Schools could be forced to teach gay marriage
Mon, 2 Jul 2012
Secret Government emails reveal that schools could be forced to teach children about gay marriage if it becomes law.
The emails between officials at the Home Office and Department for Education came to light following a Freedom of Information request.
One official said the issue was a potential “minefield” and wanted “defensive lines to take” in case the press started asking questions.
The Government failed to tell the public about the impact on schools when asking people to respond to its consultation on the plans.
Schools are currently under a legal obligation to teach children about the importance of marriage in sex education classes.
If marriage is redefined, schools may be forced to teach gay marriage to children – sparking conflict with the beliefs of many parents and teachers.
Emails sent between unnamed officials at the Home Office and Department for Education discuss the matter.
The emails conclude with a document signed off by schools minister Nick Gibb confirming that teaching about marriage may have to change if marriage is redefined.
David Burrowes MP, who openly opposes plans to redefine marriage, said: “Teachers should be able to exercise their consciences according to their own views on marriage, but that could well be constrained by these proposals.
“As much as I am skeptical about the Government being able to exempt churches from conducting same-sex marriages, I also doubt whether it will be possible to construct exemptions for teachers.
“They would be open to legal challenges. Is the Government really going to order primary school teachers to go against the views of the churches that run them?”
The Coalition for Marriage opposes Government plans to redefine marriage and has gathered a petition of nearly 600,000 names.
Campaign Director Colin Hart said: “We have consistently warned about the unintended consequences of these ill thought out and profoundly undemocratic proposals.
“When we raised these concerns in February they were dismissed repeatedly by the Equalities Minister, who said that her plans would only affect civil marriage, but now these secret internal emails reveal that the Government was completely wrong.
“The discussion between the unnamed officials in the Home Office and DfE shows an astonishing lack of understanding of the legal position of marriage.
“Marriage appears more than 3,000 times in law, affecting every aspect of our lives. It is simply impossible to redefine it without many serious unintended consequences, not least forcing schools to teach children about gay marriage, even if this goes against the wishes of the parents, children and teachers.”