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New marriage laws 'would prompt action' against RC schools

The introduction of same-sex marriage in Scotland would "certainly" result in legal action against Catholic schools, church representatives have warned.

Attempts to force Catholic schools to teach a definition of marriage at odds with their religious beliefs were inevitable if plans to allow same- sex marriage went ahead, said Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service.

There was also a danger that Catholic teachers would be forced to choose between following the teachings of their church or instructions from their local authority.

Mr McGrath said: "There is a danger local authorities will impose one policy on all their schools."

His warning comes as a coalition of faith groups and religious leaders, backed by Church of Scotland and Scottish Episcopal Church ministers, this week launched a new campaign to lift the ban on religious same-sex marriages in Scotland.

In its response to the Scottish government's consultation on same-sex marriage, the Catholic Education Commission has expressed "significant concern" that such legislation would make it "impossible" for Catholic schools to teach according to church doctrines.

The results of the Scottish government's consultation on same-sex marriage will be released later this year.

LEFT IN THE DARK

Scottish schools are failing in their obligations to make all parents aware of a right to withdraw their children from religious lessons, according to a new survey.

A YouGov poll of 1,000 parents, commissioned by the Humanist Society Scotland, found fewer than four in 10 parents were aware that they had the right to remove their child from RE. It also found:

- 20 per cent of parents who knew of the right found out from the school;

- 41 per cent found out through another route;

- 5 per cent of parents reported their child did not take part in any religious and moral education.

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