“Religious freedom is under threat in Victoria, now that a court ruling has denied a Christian-run camp its right to maintain biblical standards of conduct on its premises,” FamilyVoice state officer Peter Stevens said today.
The Victorian Court of Appeal recently dismissed an Appeal against a VCAT decision in 2010 which ruled that Christian Youth Camps had discriminated against Cobaw, a group for same-sex attracted youth, in the provision of accommodation.
Lawyers for the organisation told the Court of Appeal Mr Rowe did not refuse the group because their members were homosexual, but because the group would promote a message that it is okay to have sex outside marriage.
The Christian group’s appeal was dimissed by a majority of 2:1, with Justice Robert Redlich dissenting.
Justice Redlich said that section 77 of the Equal Opportunity Act is an exemption available to a corporation and that CYC and its employee Mark Rowe, who refused the booking, were taking steps necessary to comply with their genuine religious beliefs that promotion of homosexuality was wrong.
In the original 2010 ruling, the Tribunal ruled that CYC’s biblical beliefs about marriage, sexual relationships or homosexuality are not doctrines of the Christian religion. “This is an extraordinary denial of the facts,” Pastor Stevens said.
“Jesus Christ, the founder of the Christian religion, clearly taught that marriage is a man-woman union in Matthew 19: 4-5. He taught that porneia (a Greek term for all forms of sexual immorality, understood by all Jews to include all forms of sexual intercourse outside marriage, including homosexual activity) is evil in Matthew 15:19.
“The Cobaw vs CYC case highlights the erosion of our freedom of religion and association,” FamilyVoice state officer Pastor Peter Stevens said. “We have now reached a stage where a judge is deciding what Christians should believe – and Christians have lost the freedom to uphold and promote biblical sexuality for the common good.
“This outcome is tragic. Natural marriage and family are foundational institutions of our society.”
- Government and society