Homophobia fears as ‘sex ed’ law watered down

By politics.co.uk staff

The government tried to calm fears that homophobia could soon be on the rise due to a watering down of the sex education class legislation.

Critics say an amendment to the children, schools and families bill will allow faith schools an opt-out from the requirement to teach subjects like contraception and homosexuality in a balanced way.

But the amendment was passed by a majority of 345 in the Commons on Tuesday evening.

Children’s secretary Ed Balls firmly denied the criticism on the Today programme, saying: “A Catholic faith school can say to their pupils we believe as a religion contraception is wrong but what they can’t do is therefore say that they are not going to teach them about contraception to children and how to access contraception.

“What this changes is that for the first time these schools cannot just ignore these issues or teach only one side of the argument.

“They also have to teach that there are different views on homosexuality. They cannot teach homophobia. They must explain civil partnership.”

Personal, social, health and economic education will force schools to teach seven to 11-year-olds about all sorts of relationships, including marriage, same-sex, divorce and separations, under the law.

The bill insists schools teach the subject in a way that promotes equality and accepts diversity.