Australian LGBT support group wins legal pay-out

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

A court in the Australian state of Victoria has upheld a complaint from a gay youth support group after a Christian youth camp refused them accommodation, claiming it was against their position on homosexuality.

WayOut, who are a suicide prevention group working with young LGBT Australians in Victoria, sought to book the Christian Youth Camps’ Phillip Island Adventure Resort back in June 2007 where they intended to lead a workshop on fighting against homophobia.

The Christian Brethren claimed they would not take the booking because WayOut promotes homosexual activity which they said was against the denomination’s understanding of the Bible.

As reported by the Australian Associated Press, Judge Felicity Hampel, who presided over the case, said that while the business and its employees were entitled to their personal and religious beliefs, they did not have the right to impose those beliefs on others in a way that denied them freedom from discrimination.

WayOut program co-ordinator Sue Hackney praised Judge Hampel’s findings, saying they would go a long way to showing the youth of Victoria that homophobia was not acceptable in society at large.

In a statement, Ms Hackney said: “It was always a bitter irony that the first step in our attempt to show young people that they can fight homophobia in their home towns was met with homophobia itself.

“Although we have won this case, there is still a major problem in our human rights laws and the way they allow individuals and groups to rely on religious beliefs to avoid the legal obligations that everyone else has to abide by.”

Christian Youth Camps were ordered to pay $5,000 compensation.