As though the recent submission to allow religious institutions an opt-out in discriminatory laws, by allowing them to dismiss gays or refuse to appoint them solely on grounds of sexuality, wasn't enough, I'm seething all over again at yesterday's shenanigans in Parliament in which our so-called' socialist' Government itself amended its own proposal to forbid discrimination in the teaching of sex education in schools. Now so-called 'faith schools' will be permitted to teach their own religions' sexual 'morality' - as long as it also says that there may be other views, without having to explain what those other views are and why they might have greater validity than those of the religion they are teaching. Critics have accused the move as allowing religions to indoctrinate their pupils with homophobia - not to mention the disgraceful acquiescence in permitting Catholic schools to teach that the use of condoms, in all circumstances, is 'sinful'. The government denies that it has 'watered down' their original very commendable proposals in the face of considerable opposition, especially from Christian and Muslim groups. So why change it at all, then? Well the fact that the official response from the Roman Catholic Church is that it is 'happy' with the outcome says it all.
Of course this couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that we'll be having a General Election within 2 or 3 months, could it? If they had refused to accede to the demands of the religious right then it would have been a gift to the Conservative opposition - who supported the concession, of course. (During discussion, one Conservative M.P. asked the Government for assurance that schools will still be able to teach that 'homosexuality is wrong'! The response being a repetition that schools will be allowed to teach the 'morality' of their own religion - in other words, 'Yes'. )
So there we have it. After years during which Tony Blair, despite his considerable faults, fought tooth and nail to achieve legal parity for gays in virtually all respects, we now have his very same party actually creating further discrimination against us in order to appease the right-wing, to thereby avoid losing votes. The only possible positive note is that with Parliamentary time so tight before an election the legislation may fall through lack of time. But even after the election, do I think the Churches will give up? Somehow I doubt it.
14 minutes ago