Whilst giving evidence to the The Public Bill Committee of the House of Commons around the equal marriage bill, the Coalition for Marriage blamed potential marriage equality for a shortage of teachers.
Dr Sharon James suggested that teachers would face the sack for voicing their opposition to equal marriage, and said that she knew of many people who were “scared” to go into teaching because of that.
She went on to say that many experienced teachers had said they would retire early, for fear of getting into trouble for voicing anti-equal marriage opinions. She said it was “unfair to deprive” the UK of good teachers because of that.
The anti-gay campaigner went on to compare equal marriage with increased police checks for charity volunteers working with vulnerable people, suggesting that more people were being put off by marriage becoming legal.
Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, who voted in favour of equal marriage, then drew a comparison between what Dr James said, and claims from her own constituents that shovelling snow from their driveways would cause them to be sued if someone slipped over on the snow.
She said that, just because people make such claims, it didn’t make them legally correct, and dismissed the idea that teachers would be sacked as “nonsense”.
Referring to teachers who are currently anti-abortion, she said that, as long as personal views were voiced in a “resonable” manner, it was acceptable for teachers to hold them.
Stephen Gilbert said he wanted to “lift the veil” on whether or not the Coalition for Marriage primarily wanted to protect “traditional” marriage, or was opposed to equal marriage.
Dr James said, referring to “man-woman marriage”, that she was opposed to the idea of same-sex couples getting married.
Despite saying: “None of us want discrimination”, Dr James went on to say that there was no way she thought marriage “can or should or will be between a same sex couple”.
Claiming the need for a referendum, Dr James said that there were people “on both sides of the argument” who wanted one.