Equality Act does not require schools to teach same-sex marriage, Bishop Urquhart

Mar 17, 2019 by

by Will Jones, Rebel Priest:

Rebel Priest reported on Thursday that the Diocese of Birmingham has responded to pleas from the concerned parents protesting at Parkfield Community School in Saltley, Birmingham, over inappropriate sex education with a flat refusal to recognise their concerns. 

Leaving aside for the moment the diplomatic snub this represents, it is worth taking a closer look at the reasons given by the diocese for not supporting the parents’ cause. Writing for the diocese and on behalf of David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, Kate Stowe, his Chaplain, contends that it is ‘delivering the Equalities [sic] Act’ that mandates the school’s programme notwithstanding the parents’ objections.

But this is misleading and inaccurate as it wrongly asserts that the Equality Act 2010 obliges schools as a ‘requirement of the law’ to teach children about ‘the right for people to choose their identity and who they wish to love.’ In fact, government guidance is clear that the Equality Act specifically does not apply to a school’s curriculum and further spells out that no school or teacher is under any obligation to ‘support, promote or endorse marriage of same sex couples.’

The diocese is also incorrect to suggest that there is a right under British law for people to ‘choose their identity’ or ‘who they wish to love’, since no such right is stated in any UK legislation. Certainly there is no legal obligation arising from the Equality Act for schools to teach such things to children.

Rather, the government guidance makes clear that the Equality Act was drafted specifically so as to leave schools free to teach in accordance with their own religious or educational ethos – something the Church of England should know better than most. This means that the diocese’s argument to concerned parents that the school is somehow obliged under the Equality Act to teach controversial matters of sexuality to primary school children is incorrect as a matter of law.

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