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Marriage guidance 'should be law'

CHURCH leaders have urged the Government to make it a legal duty for heads and governors to promote marriage and outlaw homophobic bullying in schools.

Guidelines from the Department for Education and Employment last week placed marriage and the family at the heart of sex education but the Church of England, with 4,748 schools, wants the stance to be given legal authority.

Ministers are understood to be sympathetic as it may appease those opposed to the repeal of Section 28, which bans the promotion of homosexualityin schools. Tony Blair has insisted the repeal will be pushed through.

Alan Chesters, Bishop of Blackburn and chairman of the Anglican board of education, sought to amend the 1996 Education Act covering sex education.

He made his plea during a debate in the House of Lords on the Learning and Skills Bill.

He urged that a duty be imposed on head-teachers and governors to promote marriage, deter teenage homophobic bullying and discourage teenage sexual activity.

Analysis, 25

FE Focus, I and II

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