Teachers who refuse to use textbooks which refer to gay marriage could be dismissed by schools, a Conservative MP has claimed.
Religious lobbyists Christian Concern reported that Liz Truss, parliamentary undersecretary for education and childcare, said in a letter to Conservative MP David Burrowes that it would be impossible to know what the impact of equality legislation would be at this stage.
In September, Aidan O’Neill QC, commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage which campaigns against same-sex unions, drafted a legal opinion where he said it was possible that schools could be permitted to dismiss staff who oppose same-sex marriage, if they refuse when requested to use textbooks or stories that promote gay marriage.
The Telegraph reported that Burrowes had written to ministers seeking reassurances that the situation could not arise.
But Truss replied that teachers were obliged to act in an "un-discriminatory manner".
“As you are aware, legislation on equal civil marriage has yet to be announced by the Home Office, following a consultation exercise earlier this year,” she wrote.
“I am, therefore, unable to advise on the specifics of any legislation and its future impacts at this time.”
Burrowes said the letter offered no reassurances to teachers who objected to teaching gay marriage on grounds of conscience.
"The reality is that these questions that are raised which have not been fully answered mean that they have not been rebutted," he told the Telegraph.
"The fact that they have not been rebutted when we are so far down the line - the consultation will be coming out within the next weeks and no doubt the DfE has been consulted - now does raise more questions than answers.
"There is a big and serious question that gay marriage will undermine the liberty of conscience, that's a big question that will hang over the legislation."