because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend.”

“I don’t think it is widespread,” confirmed Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, “but it is clearly happening. It seems bizarre. I don’t see how you can stop people from forming close friendships. We make and lose friends throughout our lives.”

The Campaign for Real Education, which wants more parental choice in state education, said the “ridiculous” policy was robbing children of their childhood.

“Children take things very seriously and if you tell them they can’t have a best friend,” said spokesman Chris McGovern, “it can be seriously damaging to them. They need to learn about relationships.”

 “This policy doesn’t just fly in the face of common sense, it’s chilling,” noted Sun opinion columnist Deidre Sanders. “Our childhood friendships are how we begin to learn about love and commitment. Of course, they often break up, and that is how we learn resilience so we can cope with rejection later.

“I hope this silly policy is buried as of now.”

Will British churches be forced to conduct homosexual marriages?

Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling that, should same-sex marriage be legalized in the UK, British churches will have to marry homosexual couples regardless of their convictions – and they will not be protected by proposed British laws guaranteeing protections in matters of faith and conscience.

The British government has announced it intends to legalize same-sex marriage by 2015, according to the advocacy group Christian Concern. Churches have been assured they will not be required to conduct such ceremonies. However, such promises are worthless, said the European Court when ruling in a French case. The court’s rulings supercede British law because the UK is part of the European Union.

The court ruled in the French case that same-sex marriage is not a human right, but depends on local law. The European Court rules on

disputes arising from the European Convention on Human Rights which was incorporated into UK law in the Human Rights Act 1998.

The ruling came as a result of a case involving a French lesbian couple who complained that France would not allow them to adopt a child. The court ruled that, because the couple were civil partners, they did not have the rights of married people, who in France have the sole right to adopt a child as a couple.

However, that could change, explained the court’s specialist in discrimination law, Neil Addison: “Once same-sex marriage has been legalized then the partners to such a marriage are entitled to exactly the same rights as partners in a heterosexual marriage. This means that if same-sex marriage is legalized in the UK it will be illegal for the government to prevent such marriages happening in religious premises.”

Human rights do not apply in that case, nor in the Facebook controversy where a British judge decided a Christian demoted at work for posting private comments on his Facebook page criticizing gay marriage on moral grounds cannot cite human rights as a defense.

Adrian Smith sued his employers saying that demoting him for his private comments on Facebook was an infringement of his rights to freedom of speech and belief. In Manchester County Court, District Judge Charles Khan ruled Smith's human rights defense did not apply and found the employer, the Trafford Housing Trust, blameless for its actions.

Smith had posted a comment on his Facebook page, outside of working hours, stating that it is wrong to force churches to conduct same-sex weddings. “If the state wants to offer civil marriages to the same sex then that is up to the state; but the state shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience,” he wrote on his Facebook “status update” to friends.

A colleague complained to their employer. As a result, Smith was found guilty of gross misconduct, for which he faced a demotion and a pay cut from 35,000 British pounds annually to 21,396. He was also given a written warning which stated that any further offense would end in his firing and that he only kept his job because of his 18-years outstanding work record.

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