30 Jun 2013

Call for legality of ban on same-sex ball dates to be tested

9:46 pm on 30 June 2013

A youth lawyer says the legality of schools banning students from taking same sex partners to their balls has yet to be tested by the courts.

The Secondary Principals' Association has warned its members they could breach the Human Rights Act by not allowing students to bring same sex dates.

Youth Law managing solicitor Vanushi Walters says the firm receives queries on the issue from time to time but they are usually resolved before they go to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

She says it would be helpful if a case went to the Tribunal to allow a precedent to be set, to show schools that discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation is unlawful.

A support service for gay, bisexual and transgender youth says schools should allow same-sex couples to attend school balls as it allows them to feel included and accepted.

Rainbow Youth spokesperson Thomas Hamilton says schools should view students wanting to bring their partners as a success because it shows they feel safe and a valuable part of their school environment.

Mr Hamilton says schools should have a non-heterosexual student group to discuss any issues.