Australia: Christian youth camp loses appeal against discrimination ruling

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A Christian youth camp which was ordered to pay damages for discriminating against a gay youth support charity in 2010 when it refused to accept its booking, has now lost its appeal against the court’s ruling.

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 youth camp claimed they would not take the booking because WayOut promotes homosexual activity which they said was against the denomination’s understanding of the Bible for promotion of a “homosexual lifestyle”.

Christian Youth Camps (CYC) was ordered to pay $5,000 (£3362) in compensation.

In February, CYC challenged the decision by the tribunal’s decision in the Supreme Court of Appeal, saying they refused to take the booking because they believed the group’s syllabus would involve promoting sex before marriage.

However, according to ABC News, the Court of Appeal has now found there was no legal error in the tribunal’s decision and any exemption towards religious freedom does not apply in this particular case.

Anne McLenna, the chief executive of WayOut, said the decision is a step forward for the rights of young gay people.

She said: “We all know that the mental health issues for people, young people in particular who are same-sex attracted or gender questioning, are significant and their sense of being not recognised or a valued part of communities and as equals can affect people’s mental health.

“So I think this supports those young people and recognises them.”