Minister defends Catholic schools against homophobia accusation

LONDON (CathNews) — The British Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has defended the right of Catholic schools to promote Church teaching on homosexuality following a complaint from the country’s Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC, had written to Mr Gove complaining that the distribution of “homophobic material” in some classrooms in Lancashire undermined equality laws.
In response, Mr Gove said: “The education provisions of the Equality Act which prohibit discrimination against individuals based on their protected characteristics (including their sexual orientation) do not extend to the content of the curriculum. Any materials used in sex and relationship education lessons, therefore, will not be subject to the discrimination provisions of the act.”
Mr Gove added: “If a school conveyed its beliefs in a way that involved haranguing, harassing or berating a gay or lesbian pupil or group of pupils, then this would be unacceptable in any circumstances and is likely to constitute unlawful discrimination.”
Mr Barber described Mr Gove’s reaction as “alarming” and said the distribution of “homophobic material” undermines a school’s legal duty to challenge all forms of prejudice.
The booklet was provided by Jason Evert, a Catholic author and speaker who toured schools throughout the Lancaster diocese in 2010, to promote chastity in accordance with Church teaching.
The booklet, entitled Pure Manhood: How to Become the Man God Wants You to Be, says that “the homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals”.

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Michael Otto

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