By Hilary White

  BOURNEMOUTH, UK, May 31, 2007 ( – Britain’s heavily left-leaning University and College Union (UCU) that represents teachers and professors at the post-secondary level, says the recently passed Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR’s) do not go far enough. The union is calling for British law to be rewritten to prohibit teachers or schools from expressing any moral opposition to homosexuality or from promoting natural marriage in the classroom.

  At their annual conference in Bournemouth, members voted unanimously on a motion demanding that laws be changed to prohibit teachers from voicing opposition to homosexuality or the “gay” lifestyle. Members argued that the passage of the Sexual Orientation Regulations meant that “faith schools” ought to be forced to entirely cease teaching religious doctrines on sexual morality.

  Alan Whitaker, a gay activist and the UCU’s representative of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members told the delegates, “The regulations actually say that there is nothing to stop teachers proclaiming the superiority of heterosexual marriage.”

“The regulations say it’s unlawful to characterise same-sex relationships as inferior. But to my mind it’s rather difficult to see how you can do the one without implying you are doing the other.”

  Whitaker is a campaigner against “organized religion” that he wrote is “inherently homophobic”. As a member of UCU Left, the activist branch of the UCU that openly advocates for socialist and leftist causes, he penned an article in February arguing that Canterbury Christ Church University was a bastion of homophobia because the Anglican college refused to allow civil partnership ceremonies on campus.

  Stephen Desmond, a professor in media at Thames Valley University told union members, “We must never allow freedom of religion to be hijacked and used as a pretext to discriminate against gay and lesbian teenagers in schools.”

  Desmond, who serves as the Deputy Director/Director of Communications at the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCRJ), criticised the SOR’s, saying, “If a faith school (or indeed any school) teaches that the Christian and Muslim faiths decree that same- sex sexual activity is a sin, then the school will not be acting unlawfully”.

  The union called for an end to “bigoted” attitudes among teachers, insisting that they be prohibited from promoting natural marriage as a positive social value. Homosexuality, they said, must be given equal status as natural sexuality.

  Current rules on education say that children must be taught “the importance of marriage for family life.” Under these government guidelines, that predate the passage of the SOR’s, teachers are still allowed to express their personal opposition to homosexual lifestyles.

  In March, reported that the passage of the SOR’s could spell the end of Christian religious education in Britain. A report on implementation by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said that faith schools would be required to modify their religious instruction.

  The report said the law will not “prevent pupils from being taught as part of their religious education the fact that certain religions view homosexuality as sinful,” but schools may not teach “a particular religion’s doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true”.

  The UCU is Britain’s largest trade union and professional association for academics, representing 120,000 lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff.

  UK: Religious Schools May Not Teach Christian Sexual Morals “As if They Were Objectively True”


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