Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed concern about the rights of parents after the release of a new relationships and sexuality education strategy by the Tasmanian state Education Department includes teaching homosexuality to children.

Although the curriculum will not be mandatory for schools to take, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex issues would be covered in the teaching plans.

ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said parents should have the right to determine how their children were taught about issues of sexuality, including homosexuality.

“It is important that parents have forewarning about the material that will be taught and a choice in what their children are being taught. Parents should have the right to know about and opt their children out of these classes should their school adopt this new program," Mr Brown said.

Studies show that many adolescents go through a period of confusion about their sexuality but this does not mean they are homosexual and many go on to lead a heterosexual lifestyle.

Data from the National Health and Social Life Survey shows that three quarters of boys who think they are gay turn away naturally from a same-sex identity between the ages of around 16 to 25.

Mr Brown also said that teaching homosexuality to children as normative is not the way to combat the issue of bullying in schools.

“Bullying is a phenomenon that needs to be eliminated in all of its various manifestations.”

Mr Brown said ACL was concerned that this was being used as part of the gay lobby’s political push for same-sex marriage.

“This parental right to choice about what their children are taught is clearly something that is at risk if gay marriage created the legal and cultural cement under which it cannot be challenged.

“This has been clearly indicated by cases in the US,” Mr Brown said.