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.'



No thumbnail available

Gale Harold laments about missing Queer as Folk reunion in Germany

Tells fans: 'I hope you will all understand and forgive my absence'
No thumbnail available

Gay Australia ambassador offers to resign after Prime Minister Tony Abbott snubs partner

Diplomat's boyfriend is told to wait in car instead of greeting PM
Trust me I've managed a gay sex club, gay men need PrEP now

Trust me I've managed a gay sex club, gay men need PrEP now

Cal Strode has tried to get gay men to wear condoms for years, it's time for a different tack
No thumbnail available

Homophobia in sport: The IOC is the problem, let it be the solution

The International Olympic Committee needs to show its commitment to both helping Russia’s LGBT community through the Sochi Winter Olympics and tackling homophobia in sport
Why Wickes is building itself a reputation as an LGBT-friendly brand

Why Wickes is building itself a reputation as an LGBT-friendly brand

SPONSORED: Meet the Wickes store manager who initiated the DIY store’s hook-up with Manchester Pride
No thumbnail available

Katie Hopkins faces off with lesbian columnist - that was a mistake

Jack Monroe managed to take the controversial Sun columnist down
No thumbnail available

US federal judge stalls on West Virginia gay marriage case

Three couples filed their case against the state's same-sex marriage ban approximately a year ago
No thumbnail available

African-American church leader accuses Obama of releasing 'homo demons'

'Obama has released the homo demons on the black man. Look out black women. A white homo may take your man'
No thumbnail available

Anderson Cooper's talk show gets a revamp

Will be called Anderson Live when it's launched second season next month
No thumbnail available

Oklahoma state House candidate defends stoning gays

'What I will tell you right now is that was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God. And in that time, it was totally just, it came directly from God'