London, Feb 3 (IANS) Around 40,000 teachers in Britain will not be sacked even if they defy an upcoming law legalising same-sex marriages, a top British official has said.
Education Secretary Michael Gove guaranteed that teachers who continue to tell pupils that marriage should be between a man and a woman will not be fired or disciplined, the Daily Mail reported.
They have a duty to explain that gay marriage will be legal, but do not have to agree with it, he said.
"Some teachers are concerned that equal marriage legislation may require them to teach views which go against their beliefs and open them to threats, either in the workplace or the courts, from those who hold diverging views," Gove said.
"I want to reassure those teachers today.
"If I thought any legislation, however well intentioned, would make life more difficult for great teachers and great schools, I wouldn't support it."
"I have complete confidence in the protection our law offers freedom of conscience and speech," he said.
Gove's comments came after the Coalition For Marriage, which is opposing the reform, claimed 40,000 teachers face being disciplined or sacked because they object to gay marriage.
The organisation said a poll showed that one in 10 teachers will refuse to teach the importance of same-sex marriage. One in five teachers was unhappy with the proposals and one in two is worried how those who support traditional marriage will be treated.
The survey said 74,000 teachers, roughly one in six, said they would teach children the importance of gay marriage, but with reluctance.