Catholic school gay marriage petition may break law

Students in UK Catholic schools have been encouraged to sign anti-gay marriage petition

Catholic school gay marriage petition may break law
26 April 2012

The British Humanist Association has told the Catholic Education Service (CES) that its 'absolutely outrageous' request that UK Catholic school pupils sign an anti-gay marriage petition may breach the law.

The secondary schools also directed students as young as 11 to a letter written last month that urged Catholic congregations to protect the sanctity of marriage in Britain.

Written by the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Archbishop of Westminster, the letter was read aloud to the country's more than a million Catholics who attend mass.

The British Humanist Association believes the CES has likely broken the Equality Act of 2010, which prohibits discrimination against pupils based on their sexual orientation.

The CES's actions are also believed to break the Education Act of 1996 that prohibits 'the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school'.

However, the Catholic Education Service rejects the suggestion that Catholic schools acted illegally.

'The Equality 2010 Act applied to all schools and we are fully supportive of the act. It is central to Catholic teaching that all individuals should be treated with respect and dignity,' said the CES in a statement.

The Catholic Education Service negotiates with government on behalf of all bishops to promote and safeguard Catholic interests in education.

The Catholic Education Service confirmed with PinkNews yesterday that at least 359 schools have been contacted.

The CES pointed out: 'The online petition itself makes it clear that people under the age of 16 cannot sign it. We will issue new guidance for our schools to ensure that they are aware of this.'

Conor Marron speaking for pro-gay campaign Coalition for Equal Marriage says: 'Children as young as 11 should not have to be drawn into political arguments such as this, in fact no school pupil should.

'We must protect freedom of religion and freedom of speech, but at all times any duty of care must come first, most especially when it comes to children.'

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Wentworth Miller to play villain on new CW series The Flash

Openly gay actor will gueat star as Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold
No thumbnail available

Sydney Convicts gay rugby union club beat Macquarie Uni in first pro match

Australia’s Sydney Convicts won their first match in a professional event against a side from Macquarie University on Sunday as Sydney prepares to host the Bingham Cup world cup of gay rugby
No thumbnail available

Illinois same-sex marriage bill passed on vote of Democrat whose son lay dying

Same-sex marriage passed in Illinois after Democratic Representative Naomi Jakobsson rushed from her son’s death bed to vote on the bill
No thumbnail available

Why Barclays literally covered its HQ with a giant rainbow flag

From celebrating the death of DOMA to helping homeless LGBT kids, Barclays sets out to serve the gay and trans community
No thumbnail available

60% of Hong Kong backs anti-gay hate laws

Survey finds Hong Kong people hold 'generally favorable' views of LGBTI people
No thumbnail available

Cover shoots and hangovers, London's new gay podcast

Introducing the Dylan and Jack gay podcast, the newest take on LGBTI London from the eyes of two young freelance journalists
No thumbnail available

Teacher sends touching apology to trans student

A teacher at the American Academy of Art used the wrong pronouns while speaking to a student, and decided to apologize
No thumbnail available

7 tips to being the feminine trans woman you are

Former My Transsexual Summer star and make-up artist Drew-Ashlyn shares more tips to being feminine and fabulous
No thumbnail available

UK teacher jailed for lesbian affair with student

Emily Fox will serve a jail sentence for having an affair with the 15-year-old female student, after their messages to each other were exposed
No thumbnail available

Virginia legislators pass bill that could block some gay adoptions

Private adoption agencies could deny placements based on religious  beliefs