We were appalled to read that the Catholic Education Service had written to state-funded Catholic schools to push them into taking a stand against gay marriage (Catholic state schools promote petition against gay marriage, 26 April).
Brook and FPA do not believe there is a place for this type of lobbying. It raises serious concerns about the impact on the school community and on individuals who are gay or have family members who are gay. Schools have a duty to work within the equal opportunities statement of the national curriculum, and faith-based schools are not exempt.
The young people who responded to this naked attempt by the Catholic Education Service to induce bigotry and intolerance about gay marriage into their school day, by advocating for gay rights instead, should be congratulated. It takes courage to stand up for one’s convictions, especially when this pressure comes from those in authority.
Brook and FPA support young people’s rights to make choices based on accurate and balanced information. And this is as true for their political and religious views as it is for their sexual health decision-making.
Simon Blake CEO, Brook
Julie Bentley CEO, FPA
• The Catholic Education Service should not be seeking to influence pupils to sign petitions against gay marriage. This entirely breaches the spirit of the Equality Act.
Many Catholic schools will have students and teachers who are gay or questioning their sexual orientation. Students may have family members who are gay or lesbian. It is important that all our schools promote equality, value diversity and implement effective strategies to eradicate homophobia. Students in every school need to discuss human rights and be prepared for a world where gay and straight people are equal.
The Catholic Education Service has failed to realise that
This article originally appeared on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/29/no-place-for-prejudice-in-schools?newsfeed=true