A bid to protect the right of religious schools not to teach that same-sex marriage and opposite marriage are equivalent has been rejected by the House of Commons.
The bid was one of a number voted on yesterday during a debate on the British government’s same-sex marriage bill.
The failure to win an explicit protection for religious schools means they may one day be forced to teach that same-sex marriage and opposite-sex marriage are equivalent.
In addition, attempts to create legal safeguards for individuals teachers and registrars who don’t believe in same-sex marriage were also defeated.
These were among a series of amendments to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill tabled yesterday.
Earlier, in a letter to the Daily Telegraph, 17 Church ministers and one archbishop expressed their concern about the consequences if the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is passed in its current state.
The letter said: “If the Bill passes into law without much clearer protections for freedom of speech and freedom of belief, teachers and public-sector workers will have to choose between their conscience and their career, as many will be deterred from a public-service career or from charity involvement.”
The Church leaders said there are 150,000 in their combined congregations, 50,000 of whom are aged between 13 and 30.
The letter said: “For many in this rising generation, marriage is the union of sexual opposites, and the thread that binds generations”.
The letter was signed by The Rt Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, Revd Vaughan Roberts rector of St Ebbe’s Oxford, and Revd John Stevens the National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches among others.