UNITED KINGDOM by Hal G.P. ColebatchNews Weekly
Tories' bid to promote same-sex 'marriage' in schools
, October 25, 2014
The British Conservative-led coalition government of David Cameron has published new regulations which appear to actively promote homosexual “marriage” over heterosexual marriage to schoolchildren.
British Prime Minister
Cameron has long been a high-profile supporter of homosexual marriage on the grounds that it is allegedly a conservative institution, a reason many find ludicrously false, although I have no evidence that Britain has yet descended to the blasphemous imbecility of St John’s Anglican Church in Ontario, Canada, which posted a billboard in front of its church with the message: “Jesus had two dads and he turned out just fine.”
The new regulations require independent schools in England to actively promote the rights enshrined in the so-called Equality Act. Schools will be put under pressure to promote homosexual marriage.
This is confirmed by an 18-page formal legal opinion prepared by John Bowers QC for The Christian Institute (UK) on the effects of the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010.
This conflicts directly with previous guidance and assurances issued by the government. It is further evidence that the universal enforcement of political correctness, even in private institutions, is creating a kind of “soft totalitarianism” reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
The new Independent School Standards regulations (not laws passed by Parliament) change the legal framework for all schools.
The new standards require all schools to actively promote principles which, set out in greasy bureaucratese, “encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010(a)”.
The Equality Act has already caused endless litigation with, for example, homosexual couples resorting to the courts to force Christian bakers to bake wedding-cakes for them and for the staffs of guilty bakeries who objected to attend courses in correct political thought (would even the late great satirist Peter Simple have imagined this?).
Colin Hart, national campaign director of Britain’s Coalition for Marriage (C4M), states: “If schools were required to promote respect for people as people, there would be no problem. But the additional requirement of ‘paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010’ transforms the duty in an alarming way.
“One of the ‘protected characteristics’ in the Equality Act is sexual orientation. It could easily be alleged that a teacher who says ‘I believe same-sex marriage is not real marriage’ has shown a lack of respect for people of a same-sex sexual orientation.
“Under existing equality law, schools cannot discriminate against pupils but [previously] governments have carefully excluded the school curriculum from the Equality Act. The regulations break the seal around the curriculum for the first time. Now activists could launch a discrimination claim over the content of lessons….“Schools will come under immense pressure to endorse same-sex marriage in order to comply with these regulations. Since the equality rights must be ‘actively promoted’, they will undoubtedly change what is taught in schools.
“The Government keeps talking about ‘British values’ but seems to think this means promoting political correctness. In its alarming consultation document, the Government lets slip some of its thinking.”
This document includes, under “spiritual, moral and cultural development of students”, the following diktat:
“… Schools will be expected to focus on, and be able to show how, their work with pupils is effective in embedding fundamental British values. ‘Actively promote’ also means challenging pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values.”
In light of what follows, it might be asked, since when has homosexual marriage been a “fundamental British value”? It does not seem to have been a guiding light for Alfred the Great, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Pitt, Nelson, Wellington or Churchill.
Hart says: “It’s astonishing that the Government thinks [private] schools should challenge the personal beliefs of parents for being contrary to political correctness. This could lead a head teacher to reprimand a parent who tells their child that marriage is for a man and a woman.”
The new regulations further state: “The new requirement for schools to actively promote principles which encourage respect for persons with protected characteristics (as set out in the Equality Act 2010) is intended to allow the Secretary of State to take regulatory action in various situations: for example where girls are disadvantaged on the grounds of their gender; failure to address homophobia; or where prejudice against those of other faiths is encouraged or not adequately challenged by the school.”
And what of the children whose family beliefs and values the authorities succeed in adequately “challenging”? Will they, to quote Peter Simple, grow into arid, self-righteous prigs? Will they turn into workers for politically-correct policy groups?
Queen Elizabeth I, even during the fierce and savage religious wars of the Reformation, recognised the dangers of totalitarian thought control. She would not, she said, make windows into men’s souls.
My own experience of school days is that when boys found out about homosexuality, generally before puberty, they regarded it as mildly funny. They might at times feel intense admiration for an older boy, generally a sports hero, but grew out of this. “Homophobia” was simply never an issue.
Personally, I for some years had a real “phobia” about skeletons (and would not even eat fish with bones in it), but never about homosexuality. I also grew out of this phobia. No big deal.
John Bowers QC, in his legal opinion, advises in part: “As a matter of European human rights law, attendance at school does not deprive the parents of their right to ‘exercise with regard to their children natural parental functions as educators, or to guide their children on a path in line with the parents’ own religious or philosophical convictions’…” (p. 2).
However, under the new regulations the schools must ensure that principles are actively promoted which further “tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions” by enabling “pupils to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures”; and “encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010” (pp. 3–4).
Mr Bowers comments: “The protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010 are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation….
“This use of the principles under the Equality Act in the new amendments in relation to ‘paying particular regard to the protected characteristics’ is not in itself about equal treatment but about how children are to think and express themselves and how teachers should encourage them to do so. This is to permeate all teaching of the curriculum in independent schools.
“Indeed, further. the Consultation Document talks about schools challenging students, staff and parents, which may relate to respect for the various protected characteristics. This stresses the active nature of the duties which are now to be imposed.
“More generally, there is a danger that the curriculum becomes politicised not least because respect for some protected characteristics (or more correctly respect of those with different protected characteristics including faiths and beliefs) may be highly contentious.
“The law has thus far stayed steadfastly outside the classroom door (and indeed from promoting respect in the classroom) and this has been the policy of governments of each political colour. Usually issues of academic judgment whether at school or university are treated by the courts as not being matters for the courts to adjudicate upon…” (pp. 5–7).
Thus, it appears that under the new regulations, in a quite new development in English educational jurisprudence, students and others who express disagreement with homosexual marriage are to be “challenged”. Are teachers who do so to be prosecuted or sacked?
This will, of course, affect not only Judeo-Christian schools, parents and teachers. Many West Indian parents (among many of whom strict Seventh-Day Adventist schools are important), not to mention Muslims, may have something to say.
Mr Hart says: “As we know from recent history, reasonable opposition to same-sex marriage is routinely described as ‘homophobia’. Does the new equality requirement mean a school must discipline or dismiss a teacher who voices support for traditional marriage? Will parents of prospective pupils be interrogated about their beliefs before their child is granted a place at school?”
The new regulations are an indictment of the politically-correct bullying of the present Tory-Liberal Democrat government, pandering to a small vocal minority over the values of the conventional Judeo-Christian family.
It is not surprising that conservatively-minded voters are abandoning in droves a conservative party — which has almost nothing to do with social conservatism — for the new United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip).
Hal G.P. Colebatch, PhD, is a Perth author and lawyer. His most recent book, Fragile Flame: The Uniqueness and Vulnerability of Scientific and Technological Civilization, is available from News Weekly Books.
Colin Hart, “Dangerous new school regulations published”, Coalition for Marriage (UK), October 4, 2014.
John Bowers QC, “Advice on the effect of proposed new independent school standards”, The Christian Institute (UK), September 22, 2014.