Gay rights leaders in Chile have said they are disappointed at the government’s stance regarding a lesbian teacher who is being denied re-certification.

Sandra Pavez taught religious education at a state elementary school in Santiago for 21 years.

The Roman Catholic church revoked her permission to teach religion after finding out she is a lesbian.

In Chile religious education teachers legally have to be certified by a religious authority in order to teach.

Last month an appeals court rejected Ms Pavez’ claim that her constitutional rights had been violated by the actions of the church.

The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Freedom (MOVILH) met with ministry of education officials earlier this week, but said they were disappointed with the outcome.

The education minister pulled out of the meeting, which MOVILH said was the biggest confrontation they have had with the government.

MOVILH president Rolando Jiménez told The Santiago Times that despite the publicity surrounding the case, the education ministry did not take a clear stance on Ms Pavez’s case.

“When it comes to issues that have to do with sexual orientation, with discrimination, the minister looks away, looks at the ceiling, and there’s no response, no initiative on the part of the ministry,” Mr Jiménez said.

“Here, the ministry of education and President Michelle Bachelet are rowing in different directions.

“While the Ministry doesn’t want to clarify whether or not it rejects discrimination based on sexual orientation, the President has rejected homophobia in various speeches. This is unbelievable.”