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Christian school forces teachers to sign contract swearing they’ll always be straight

Group of christianity people pray together by using their hands to hold up a medium-sized cross.
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A Christian K-12 school is under fire for making teachers sign contracts committing to being straight.

At Brisbane, Australia’s Citipointe Christian College, a K-12 school, the employment contracts reportedly state teachers may only express sexuality “through heterosexual, monogamous relationships, expressed intimately through marriage” and says violating these terms could result in termination.

Related: Hero teacher resigns after being told to sign a contract comparing homosexuality to pedophilia

The news comes only a few months after it was revealed that the same school asked parents to sign a statement of faith condemning homosexuality and comparing it to bestiality and pedophilia. The statement of faith also included a refusal to acknowledge students’ gender identities other than the sex they were assigned at birth.

The statements were withdrawn after massive outcry, and the principal, pastor Brian Mulheran, stepped down.

But the school is at it again. The employment contracts, obtained by The Guardian, were signed by the new acting principal, Ruth Gravestein, and were dated after the controversy over the statement of faith.

In addition to forbidding homosexuality, the employment contract also states that “It is a genuine occupational requirement” to “not act in a way he knows, or ought reasonably to know, is contrary to the religious beliefs of the college.”

The wording is reportedly similar to Queensland’s anti-discrimination act, which gives religious institutions the right to discriminate if a person “openly acts in a way that the person knows or ought reasonably to know is contrary to the employer’s religious beliefs.” It also states that employer’s can discriminate if “it is a genuine occupational requirement of the employer that the person, in the course of, or in connection with, the person’s work, act in a way consistent with the employer’s religious beliefs.”

But lawyers don’t think the teacher contracts hold up.

Matilda Alexander, president of the LGBTI Legal Service, said it “is far beyond the power of any employer in Queensland” because it “seeks to prohibit conduct that is not in connection with the workplace by stopping an employee acting in a way that is contrary to the religious beliefs of the college, whether or not this is done openly.”

In a statement, the school said it was reviewing the contracts and that “new wording is awaiting approval.”

During the previous scandal involving the statement of faith for students, former principal Mulheran defended the contract in a statement, saying that Citipointe has “always held these Christian beliefs and we have tried to be fair and transparent to everyone in our community by making them clear in the enrollment contract.”

Ultimately, Mulheran apologized stating that “I hope that by withdrawing the contract we can return all our focus to the Christian education of our students.”

But Mulheran still doubled down on the school’s beliefs.

“Our society gives freedom to people to be a part of groups with shared beliefs. Citipointe has the freedom to maintain its Christian ethos and this is an essential part of Christian education and choice for parents.

“As a college established for religious purposes, we will continue to provide an education based on our shared beliefs.”

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