That’s how I think this should be framed:
One of Brisbane’s most prestigious all-boy schools says its willing to debate a ban on gay students taking same-sex partners instead of girls to the senior formal.The Anglican Church Grammar School, or Churchie, was in defence mode after it emerged several Year 12 students wanted to take their gay partners to the college’s end-of year dance on June 19.
Under current policy, the young men may only attend the ball with a female partner.
[. . .]
A spokesman for Queensland’s Catholic Education Commission confirmed it also would not allow gay couples to attend their school formals.
Because under current funding arrangements, every tax dollar that is given to these schools is a tacit endorsement of discrimination against a subset of students based upon their sexual orientation.
As a teacher, I don’t oppose in principle giving public funds to private schools: elite and wealthy schools aside, many independent schools have tight budgets, and every little bit helps. As a rule, I think money spent on education is money well spent–wherever it is spent. But given that anti-discrimination laws in most jurisdictions would preclude the kind of homophobic bigotry we’re seeing in “Churchie” and the Queensland Catholic Education system, it stands to reason that the taxpayer funding of fee-charging independent schools should be conditional upon those schools playing by the same rules as everyone else.
Instead, yet again we see this disturbing willingness of governments to tiptoe on eggshells around Bronze Age religious dogma, all in the name of a misguided notion of “religious freedom” as “the freedom to trample over the rights and freedoms of others.”
It just shouldn’t happen in a self-described secular liberal democracy.