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BHA: "We’re here to say two things – no to these attacks by this faith-based lobby, and yes to comprehensive, high quality sex education"

Richy Thompson from the British Humanist Association gave a speech at the Sex Education protest today. Here's what he said.

It’s great to be at today’s rally representing the British Humanist Association, and it’s fantastic that the event has got such a good turnout. I’m delighted to see so many people standing up for SRE.

So, let’s be honest here. We know this Bill today may not be debated. And we know that if it is debated, it’s unlikely to pass.

But that’s not why we’ve come out. We’re here to say two things – no to these attacks by this faith-based lobby, and yes to comprehensive, high quality sex education.

So, no to these attacks – this Bill, and the fact that it has progressed this far, illustrates the growing influence of a lobby with vested faith-based interests in promoting and imposing a narrow, unshared and damaging perspective regarding sex education, sexual health and abortion rights; a perspective that is unsupported by the evidence. We oppose this lobby.

However, yes to comprehensive, high quality SRE – all children and young people have a right to full, objective SRE in all schools, which should equip everyone – the boys, as well as the girls – with the information and skills they need to make their own informed and responsible decisions, including saying no to sexual activity if that is what they choose. There should be no opt-outs for parents, no opt-outs for Academies and Free Schools, and no opt-outs for ‘faith’ schools.

We at the British Humanist Association support a secular state, with equal rights for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief. We believe that lives are best lived on the basis of reason and humanity. All the best evidence shows that abstinence education doesn’t work, but comprehensive SRE does work and therefore we are delighted to campaign in support of SRE practitioners and teachers and delighted to support this demo today. Thank you.

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