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Gay students immune from expulsion as government waters down religious freedom bill

Students can not be expelled from school for being gay, under an amendment to the government's religious freedom act.

The Sex Discrimination Act is set to be changed to prevent discrimination against school students on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, even at religious schools in which acceptance of homosexuality contradicts the faith's teachings.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been under intense pressure to protect LGBTIQ+ students after introducing his religious discrimination bill to parliament.

The bill aims to shield people making statements about their religious beliefs from being subject to existing discrimination laws, and allow religious schools and organisations to hire according to faith.

Scott Morrison's government has watered down some provisions in its religious freedom bill in order to get the support of its own MPs. The alteration has been slammed as a 'shady backroom deal'.

The draft laws sparked concern it would green light discrimination against vulnerable groups including people who are same-sex attracted and gender diverse.

As it stands now, the act allows religious schools to discriminate on the basis of factors including sexuality, gender identity 'in good faith in order to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents of that religion or creed'.

Moderate Liberal MPs have secured a commitment from the government to change the Sex Discrimination Act as a condition for supporting the bill.

Christian Schools Australia opposes the change, labelling it a 'shady backroom deal'.

'Simply removing that provision would impact what we could teach at Christian schools and other faith-based schools and stop us from imposing reasonable standards of behaviour on students,' spokesman Mark Spencer told AAP.

Two parliamentary committees, one looking at legal and constitutional issues and another at human rights, will examine the bill.

They are both due to report back by February 4.

Labor has indicated it supports protecting religious people from discrimination, but is withholding its final position on whether to support the bill until after the inquiries.