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Gay rights activists warn of reintroduction of ‘Section 28 style’ discrimination in Scotland’s schools

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  1. I hope that these concerns are unfounded and the equal marriage legislation doesn’t lead to any kind of discriminatory laws being put in place in Scottish schools. We don’t need Souter running another bigoted, homophobic campaign in Scotland.

    I’m sick of only getting equality on the condition that religions get opt outs on that equality.

  2. Section 28, I thought, existed when CPs weren’t around. Surely schools already have to teach children about the existence of CPs (which is more or less SSM) and as a result talking about homosexuality would naturally take place. What do they currently say about CPs? Perhpas the laws need to be changed at the moment so that they start teaching children about what CPs are as well.

    I agree with Care’s comment ““Arguably it may even increase the occurrence of homosexual relationships.” and for me that is a positive thing since children will be told that homosexual relationship are not wrong.

    There people need to live in the real world. Children have access to the internet, TV, mags and the whole media is full of SSM. They can’t hide it and stop children from finding out about it.

    1. Jock S. Trap 11 Mar 2013, 10:51am

      Indeed but this is an attempt to give the nasty little bigots all the power to use their hatred and discrimination even more and against children.

      I wish they would take a good look at themselves but I fear as per usual they would only carry on ignoring their blatant bigotry and blame all others instead.

      It’s their way!

  3. According to the article, it’s the public consultation process which has caused these fears.

    I do question the need for a second public consultation – this time on a draft Bill – not just on the principle of equal marriage, as the first public consultation was.

    Can the public at large really advise a government and civil servants (who are used to working on Bills) on the nuances of a Bill?

    It’s also unusual for a draft Bill to be put to a public consultation like this. I’ve been told it’s only the second time it’s ever happened.

  4. Lukefromcanada 11 Mar 2013, 12:45am

    Concerns have been expressed that should so-called ‘same-sex marriage’ be introduced it is likely that children will be taught in school that marriage can be between two people of the same sex.

    “To raise a generation of children with such a subjective view of marriage, is a huge social experiment which is likely to result in severely detrimental consequences.

    “Arguably it may even increase the occurrence of homosexual relationships.”

    and yet when one is asked what would the detrimental effects be no one can come up with any. In addition by being thaught that marriage can be between two people of the same sex is not going to change whether one is in a homosxual relationship.

    I am sick to death of people using the “think of the children” helen lovejoy route when it is really that they are uncomfortable but have no reason to be and thus are preying on the childrens innocence, the very thing they seek to “protect”

  5. casparthegood 11 Mar 2013, 1:45am

    After their recent trouble the catholic church may not feel it’s the right time to start picking ‘moral’ fights with the executive. I am not so sure about the other lot though. The saving grace is that the majority of normal(ordinary) Scots don’t seem to be bothered either way and are frankly a bit sick of religous interference in public affairs. We have much more important things to worry about right now.

  6. Once Equal Marriage is enacted, there will be nothing ‘subjective’ about it.

    I do think the Equality Network is right to raise this flag, though.

    1. I wonder if the Equality Network are just raising a flag about the possibility of this happening, or if they’re heard rumours that the Scottish government actually plan to do this. It would be interesting to know.

      1. Equality Network 11 Mar 2013, 12:56pm

        Our concern is that this is what Scotland for Marriage, and their members such as CARE, are pressing for as their top priority. There’s also been a big focus on it in the Committee stage of the England / Wales bill. There is no indication that the Scottish Govt plan to do it, but there is no doubt that Scotland for Marriage will be lobbying them and MSPs hard.

        That’s why it’s so important for people to respond to the consultation on the bill which has 9 days to run:

        http://www.equalmarriage.org.uk/consultation

        1. Thanks for the clarification! I had been worried that there was more to this story than the Equality Network simply warning of a possible outcome, and that there were already plans by the Scottish government to do something like this. I’m glad that’s not the case!

          I still wonder why a full public consultation on the draft Bill was decided necessary, rather then the Scottish government simply asking experts to tidy it up. It makes it seem as if the Scottish government is open to suggestion on what should be a clear policy – full equality for gay people.

          It’s a pity the Scottish government didn’t just take an unequivocal posititon from the start instead of all this “listen to all views” nonsense, particularly when those views include people who are dead against marriage equality and nothing will change their minds.

  7. Schools can already talk about civil partnerships if they so wish and no one is kicking up a fuss about it. They can also talk about homosexuals and homosexuality at present and no one is kicking up a fuss about that either. Nothing, therefore, has changed, except that these opposition groups are trying to make illegal what is already legal. Why did they wait until the equal marriage debate? Brian Souter is behind this.

