School lessons on gay issues ‘could breach human rights’
PLANS to teach children as young as four about gay relationships could be blocked by legal action.
Christian groups last night said proposals that would make Scotland the first country in the world to put LGBTI issues on the school curriculum could breach the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
It means the Scottish Government could face a lengthy legal battle if it decides to press ahead with the plan, announced on Thursday by Education Secretary John Swinney.
Critics say the proposal, which could see pupils discussing topics such as same-sex families and the gay rights movement, amounts to ‘indoctrination’. It is understood groups and individuals are set to take legal advice before deciding whether to mount a challenge in the courts.
The UDHR states that parents must have a ‘prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children’.
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms also says that the state must ‘respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions’.
David Robertson of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, and minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee said: ‘At best, this is virtue signalling but in reality I think it is discriminatory and I think it is indoctrination.
‘It is the very opposite of equality – it is about teaching only one particular philosophy and only one particular view and excluding everyone else.
‘I think it’s against human rights as well. Article 26 (3) [of the UDHR] says parents have a right to choose the kind of education that should be given to their children and to do so in accordance with their philosophy or religion.’
The Scottish Government was previously forced to rethink its Named Person scheme after the Supreme Court ruled, following a legal challenge, that it breached children’s rights to privacy.
John Denning of the Christian Institute agreed that the proposal to teach LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) issues in schools could be a breach of human rights.
He said: ‘It is important that governments don’t think they have authority to control every aspect of life. [They] must respect the proper place of families and parents.’
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said: ‘Schools are not the place for political indoctrination.
‘Pupils should not be brainwashed into accepting Holyrood’s view of the world.’
But speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Liam Stevenson of the Time for Inclusive Education campaign said the plan was ‘100 per cent age and stage appropriate’ and would help ‘vulnerable’ people who may be struggling to ‘understand how they are feeling’ about their sexuality.
He added: ‘There is no opportunity that young people are going to be encouraged to come out at primary school and they’re not going to be encouraged to pick, choose or change their gender.’
He added: ‘This is a wonderful step forward. People like Mr Robertson are in the absolute minority and unfortunately have views that belong in a different century.’
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘All aspects of Scottish education are fully compliant with the UN Convention on Human rights.’
Yesterday’s Daily Mail