The Education Secretary has expressed fears that the Government will be powerless to prevent primary school teachers from being sacked, if they refuse to teach children about gay marriage.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, a senior source in Michael Gove’s department said that the UK was not “in control” and any final decisions might inevitably rest with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The Government’s bill on same-sex marriage was published today and will be debated in the House of Commons on February 5.
But equalities minister, Maria Miller, has tried to reassure teachers that their jobs will not be under threat once the bill has passed.
She told the Today programme on Radio 4: “Look, teachers are able to and entitled to express their views about same-sex marriage and there’s no requirement at all for them to promote it but, obviously, we wouldn’t expect teachers to be offensive or discriminate in any way about anybody.”
She continued: “I think it’s important to say that in the context of talking about religious belief, perhaps in a church school that, there are different views on these matters, that there are views that marriage is between a man and a woman, particularly when it comes to, say, the Church of England, the Catholic church or the Church in Wales.
“You think you always expect our teachers to teach in a balanced way and nothing changed in that respect, but, obviously, it’s important that children do know that there are different beliefs within different religious faiths.”