Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg faced strong criticism this week after telling a gay magazine that all faith schools in the UK should be made to teach that homosexuality is “normal”.
He said in an interview with Attitude magazine that faith schools should not become “asylums of insular religious identity”.
When asked if the Liberal Democrats would legally oblige faith schools to teach that homosexuality was normal and harmless, he answered: “Yes.”
Mr Clegg said: “Crucially faith schools should have a requirement to have an anti-homophobic bullying policy at their school.”
Norman Wells, head of the Family Education Trust, hit out at his remarks.
“Not only is Nick Clegg showing a woeful lack of respect for faith schools, but he is also totally disregarding the deeply-held views of parents,” he said.
“It is a fundamental principle of education law that children must be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.
“Nick Clegg is pushing a radical social agenda which would only cause confusion among vulnerable young people and expose them to increased risks to their physical and emotional health.
“Instead of seeking to advance the gay rights agenda, he would do better to commit his party to presenting positive images of stable marriages and of sexual restraint outside marriage.”
One senior Anglican bishop who asked not to be named told The Independent: “I think this will go down badly even among the not overtly evangelical. Instituting something that must be taught, come what may, is frighteningly fascist.”