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NSW Anglican schools’ same-sex marriage oath sparks parents’ revolt

Opposition to same-sex marriage is mandatory at 30 NSW Anglican schools.

Opposition to same-sex marriage is mandatory at 30 NSW Anglican schools. Photo: AAP

Students are reportedly being pulled from a prestigious private school south of Sydney because of a controversial statement of faith incoming staff must sign that opposes same-sex marriage.

Some parents of children attending The Illawarra Grammar School have told The Sydney Morning Herald they’re appalled at the wording of the statement incoming principals and board members must endorse.

The school, located in Wollongong, is run by the Sydney Anglican diocese, which updated its statement of faith in 2019 to read that “faith produces obedience in accordance with God’s word, including sexual faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman, and abstinence in all other circumstances”.

The statement must be signed by incoming principals and council members at the 30 schools overseen by the diocese.

The Herald reported some parents at the school were banding together to oppose the rule, with a submission by a parent to the school’s Parents & Friends Association last month saying it would lead to poorer staff outcomes.

The letter said opposing same-sex marriage goes against “the values of mainstream Australia or the community (the school) seeks to serve”.

“It is in full alignment with living Christian values to welcome and include all that are different, whether that difference is race, religion, marital status or sexual orientation,” the parent wrote.

“It also reduces the pool of candidates, potentially impacting the school’s leadership.”

The paper also said parents received a letter this week from the head of the school’s council assuring them their concerns would be addressed, with council chairman Anthony Okely saying the school did not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment.

The mother of a student at the school, Nadine Porter, told local paper the Goulburn Post she was withdrawing her daughter because the policy was discriminatory.

A separate group of parents of children at another school run by the Sydney Anglican diocese, St Catherine’s in Waverley in Sydney’s east, banded together in May last year to oppose the statement.

An interim head installed at St Catherine’s has not had to sign it, with a new principal due to be appointed by 2025.

-AAP

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