LONDON – Christians have spoken out against government plans to introduce new rules that would require schools to teach 11-year-old students about homosexuality and civil partnerships during compulsory sex education classes.
Until now, school headteachers have had the option of not teaching about homosexuality and civil partnerships, but if adopted, the rules will apply to all secondary schools, with no opt-out for religious schools.
A formal consultation needs to be completed before the rules can come into effect, but once they do, the new will apply in primary and secondary schools starting from the 2011-12 academic year. Along with sex education, classes on the dangers of alcohol, drugs and on financial education will be compulsory.
Under the proposals, 4- and 5-year-olds will be taught about different body parts and lessons on sex will be taught at the age of nine.
Between the ages of 11 and 14, students will be taught about contraception, pregnancy, sexual activity and sexually transmitted diseases.
The guidelines also state that "students should address the role and benefits of marriage and civil partnerships in stable relationships and family life."
Students will also be required to learn about "different types of relationships," including homosexual ones.
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said promoting homosexuality could cause harm to children who may experiment with what they are taught.
"What we don't want to see is vulnerable young people being exploited by outside groups which want to normalize homosexuality," he said, as reported by the Daily Mail.
"If this guidance purports to force faith schools to teach things which go against their faith then it is profoundly illiberal and must be resisted at all costs," he added. "A lot of people who are fully signed up to the gay rights agenda are beginning to think 'I didn't vote for this'. They don't support forcing religious bodies to espouse views of sexual ethics that conflict with their religion."
The proposed rules also state that while religious schools will be required to teach lessons that may be against their beliefs, they will also be allowed to teach their faith position on the issue.