MINISTERS would have a better understanding of the LGBT lessons row in Birmingham if they integrated more with Britain’s society, the author of a landmark report on integration, said, it was reported on Friday (20).
Dame Louise Casey had earlier accused ministers of “radio silence” as parents protested outside multiple schools in Birmingham over same-sex equality lessons.
“White posh people that go to Eton need to meet somebody that doesn’t look like them or sound like them before they’re in charge of the country,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
She said ministers “needed to be much clearer about upholding the laws of this country and the values that we hold”.
She said: “They’ve just been too silent on this. Laws have been put through Parliament that protect religious freedoms and protect the rights of people who are gay and want to get married.”
“That has to be promoted – that we respect both but that both also have to respect each other,” she said.
Since April, several schools in Birmingham, including Anderton Park Primary and Parkfield Community School, have seen regular protests, with campaigners saying teaching young children about LGBT rights was not age appropriate.
Protesters, most belonging to Muslim faith, want schools to stop using story books that feature same sex couples. They believe homosexuality to be a sin.
Schools minister Nick Gibb, meanwhile, said it was “not true” that the government was not doing working to defuse protests outside Birmingham schools.
Speaking on Radio 4, Gibb said officials were working on a daily basis with the school, with Birmingham City Council, with the parents as well as with protesters to find a solution.
“That is the way to handle such a sensitive issue, not to have people, ministers grandstanding, or other people in the media grandstanding on these issues.
“I have said publicly, the former secretary of state has said publicly, the current secretary of state has said publicly, we strongly encourage schools to teach when they are teaching about different kinds of families to teach about same sex relationships.”