The Welsh Government has told Catholic schools that they must give a “balanced perspective” when discussing same-sex marriage with their pupils.
Leighton Andrews, the Welsh Education Minister, claims that the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CESEW) may have breached the 1996 Education Act for promoting a petition in schools against the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
The CESEW came under criticism last month when it distributed Archbishop Nichols of Westminster’s pastoral letter on marriage to almost 400 schools.
The CESEW declined to comment on the Education Minister’s letter and reiterated an earlier statement concerning its distribution of the archbishop’s letter, which said: “The letter is a positive affirmation of marriage, as is the Coalition for Marriage’s online petition. As the letter says, Catholics believe that ‘marriage is a high and noble vocation’.
“We reject the suggestion that Catholic schools have acted illegally. The Equality Act 2010 applies to all schools and we are fully supportive of the Act. It is central to Catholic teaching that all individuals should be treated with respect and dignity.”