New laws designed to clamp down on extremist propaganda should be used against teachers opposed to gay marriage, an MP has suggested.
Mark Spencer, Tory MP for Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, argued that so-called ‘extremism disruption orders’ (EDOs) should be targeted at teachers who promote traditional views of marriage in the classroom.
The comments were made in a letter to a constituent who had written to the MP about claims by a Christian group that EDOs might be used in such contexts. Mr Spencer defended the possibility, saying teachers who condemn gay marriage could be guilty of “hate speech”.
“The new legislation specifically targets hate speech, so teachers will still be free to express their understanding of the term ‘marriage’, and their moral opposition to its use in some situations without breaking the new laws. The EDOs, in this case, would apply to a situation where a teacher was specifically teaching that gay marriage is wrong.”
The comments provoked an angry response from the Deputy Director of charity the Christian Institute. Simon Calvert said he was “genuinely shocked” by the possibility of Christian teachers being labelled extremists.
“The Government says we’ve got nothing to worry about from their new extremism laws, but here is one of its own MPs writing to a constituent saying EDOs would stop teachers teaching mainstream Christian beliefs.”
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