Scotland rebuffs government plans to promote marriage

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The Government will be engulfed by a new row over its attempt to repeal Section 28 today when Scotland refuses to adopt plans to tell schoolchildren in England and Wales about the importance of marriage.

The Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition which governs Scotland will rebuff the Government by refusing to bring its guidance to schools into line with new proposals to be outlined today by David Blunkett, the Education Secretary.

Mr Blunkett's statutory guidance to schools in England and Wales will ensure children learn about "the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and for the bringing up of children" and "the significance of marriage and stable relationships as key building blocks of community and society". Section 28 bans local authorities from promoting homosexuality. But his pro-marriage stance has worried some colleagues and the split between London and Edinburgh will reopen the Cabinet's tensions. When Donald Dewar, Scotland's First Minister, told ministers in London he would not follow the Government's guidelines, he is said to haveremarked bluntly: "That's devolution."

Mr Blunkett will also issue guidance on sex education aimed at reducing the number of teenage pregnancies - currently 90,000 a year, including 7,700 girls under 16. Children will be taught the reasons for delaying sexual activity and be told how to get advice about sexual health.

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