    1. Let’s hope Brian Souter isn’t behind it since he’s one of the SNP’s largest financial donors – and they already dropped their long-standing bus re-regulation policy just after he gave them half a million quid in 2007.

    2. I don’t believe that the Act granting CPs included a clause legally entitling teachers to indicate their disapproval of CPs. That’s the difference. The Bill for same-sex marriage includes a clause assuring “disapproving” teachers (homophobic teachers) that they will NOT be disciplined for not showing respect for homosexual marriage. Mike, this is why we have to persuade MPs to drop that clause, regardless of the hullabaloo that homophobic teachers will raise.

      It’s going to be very interesting seeing what changes the committee makes to the Bill. I fear that they may not remove that clause.

      1. *** Correction: There is not (yet) a clause in the Bill exempting teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage. However, at the reading several weeks ago and during the current meetings of the committee, there have been numerous CALLS for such a clause exempting teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage. During the recent debate Maria Miller was repeatedly asked if teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage will be disciplined and she repeatedly said they would not be. However, there is no clause in the Bill giving such an assurance to teaches who disapprove, and therefore opponents of the Bill are eager for Ms. Miller to include such an assurance.

  8. On The other Hand 11 Mar 2013, 10:46am

    Since when is anything about marriage taught in schools? Is it on the National Curriculum?

    There was nothing about it when I went to school.

    1. Well, imagine that there is no subject called “Marriage”. That doesn’t mean, does it, that teachers don’t refer to marriage in the course of teaching many other subjects!

      For example, a Maths problem: “A man takes 15 minutes to climb a hill. His wife takes 10 minutes. If the man weighs X, and the wife weighs Y, then how long . . . “.

      Now, if the clause that has been proposed remains in the Bill, then a homophobic Maths teacher will have the law behind him or her, when they REFUSE to include at least one Maths problem that states:

      “A man takes 15 minutes to climb a hill. His husband takes 10 minutes. If the man weighs X, and the other man weighs Y, then how long . . . “.

      Now, do you see the ramifications?

      And if an assertive pupil asks WHY such a problem is not included, the teacher will be legally entitled to explain why he disapproves of homosexual marriage.

      This is why the proposed get-out clause for teachers is “Section 28 by Stealth”.

      1. ** Correction: There is not (yet) a clause in the Bill exempting teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage. However, at the reading several weeks ago and during the current meetings of the committee, there have been numerous CALLS for such a clause exempting teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage. During the recent debate Maria Miller was repeatedly asked if teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage will be disciplined and she repeatedly said they would not be. However, there is no clause in the Bill giving such an assurance to teaches who disapprove, and therefore opponents of the Bill are eager for Ms. Miller to include such an assurance.

      2. Nobody uses a “man and his wife” problem questions for maths anymore they use people’s names for them.

  9. Jock S. Trap 11 Mar 2013, 10:49am

    Absolutely appalling!!

    It comes to something when the religious, the bigots would rather teach hatred and discrimination than equality and love!

    And to children too!!

    There again, nothing new but doesn’t that teach US all something about religion and the extreme religious?!

  10. Gove was clear, schools will have to teach what the law is, period. Then, a faith school or faith teacher can tell students what they believe their faith interprets marriage to be. And presumably teachers who are for equality and teach what they believe.

    Strangely my Economics teacher was a Socialist but trying to pry any sort of biased views from him was near impossible – he was a professional and didn’t seek to indoctrinate children. But in the Catholic and other faiths, children are their only means of perpetuating the faith, and indoctrination is the method used.

    There will be no new Section 2A or Section 28, it would be unthinkable, and goes against one of the reasons for equal marriage, that our relationships should be treated … and taught … as equal. Already most people are against faith schools, they know they are divisive and a danger to society, they can be breeding grounds for homophobia, they threaten teachers with expulsion for unmarried relationships or CPs.

    1. Remember, Gulliver, Michael Gove has no power over education in Scotland, it’s devolved to the Scottish government.

      It seems to me, if I’ve read the article correctly, that the Equality Network are worried that introducing equal marriage in Scotland could lead to the Scottish government introducing a Section 28 type law to appease the religious and anti-equality lot.

      1. Bennie, see my comment below, re. the possibility of a clause enabling any teacher to legally disapprove of gay marriage within the classroom. Such a clause, as has been drafted for the Bill here in England and Wales, will be “Section 28 but by stealth”. For if a teacher can ignore gay marriage, or denigrate gay marriage, in the classroom, that will naturally allow the same teacher to manifest the rest of his or her beliefs about homosexuality: in other words, he or she will be legally entitled to explain to students WHY he or she so disapproves of gay marriage. And that equates to inculcating in students an attitude of homophobia.

        Very dangerous.

