From 1 August 2013 it will be unlawful under federal law to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their:
- sexual orientation
- gender identity
- intersex status
Same-sex couples are now also protected from discrimination under the new definition of ‘marital or relationship status’ (this was previously ‘marital status’).
The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Act 2013 (Cth) (SDA Amendment Act) inserts the new grounds into the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SDA).
Most states and territories have some form of protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the SDA Amendment Act introduces more inclusive definitions and addresses gaps such as a lack of coverage for acts or practices of the federal government. It also qualifies the exemptions for religious organisations to the effect that it does not apply to conduct connected with the provision of Commonwealth-funded aged care services. It also includes the new ground of intersex status which is not covered by any other law.