LGBT education protests: Court verdict ruling postponed

Parents and protestors demonstrate against  LGBT rights lessons outside a Birmingham school. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Parents and protestors demonstrate against LGBT rights lessons outside a Birmingham school. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A RULING on whether to allow protests at a Birmingham school gates over LGBT lessons has been postponed.

Judge Mr Justice Warby was due to deliver his judgement on Friday (15). But the announcement will not go ahead as he is not available, reported BirminghamLive.

A five-day hearing last month heard arguments on whether an exclusion zone around the school, designed to deter protests, should be made permanent.

A temporary exclusion zone was put in place in June following multiple protests outside school gates.

Protest coordinators Shakeel Afsar, Rosina Afsar and Amir Ahmed claim parents have a right to voice their concern and are contesting the need for a legal injunction to curtail demonstrations.

In his closing arguments, council’s barrister Jonathan Manning QC suggested extending the existing ban on protests to two further areas of land on a road near the school.

Manning told Birmingham’s Civil Justice Centre: “It’s clear that the conduct in question is such as to satisfy the definition of anti-social behaviour and public nuisance.

“I am instructed to ask for a modest variation to the (existing) orders. What we have seen by the movement (of protests) from outside the school gates to where it currently takes place is a significantly higher level of disturbance to other members of the community in their residences, due to very loud amplification.”

The protesters meanwhile said they were acting lawfully and exercising legitimate freedom of speech. They told the judge they did not want their children to learn that it was “okay to be gay”.

Earlier this month, David Isaac, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, commented on the protests outside Birmingham schools and said primary schools should be free to teach children about same sex relationships and they should not be obliged to seek consent from parents.

He also said teaching about same-sex relationships should not be seen as an attack on anyone’s religious beliefs.

“This is not a zero-sum game,” Isaac told the Independent. “If children are being taught about same-sex families that doesn’t mean to say that is a direct attack upon anybody else’s religious beliefs or the tenets of their faith.

“We obviously need to be sensitive to that but children need to understand this. My view is those things should be taught at primary school. Just talking about the existence of these families doesn’t mean that they are advocating for them. This is just what 21st-century Britain is and what the law requires.”