The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has asked the Government to abandon its plans in the Equalities Bill published on Monday to allow schools to include denunciation of homosexuality as part of their sex and moral education programmes.

Under the proposal, schools with religious, or other agendas, will be free teach their pupils that all homosexual relationships are morally evil, without even a basic requirement to present alternative moral standpoints.

It has often been reported that many pupils who either know or suspect that they are gay, feel isolated, and are often ostracised by their peers.

Unsurprisingly, experience has found that even where bullying is officially “condemned”, anti gay statements by teachers will be interpreted as a ‘green light’ to bullies, and, with openly hostile teachers, the victims will be left with no one whom they feel that they can trust to help them.

A recent survey showed a significantly higher rate of homophobic bullying in church sponsored schools than in other UK schools. Other surveys have shown very high rates of attempted suicide among young gay people.

“This confirms the worst fears of those of us who believe that taxpayers’ money should not be used to support schools promoting a religious agenda,” GALHA secretary David Christmas commented this morning.

“Humanists believe that, while teachers are entitled to their own opinions on issues such as marriage, civil partnerships, contraception and homosexuality, the education system should not allow them to present these as unchallengeable ‘facts’.

“All pupils, gay and straight are entitled to an intelligent discussion of the moral issues associated with sexuality and relationships, not one purely based on religious or other diktats,” he continued.

“If the government wants a generation of young gay people to grow up who feel isolated, embittered, and alienated from the rest of society, then they are going the right way about it.

“Ideally state funding of religious schools should be phased out,” he suggested.

“Failing this, the least that we as taxpayers should expect is that schools be required to offer relevant education and support to all of their pupils, including those who are, or may be, gay and lesbian.”

GALHA is asking the Government to withdraw what it calls “this extraordinarily ill thought-out damaging” proposal.

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