Here’s myth no.7 in our top 10 myths about gay marriage.
Myth: Teachers who oppose gay-marriage will be fired
Bust: Colin Hart, Campaign Director of the Coalition for Marriage, claimed that: “Tens of thousands of teachers face the real prospect of being disciplined, or sacked, over the Government’s proposals to redefine marriage, creating a poisonous atmosphere in every staffroom in every school.”
In response David Evans, employment partner at Cripps Harries Hall Solicitors, told Human Resources website HRZone: “I think that such fears have been hugely exaggerated and will soon die down.”
“The law recognises the individual’s freedom to maintain their own religious belief, both publicly and privately.
He added: ”I cannot foresee a situation where thousands of teachers will be disciplined, let alone dismissed, as a result of their religious views.
“Second, the Government has assured teachers that there will be no requirement to promote same sex marriages in the classroom, merely to inform that the law will now recognise marriage on this basis.
“Only in the most extreme of cases, will there be an issue,” he concluded. “It is likely that even in these circumstances an alternative solution to discipline and/or dismissal will be found.”
Recently a Labour amendment for mandatory sex and relationship education in schools failed to get the support of enough MPs. The Clause 20 amendment to the Children and Families Bill for called for statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education but was voted down by 303 MPs – 219 supported the amendment.
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Equalities, Yvette Cooper, stressed how Clause 20 could dramatically help in the fight against homophobic bullying and poor rates of sexual health in the LGBT community, by making PSHE part of the statutory curriculum.The National AIDS Trust (NAT) and the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) both welcomed the senior Labour MP’s comments.
As teachers cannot be compelled to provide PSHE education, it is very difficult to see how a refusal to teach the subject could be grounds for dismissal.