Catholic schools in Wales accused of 'political indoctrination' over gay marriage

Catholic schools in Wales are under fire after circulating a petition against the Welsh government's plans to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, the Telegraph reports.

Last month, the Catholic Education Service asked 365 secondary schools in England and Wales to begin circulating a letter by the Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark defending the traditional definition of marriage. They also reportedly encouraged schools to promote the Coalition for Marriage campaign petition.

More than 600,000 people have signed the petition so far, according to the Telegraph.

While the schools insist they are merely teaching Catholic values, secular and humanist campaigners accuse the schools of "political indoctrination" by promoting the campaign among students, the Telegraph reports.

The Welsh government is now reviewing whether the schools are breaking equality and political impartiality laws by circulating the archbishops' letter.

"Whilst the online petition is not directly related to a party political matter, it could be seen as relating to political matters generally as the petition seeks to lobby the current Westminster government to prevent a change in the law," said Leighton Andrews, the Welsh Assembly Government minister for education and skill.

"Opposing a proposed change in the law could itself be considered a political act," Andrews said in a written statement.

Catholic schools in Wales must now give students a "balanced view" on the issue, and notify them of the government's intervention, the Telegraph reports. Students must be above the age of 16 to sign the petition.

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