        1. * Correction: There is not (yet) a clause in the Bill exempting teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage. However, at the reading several weeks ago and during the current meetings of the committee, there have been numerous CALLS for such a clause exempting teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage. During the recent debate Maria Miller was repeatedly asked if teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage will be disciplined and she repeatedly said they would not be. However, there is no clause in the Bill giving such an assurance to teaches who disapprove, and therefore opponents of the Bill are eager for Ms. Miller to include such an assurance.

          1. I didn’t know that, Eddy. It seems that we need to be vigilant and do what we can to stop another Section 28 type law being put in place in either Scotland or England & Wales under the cover of marriage equality.

    2. Gulliver, I don’t think you have become aware yet of the danger ahead.

      The Same-Sex Couples Bill actually includes clauses that amount to a legal get-out for teachers who do not approve of same-sex marriage or civil marriages being shared with homosexual people.

      In other words, the Bill that was debated several weeks ago proposed that some teachers be allowed to manifest in the classroom their disapproval of homosexual marriage.

      Now you have to think about how that disapproval will manifest in the classroom. It need not only manifest in Sex Education, but in many other subjects as well, where current progress might be referred to. Students will notice the absence of approval for same-sex marriage. Assertive students may demand an explanation. The proposed Bill does not restrain teachers from explaining to students, in as much detail as those teachers wish, WHY “homosexual marriage is wrong” and hence why they don’t believe in it.

      That equates to DEMOTING gay rights.

      1. Correction: There is not (yet) a clause in the Bill exempting teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage. However, at the reading several weeks ago and during the current meetings of the committee, there have been numerous CALLS for such a clause exempting teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage. During the recent debate Maria Miller was repeatedly asked if teachers who disapprove of same-sex marriage will be disciplined and she repeatedly said they would not be. However, there is no clause in the Bill giving such an assurance to teaches who disapprove, and therefore opponents of the Bill are eager for Ms. Miller to include such an assurance.

  11. Robert in S. Kensington 11 Mar 2013, 12:07pm

    Teaching children about ‘homosexual’ relationships is going to increase their occurrence? Are they delusional?

    Have they not noticed that most of us didn’t end up getting into heterosexual relationships or having sex with the opposite gender when you consider we were raised in a hetero-normative society?

    This goes to show the extreme lengths of desperation to which these bigots and religious nutters will go.

  12. Well, we certainly don’t want our children being taught anything about reality in the schools.

  13. The answer to ALL these issues is a complete separation of church and state. Keep religion where it belongs – in the home and conscience. Leave human rights to the politicians.

    1. I’m 100% for that, but, at the same time, we have only to look at what’s going on in the USA the constitution of which is entirely free of religion or religious perspective. In other words, even with church separated from state we will have to vigilantly continue battling with religious zealots. As long as they exist, they are a problem, and they have to be continually fought.

  14. Yes! If we see that the revised Same-Sex Couples Bill allows for any teacher to legally disapprove of same-sex marriage in the classroom, that will be Section 28 re-introduced “by stealth”, in another guise.

    In my submission to the committee, I have gone to some trouble to make it clear why it is imperative that no teacher be permitted to indicate preference for heterosexual civil marriage over homosexual civil marriage, or to indicate disapproval of homosexual marriage.

    I have spelt out to the committee that it would be ludicrous, fatuous, hypocritical of any government to, one the one hand, claim that it is supportive of tackling homophobia in schools, while, on the other hand, it legally supported any teacher who wished to impart to pupils the message that homosexual civil marriage is inferior to heterosexual civil marriage.

    This is a seriously important issue.

    1. Section 28 forbade those working for local authorities from mentioning homosexuality in any positive manner, didn’t it? I do not see that as equivalent to allowing teachers to do so or to do the opposite as they feel fit.

  15. Section 28 will not come back. !!!

    The majority of SNP/Labour/ Lib Dem and Green MSP’s would oppose reintroducing it.

    Although i would imagine a lot of Tories and a minority of SNP Msp’s would support it.

    1. I think the concern here is not that Section 28 will be re-introduced, but that there could be a clause in the equal marriage legislation giving teachers opt outs when it comes to discussing same sex marriage with pupils on the grounds of their personal religious beliefs, or even give catholic schools an opt out. It’s not exactly Section 28 but it’s not far from it, and the worry is that the Scottish government will make this a condition of equal marriage in order to win over those opposed to it. It could be described as a small compromise to get the larger prize.

  16. ““Arguably it may even increase the occurrence of homosexual relationships”

    surely you mean increasing acceptance of who they are and thus going on to form loving relationships which everyone deserves. Nobody becomes gay just by hearing about gay people, otherwise we would all be straight from birth!

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