Same sex discrimination and religious camp facilities

 Cobaw Community Health Services v Christian Youth Camps Ltd & Anor (Anti-Discrimination) [2010] VCAT 1613


An example of the application of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 and Equal Opportunity Act 1995 in respect of a finding of discrimination against the Christian Brethren religion who operated Christian Youth Camps Limited (CYC), which it was said they refused to provide the camp facility (services) to Cobaw Community Health Services Limited, who provided youth suicide prevention targeting same sex attracted young people in rural areas.

There was a conflict in the evidence and the applicant’s version was preferred that a booking was refused. The respondent submitted that the formal requirements of completing an application form together with a deposit had not been made. Her Honour Judge Hampel rejected this as a narrow interpretation.

Her Honour also rejected the exclusions based religious beliefs and ordered:


The conduct of the respondents in refusing the booking was clearly based on their objection to homosexuality. They are entitled to their personal and religious beliefs. They are not entitled to impose their beliefs on others in a manner that denies them the enjoyment of their right to equality and freedom from discrimination in respect of a fundamental aspect of their being. Having done so, and in a manner that understandably caused hurt and offence, compensation is appropriate.


I order the respondents pay compensation in the amount of $5,000.

Brisbane Barrister – David Cormack

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