A new booklet from the Roman Catholic Church warns that anyone entering into “non-chaste” relationships outside of Church-sanctioned marriage—which would include gay staff in civil marriages—could face demotion or removal from their posts.
Pink News reports:
The guidance, sanctioned by the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, says that teachers in Catholic schools should not marry divorcees, marry in registry offices or in other civil ceremonies (such as civil partnerships) that do not meet the Catholic Church’s approval.
The booklet, Christ at the Centre: Why the Church provides Catholic Schools, says that senior teachers in “a partnership of intimacy with another person, outside a form of marriage approved by the church…can be removed from office.”
“It is scandalous that the Catholic Church is able to use taxpayers’ money to practice this sort of crude discrimination,” said Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society. “The way a person arranges their private life, so long as it is within the law, should be of no concern to an employer, not even the Catholic Church, particularly if no scandal is caused.”
A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church insisted “this isn’t about checking up on people,” but rather guidance for those applying for senior leadership positions.
“It is informing people called to leadership positions in Catholic schools that these are the expectations of someone in a senior role,” she told The Telegraph.
The European Commission is already considering if British laws governing faith schools conflict with European education laws.
“This is a matter for schools and their governors,” said said the Department for Education in regards to the booklet. “Faith schools can consider whether a person’s conduct is in line with their religious values when dismissing teachers. However schools must also comply with employment law.”
In 2007, the Archdiocese of London was advised that it could not dismiss a gay primary school headteacher who had entered into a civil union with another teacher from a nearby school.