Posters have been sent out to every school in Ireland that helps pupils understand different types of families – but they’ve been slammed by a Catholic anti-gay group.
The Republic of Ireland is currently putting legislation into place to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry following the referendum earlier this year, while separate reforms this year eased laws on same-sex adoption.
Ahead of the first same-sex weddings, which are tentatively set to begin in November, Irish primary teachers’ union INTO sent out posters to schools across the country.
The poster, titled ‘Different Families, Same Love’, shows a number of families from different backgrounds – from same-sex parents to single parents, from grandparents raising a child to a childless couple with a dog.
Click below to see the full poster.
Launching the poster, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan directed: “This practical resource will be invaluable to teachers in creating inclusive classrooms. It will also aid in successfully implementing the compulsory Anti-Bullying Procedures.
“These procedures require every school in the country to engage in preventative and educational strategies to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying. This poster will contribute to the work that primary schools are already doing in this regard and furthermore sends out a clear message to the LGBT children and LGBT-headed families of our society that they are welcome and cherished in our schools.”
General Secretary of the INTO Sheila Nunan added: “The INTO strongly endorses this poster and its use in all primary school classrooms.
“This resource sends an affirming and welcoming message to LGBT children and LGBT-headed families.
“Children hearing their teacher describe LGBT people and families in a positive way will empower all children to respect and celebrate difference and will be a huge step towards preventing homophobic and transphobic bullying in our schools.”
However, it has attracted the attention of anti-LGBT Catholic lobbying group the Iona Institute, which unsuccessfully campaigned against same-sex marriage ahead of the referendum.
Dr John Murray, chairman of the Iona Institute, told the Irish Independent that religious schools should be able to ban the posters
He said: “Denominational schools should be allowed to be denominational. The problem with this poster is that it seems to require, or suggest to teachers, that they teach in a way that treats all family forms as being the same.
He added that tackling bullying “has to be done in a way that is in harmony with the ethos of the school”.