Religious schools can ban gay teachers
Tuesday 29 September 2009
Religious schools will be able to continue refusing to employ homosexual teachers, despite home affairs ministry plans to amend discrimination laws, it emerged on Tuesday.
The government is to scrap a clause which bans discrimination against people simply on the grounds of sex, race, sexual orientation or nationality because it is 'confusing', home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst told MPs on Tuesday.
And schools will still be able to refuse to employ gay teachers who practise homosexuality because it conflicts with their religious beliefs.
The change in the law maintains the balance between anti-discrimination laws and freedom of education and religion, the minister said.
The Netherlands has dozens of fundamentalist Christian schools which oppose homosexuality on Biblical principles. While funded by the government, they are run independently. Such schools may not discriminate but are free under European rules to determine their own 'professional demands' for teachers, the paper says.
In May a strict Protestant primary school in Gelderland suspended a teacher because he was gay and lived with another man. That case is being taken to the equal opportunities commission.
Gay rights groups said they are very disappointed at the decision. There is a real chance that certain schools will feel their anti-gay stand is now legitimate, Wouter Neerings, of the COC lobby group told Nos tv.
MPs are due to debate the issue on Wednesday.