'Anti-gay' book puts Gove at centre of faith school teaching row
Education secretary says Equality Act does not extend to school curriculum – allowing faith schools to use homophobic material
Michael Gove, the education secretary, is at the centre of an escalating row over how faith schools discuss homosexuality in sex education classes.
The TUC has accused Gove of failing in his legal duties by insisting that equality laws, which prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, do not extend to the school curriculum.
The TUC complains that the current situation sends mixed signals to the playground, because schools are legally obliged to condemn discrimination on sexual-orientation grounds but free to use religious materials that equality campaigners claim is homophobic.
Brendan Barber, the TUC's general secretary, wrote to Gove in December expressing alarm that a booklet containing "homophobic material" had been distributed by a US preacher after talks to pupils at Roman Catholic schools across the Lancashire region in 2010.
The booklet, "Pure Manhood: How to become the man God wants you to be", discusses a boy dealing with "homosexual attractions" which it suggested may "stem from an unhealthy relationship with his father, an inability to relate to other guys, or even sexual abuse".
The booklet, which claims that "scientifically speaking, safe sex is a joke", explains that "the homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God's natural purpose for sex – babies and bonding."(cont)