Parental Involvement in Teaching: Equality Act

Part of Petition - Closure of Heywood Crown Post Office – in the House of Commons at 4:12 pm on 25th June 2019.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Finance Committee (Commons) 4:12 pm, 25th June 2019

I mean Martin Docherty-Hughes. I am sure that there is no segregation between the two.

In fact, despite my having been ordained, my constituency is, according to the last census, the second least religious constituency in the country, but there are people of faith among my constituents. I often speak to them, and I think that, in the main, they have found a profound generosity in recent years, but this is still a difficult issue for many Muslims. There are those who struggle to find new, liberal ways of expressing Islam in a modern world. Many Catholic Members of both this House and the other place have often voted for equality although their Church has voted in a different way, so my biggest hope is that Islam will find a way of reconciling itself with the modern era—with the things that we know, which, I would argue, our God has taught us to understand in the last 100 or 200 years about ourselves, about humanity and about human sexuality.

I hope that Muslims will be campaigning outside all those schools to make sure that every child knows that sometimes there are two daddies and sometimes there are two mummies. They may not be your parents, but they may be the parents of someone else in the family or someone else in the school, and you should not spit at them, and you should not denigrate them, and you should not laugh at them, and you should not call them names, and you should not bully them.

In the end—and here I use a religious term again—equality is a seamless garment. The tunic worn by Christ on the cross was a seamless garment, which is why the soldiers could not tear it apart when He was taken down from the cross. The equality that we demand for people regardless of their religion, or their political allegiance, or the colour of their skin, or their gender must also apply in equal measure—in full and equal measure—to our sexuality.