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UK Government Source: Teachers May Face Firing for Refusing to Teach Gay Marriage
As Great Britain's government prepares to vote on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, an official from the Secretary of State for Education's office reportedly has expressed trepidation toward the bill, arguing that primary school teachers in the country could possibly lose their jobs if they do not teach about gay marriage in the classroom.
One unnamed senior source from the office of Michael Gove, who serves as the country's current Secretary of State for Education, has recently said that ultimately the U.K. government is not in control, should a teacher lose their job for refusing to teach same-sex marriage, and the case would ultimately go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, where the European Parliament is located.
"We have had legal advice, the problem is that there is this inherent uncertainty about such matters," the source told The Telegraph in a Jan. 25 report.
"These are all under the control of nine guys in Strasbourg, it is just fundamentally uncertain because Britain isn't in control of this," the source added.
Additionally, those critical of the upcoming same-sex marriage bill argue that hospital chaplains and other people in authority may be faced with difficult decisions when their conscience conflicts with their work protocol.
These statements come after human rights specialist Aidan O'Neill of the Queen's Counsel argued on behalf of the Coalition For Marriage, a group that opposes same-sex marriage legalization, that he believes teachers, hospital or prison chaplains would be negatively affected by the legalization of the bill.
However, in response to these worries, Maria Miller, Secretary of Culture and Great Britain's equalities minister, recently stated that teachers and the Church of England will not be put in a compromising position due to the same-sex marriage bill.
Miller told BBC Radio Four's "Today" program that teachers will be able to tell their students that different religions have different beliefs when it comes to same-sex marriage, but they still must teach same-sex marriage in a "balanced way," regardless of their beliefs.
"Teachers are able to, and entitled to, express their views about same-sex marriage and there is no requirement at all for them to promote it," Miller said.
"But obviously we wouldn't expect teachers to be offensive or discriminate in any way about anything," she added.
Also recently, Education Secretary Gove has issued a formal reassurance that teachers will not be persecuted for their traditional marriage beliefs.
Great Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his full support of the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country, to the chagrin of religious and conservative party members.
In an attempt to assuage the Church of England and the Church in Wales, which worry they will face discrimination lawsuits for refusing to preside over same-sex marriage ceremonies, the government has enlisted a set of legal protections, known as the "quadruple lock," which will reportedly protect the churches from any legal retribution.
On Friday, Jan. 25, the British government published the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill, and told lawmakers that they will vote on it next month.