Tory MP suggests LGBT equality is making Christians ‘second-class citizens’

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Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh has laid into a government integration tsar who said it was “not OK” for Catholic schools to teach homophobia.

Speaking before Parliament earlier this month Dame Louise Casey, who recently headed a prominent review of social cohesion in the UK, commented on issues within faith schools.

Asked about fundamentalist teachings in Muslim schools, she said: “I don’t really have a view on which religion it is that’s promoting those sorts of views, but it is not OK – the same way it is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage. That’s not OK either. That’s not how we bring children up in this country.

She had added: “It’s often veiled as religious conservativism…. I have a problem with the expression of religious conservatism because I think often it can be anti-equalities. We’ve got to be careful. People can choose to live the lives they want to live, but they can’t condemn others for living differently.”

In a column for the Catholic Herald, Tory MP for Gainsborough Sir Edward Leigh – a long-standing opponent of LGBT rights – slammed the integration chief’s assertions.

He said: “As a long-standing and formerly persecuted minority, Catholics should take note of the integration tsar’s [comments].

“For example, Dame Louise states that it is obvious that people must be able to choose ‘to live the lives that they want to live’ but added the important proviso that ‘they cannot condemn others for living differently’. The example she gives is that Catholic schools must not be allowed to be homophobic or ‘anti-gay marriage’.

“To start with, linking opposition to same-sex civil marriage to homophobia is profoundly philosophically ignorant.

“The sexual attractions or orientations of potential spouses are not of primary concern when it comes to the Catholic view of marriage, but rather the biological reality of the difference between male and female sexes. As such, we don’t “oppose” gay marriage, but view it as an impossibility.

“Catholic schools should certainly oppose homophobic bullying with vigour – as they should oppose all bullying – yet Dame Louise produced no evidence whatsoever that homophobia is more prevalent in Catholic schools than in other schools or than in society at large.

“She seems to imply that a matter of legitimate civil and political dispute – deepening the legal constructs regarding same-sex relationships – is no longer an item for debate.”

He added: “Rather than an open and tolerant vision of people with different views overcoming differences and warmly interacting as friends, neighbours and colleagues on a daily basis, Dame Louise’s vision brands certain people as outsiders unworthy of full participation in society.

“In the integration tsar’s vision of society, Catholics, our other fellow Christians, members of different faiths, and indeed those of no faith at all who happen to agree on certain social issues, would all be relegated to the status of second-class citizens.”

He previously claimed that lifting the ban on marriages for gay couples would “mangle” the institution of marriage for Christians.

He said: “It is right that homosexual people should be allowed to get on with their lives, but this does not extend to mangling the language of marriage so that, for the sake of the tiny number of gay people who prefer marriage to civil partnership, everyone else in society must have the definition of their own marriage altered forever.

“Once we have departed from the universally understood framework of marriage, there is no logical reason why the new alternative institution should be limited to two people. Why not three? Or thirty-three?”

“Why must they also have the language of marriage? [It is] an important symbol to many other people. Must the religious and cultural heritage of the whole nation be overturned to suit the demands of a minority even of the gay community itself?”