Backed by Equality Australia, teacher Rachel Colvin has launched legal action against Ballarat Christian College.

It’s the perfect example of why we need law that protect faith-based schools’ right to employ people who practice their ethos.

Colvin says she was forced to quit after refusing to abide by the school’s policy opposing same-sex marriage.

But Ballarat Christian College principal Ken Nuridin says they had “sought to find a solution with the teacher” and the “process was yet to be finalised when she resigned”.

After same sex marriage was legalized in December 2017, the school amended its constitution outlining its position on marriage: “A marriage can only be between a male and a female.”

When Colvin notified the school of her objections, the college indicated she was free to have her opinion but was required to teach in accordance with the beliefs of the school.

Principal Nuridin said Colvin’s legal action was unexpected.

“The college is surprised by the claim so long after the resignation and we are seeking advice on what response to take. This includes seeking advice on any exemptions under the Victorian or Commonwealth laws.”

Mr Nuridin said it would be “devastating” if the college could not teach its beliefs and hire staff “who will adhere to those beliefs”.

Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown disagreed, saying Australians “shouldn’t be hounded out of jobs simply because their religious beliefs support and affirm same-sex relationships, and respect the dignity of LGBTQI people”.

Mark Spencer of Christian Schools Australia affirmed the school’s stance.

“It is vital that all staff at the college can share, live out and express the beliefs of the college… unfortunately, Mrs Colvin has indicated that this would not be possible for her.”

Attorney-General Christian Porter said his draft religious discrimination bill will allow Christians schools to “make decisions that allow for the school to select students and staff of the same faith as that taught by the school.”

Time will tell.