04 July 2012
FOI request reveals government's disregard for impact of gay marriage in schools
The Daily Mail revelation that the government hadn't considered the position of schools ahead of announcing its consultation on gay marriage adds to concerns that the proposal is badly thought through, says the Alliance.
Inter-departmental emails requested under the Freedom of Information act show that the Home Office asked the Department for Education whether gay marriage legislation would change how schools presented the concept of marriage. It was reported that the Home Office hadn't even considered the issue and they admitted that the government may be 'walking into a minefield on this'.
In the same way that it is widely anticipated that churches will be sued for refusing to conduct gay 'marriage' ceremonies, it seems that faith schools will potentially fall foul of the law if they restrict their teaching about marriage to the biblical definition of it being exclusively between a man and a woman. If the marriage laws change, refusal to teach children about same-sex 'marriage' will render schools and teachers open to legal challenges that will threaten closure and the loss of jobs.
"Christianity plays a huge role in this country's education system. The gay 'marriage' legislation clearly threatens to undermine this vital cultural contribution," said Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy.
"Playing politics with marriage risks jeopardising not only the Christian provision of education by schools and teachers, but it also risks alienating parents, pupils and students who maintain the position that marriage is and always will be between a man and a woman. Needless to say the social implications of such a move are immeasurable.
"These emails between government departments show what little thought the government has given to the long-term implications redefining marriage. These revelations should concern us all. They suggest that more omnishambles are in the pipeline."
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.