school.”
GAY TIMES has contacted Citipointe Christian College for comment.