Christian mum Izzy Montague, who sued son’s primary school over Pride parade, loses case

Izzy Montague

A Christian mother who sued her child’s primary school for over an LGBTQ+ Pride parade has had her case dismissed. 

Izzy Montague, alongside husband Shaun, took legal action against Heavers Farm Primary School in South Norwood, London in June 2018, claiming her four-year-old child was forced to take part in the event, which, they said, “goes against our Christian beliefs”. 

Montague alleged direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and breaches of statutory duties under the 1996 Education Act 1996 and the 1998 Human Rights Act against the south-east London school. 

The case was heard across eight days in February at the Central London County Court, with Judge Christopher Lethem dismissing the case in an 89-page judgement on Wednesday (26 April). 

Montague was supported by Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre during the case, an evangelical organisation which describes homosexuality as a “harmful sexual practice” and gender affirming healthcare as “causing lasting damage”. 

‘If God exists, he/she should sue these buffoons for defamation’

The event in 2018 saw children learn about LGBTQ+ history, different types of family and carry out activities describing what makes them “proud” – all to coincide with Pride Month. 

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The school has said the lessons were part of the broader curriculum and teaching “directed towards supporting tolerance, challenging stereotypes and to prevent bullying”. 

Montague said such lessons were “promoting gay lifestyles” and “indoctrinating” children, subsequently pulling her child from Heavers Farm. 

Headteacher Susan Papas defended the event as “a celebration of what makes the children proud”.

In November 2022, she told The Guardian: “At the end of the year we decided to do something on anti-homophobia as part of Pride month, taking the idea that people and families can be different but everyone can be proud.

“There were some objections but they were outweighed by support.”

Reporting on the judgement for Inside Croydon, columnist Andrew Fisher – whose child attended the school at the time – said as a parent he takes “pride in my son’s school for standing up to bigotry… and winning”. 

Recounting being unable to attend the parade due to work commitments, Fisher wrote: “The parade was cancelled because a tiny number of parents planned to protest. Can you imagine? 

“Parents of children were actually going to disrupt five-year-old kids marching about why they were proud to be themselves – and they were planning to do so in the name of Christianity.

“If God exists, he/she should sue these buffoons for defamation.” 

Montague claims case was not ‘fair’

The Montagues have said they will appeal the judgement. 

In a statement released following the result of the lawsuit, Montague said the trial was not “fair”.

“This was not somebody who was looking at it from a fair basis of a parent. I went in there and I was under fire. I was questioned. I was interrogated. I was basically told what I should be thinking,” the mother told Christian Concern in a video interview

Adding: “The battle has already been won. You just need to stand and serve God and that is exactly what we will continue to do in the name of Christ. We all have to be prepared to carry our cross.”  

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said the ruling “reads like fiction” and “bears no resemblance to what actually happened”. 

Williams said the judgement was remarkable for “all of the wrong reasons”.  

“While the government has recognised the pitfalls of leaving the content of LGBT and sex education to the discretion of schools, and called for a review, this Court has gone the other way,” she said in a statement on Christian Concern.

“Despite finding that the school put too much emphasis on LGBT issues and normalised them for primary school aged children, it ruled that the Pride event was actually about tolerance and diversity, and not LGBT.

“The Montagues will appeal, and rightfully so.”

She continued: “What this entire case stands for is that there are some schools in this country where biblical beliefs and Christians are not welcomed. 

“Today’s judgment has given a green light to ideological headteachers who wish to mould young minds into LGBT advocates, and abuse any parents who dissent.

“There are absolutely no circumstances where it is acceptable to force a 4-year-old Christian child to march in an LGBT themed Pride parade against his parents’ wishes. 

“As a nation with such an esteemed history of liberty and Christian values, we are better than that.”

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