Church Schools Want Gay Bias Laws Opt-Out
Byline: LAURA CLARK
CHURCH schools are demanding to be allowed to carry on teaching that the Bible forbids homosexuality.
The Church of England has written to the Government requesting exemptions from proposed new laws banning discrimination against gay men and women.
Bishops insisted they were not seeking to discriminate against pupils or their families when deciding who to admit or discipline for poor behaviour.
But they said faith schools must be allowed to continue to teach in sex education and RE lessons that homosexuality and bisexuality are at odds with the teachings of the Bible.
The plea came in a submission to the Government's women and equality unit which has published plans for new rules barring discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Since the proposals were published, former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has become head of the unit.
A devout Roman Catholic, she has been criticised for refusing to deny that she believes homosexuality is sinful.
Currently, many faith schools make children aware of different sexual practices but underline that anything other than sexual relationships between men and women are contrary to the Bible.
In a submission to the unit, the Church said there was a ' potential conflict' between the proposedregulations and the need for faith schools 'to operate in a way that is consistent with their school's ethos'.
It said existing Government guidance 'explicitly allows schools to teach in a way consistent with their religious ethos'. Church schools would wish to 'retain that freedom'.
The submission added: 'Imposing a duty not to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation in relation to the content and delivery of the curriculum would again seem to expose them (schools) to the possibility of legal challenge. …