Tory MP: ‘Anti-extremist orders should be used against teachers who oppose same-sex marriage’

Aug 6, 2015

A letter from a Tory MP to one of his constituents shows, quite clearly, that he expects the Government’s Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs) to be used to punish teachers who teach that gay marriage is wrong.

In the letter, Mark Spencer MP initially claims that he believes “that everybody in our society has the right to free speech and to express their views without fear of persecution”.

He then attempts to more clearly illustrate the function of EDOs for his concerned constituent, using the example of discussing gay marriage in schools:

“The new legislation specifically targets hate speech, so teachers will still be completely free to express their understanding of the term ‘marriage’, and their moral opposition to its use in some situations, without breaking the new laws.”

If we ignore for a moment the issue that ‘hate speech’ is an extraordinarily vague term which the Government says is anything which risks “causing distress”, this doesn’t sound too bad.

But what comes next is really chilling:

“The EDOs, in this case, would apply in situations where a teacher was specifically teaching that gay marriage is wrong.”

C4M is on record as saying that schools in the state sector could be breaking the law if they go beyond factual information and advocate a particular belief about marriage. But here we have an MP talking about applying counter-terrorism measures to teachers who step out of line. This is genuinely alarming.

Then without any hint of irony he says of the proposed law: “I do not believe that it constitutes a violation of any liberty.”

This is exactly what we’ve been warning about. We intend to do all we can to make sure the Government thinks again before criminalising ordinary citizens who stand up for traditional marriage.