Catholic schools in the Spanish province of Andalucía have come under attack with the passage of totalitarian anti-discrimination legislation. The law, which seeks the “prevention of LGBT-phobic attitudes, in the social sphere, or that of health, education, recreation and sports, the family, or in other areas” affects all Catholic schools with a government charter.
The schools will no longer be allowed to teach that there are two sexes; curriculum must now be non-binary, and students must be taught their “right” to be a different sex. The law states:
The contents of educational materials used in the instruction of the students will promote the respect and the protection of the right to sexual and gender diversity and gender expression, as well as a non-binary education, which makes visible corporeal and sexual diversity, and family diversity.
Educational plans must contemplate pedagogies appropriate for the recognition and respect of the rights of people who consider themselves to be LGBTI, as well as to give place to curricular projects that contemplate or permit affective and sexo-gender education, and avoid and impede discrimination.
Punishments for violations of the law are heavy fines – around 6,000 euros for milder violations, and as much as 120,000 euros for those considered more serious.
The bishops of Andalucia have issued a statement in protest, which states:
(It is a) threat to family life, education, and the medical profession. It is, therefore, a law that compromises freedom of thought, liberty of conscience, freedom of education and teaching, and religious liberty.
Other provisions of the law include banning of all anti-LGBT hate speech in the media, including social media, and states that children have a “right” to puberty-blocking hormones.
The law goes too far in limiting the freedom of religion and freedom of speech. As in Australia, organisations in Spain will have to fight for their religious freedom. Thankfully, we are not at the point where the government is mandating what is taught in religious schools, but we must fight to ensure that it stays that way!