Alliance Defending Freedom in Rome is defending a teacher who had students fill out a questionnaire on moral issues during an optional hour of teaching on Catholicism.
Liceo Classico Mariotti taught the optional class at a preparatory high school in Perugia, Italy. Distributing a questionnaire to students in class, he asked them to rank the gravity of sinfulness on a wide range of activities. The behaviors listed included selling drugs, war, terrorism, murder, contraception, abortion and premarital sex. Only one of the questions referred to homosexual behavior. Learning of the assignment, the two human rights organizations of Arcigay and Omphalos Association filed a discrimination complaint against Mariotti with Italy's National Anti-Discrimination Office.
Paul Coleman is one of ADF's attorneys in Europe and he has written a letter to the office in defense of Mariotti. He points out that the materials were not focused on homosexuality, but only presented the question in light of the subject being taught.
“The government should not honor requests to punish citizens for engaging in perfectly legitimate and protected free speech,” he says. “It should not surprise anyone that the subject of sin and morality would occur in an optional lesson on Catholic teaching. No reasonable person should therefore conclude that this somehow discriminates against anybody.”
The letter points out that the European Convention of Human Rights states that "freedom of thought, conscience and religion is one of the foundations of a democratic society.”