Do gays threaten your family?

Who or what is this militant "gay rights lobby" seeking to establish a "reverse apartheid" ("Why I am really a progressive", 14 February)? Are they the 72 per cent of the population who, according to last week's Telegraph poll, believe that gay relationships are neither right nor wrong, but a fact of life? Or are they the 53 per cent who say gay relationships are of equal value to heterosexual ones? Or are they the majority of the population who believe gay people should not be discriminated against under the law?

Why is Melanie Phillips and her idea of family so threatened by this? How many of her friends' marriages have failed because gay people have been given some human rights? Has she asked the brothers, sisters, parents, nieces, nephews and godchildren of gay couples what they think of her notion that gay relationships "undermine" the family?

Phillips might say some sensible things about education and drugs, but her hostility towards minorities in general and gay people in particular undermines her claim to the true inheritance of progressive liberalism.

Ben Bradshaw MP
House of Commons, London SW1

This article first appeared in the 28 February 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Why the party still needs its soul