Conservative Christian society charged with educating teachers won't be shedding any light on homosexuality, its chief says The conservative Christian organisation chosen to educate teachers about human rights has said the course will exclude the topic of homosexuality. The Society for Truth and Light won a government contract to lead courses on human rights and discrimination issues for teachers against two alternative bids from academics, triggering outrage among human rights activists. The Christian society, set up to combat pornography in Hong Kong, has been outspoken in opposing gay rights. In August, it lobbied the government with a 27,500-signature petition to appeal against a High Court ruling that overturned a law banning sexual acts between men under 21. Mr Justice Michael Hartmann had said sections of the ordinance violated the Basic Law and discriminated against homosexuals. Society for Truth and Light supervisor Helen Fu Dan-mui, who will lead one class, said the course would not include homosexual rights, and instructors would decide whether or not to answer questions on the subject. The course would refer to the UN, compare the human rights situation in other countries including Canada, the US and the UK and look at how 'everybody is equal before the law'. The society was bringing in professionals including solicitors, legislators and journalists to serve as instructors and would not impose its views. 'We are just trying to give the participants a macro-perspective of human rights,' she said. 'But we are not talking about homosexuality and we will not talk about homosexuals,' she said. 'If the participants ask this sort of question about homosexuality, it is up to the instructors whether they answer and how they answer. We let the experts teach and they can make their own judgments. We will not manipulate the instructors.' Cheung Man-kwong, president of the Professional Teachers' Union and legislator for the education constituency, called for the courses to be opened up to academics, the media and the general public to ensure the debate was open and free. 'If you have a course about human rights, you should talk about minority rights, including homosexuals,' he said. 'The society has shown that it is biased against homosexuals, so it is very important for the public to monitor and observe this course and whether it is biased or not.' The decision by the Education and Manpower Bureau to award the contract to the society has been condemned by groups including Amnesty International, which has voiced 'grave concerns' about whether it would fully explain and uphold rights underlined by international law. However, educators expressed confidence in the course provider. William Yip Kam-yuen , chairman of the Secondary Schools Heads' Association, said: 'I am quite optimistic that there is nothing really amiss with having this organisation running human rights courses for teachers. Even though the Society for Truth and Light has some particular views on some particular issues, it is running a course on a very broad issue. I am satisfied with all the procedures for setting up the course.' Kwan Wai-wah, civic education co-ordinator at a Chinese-medium school in Kowloon, said: 'I support the EMB's action in choosing this organisation. If I attend the course, I will know more about the group's perspectives and the reasons behind them. I will have the chance to express my opinions.' Desiree Ng Kit-chee , English panel chair at Aldrich Bay Government Primary School, said: 'I think it is necessary to let the teachers have this kind of training course, so that they can teach students about human rights. But I don't think the Society of Truth and Light is suitable to run such a course because it is on a religious base and maybe too narrow.' A spokesman for the Education and Manpower Bureau said the principles for selection of the course provider were 'fair, open and just and are the same as those adopted for other courses'. They included experience in teacher training, budget arrangements and organising similar courses. The bureau said course providers were required to be impartial, neutral and provide 'multiple perspectives'. It would be monitoring courses before deciding who to award the contract to next year. Article 25 of the Basic Law guarantees equality before the law for everyone in Hong Kong.