Peter Tatchell writing for the Guardian this week, talks of "how the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto helped to shape me." You may not have heard of this document before, but you should read it because it sets out - in no uncertain terms - the path our society has taken over the last few decades, and gives a clear picture of where the path is heading. The document says: "We must aim at the abolition of the family".
The manifesto was published in 1971 and then revised in 1978. As Peter says himself, it was written by "anarchists, hippies, leftwingers, feminists, liberals and counter-culturalists". I doubt that David Cameron has ever read it, but whether he knows it or not, he has allowed himself to be influenced by its central agenda. In an attempt to suck up to his liberal metropolitan chums, he has bought into it.
I first came across the manifesto when I saw a photo of the Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, marching under a banner celebrating 40 years since the formation of the now-defunct Gay Liberation Front. It struck me as unusual to see a Conservative politician marching for any radical group whose name ended with the words "...Liberation Front". It sparked my curiosity, and that's when I came across the manifesto.
The document, comrades, lists the cruel institutions of oppression. Top of the list is the family, "The very form of the family [dad, mum, kids] works against homosexuality." Next, schools which reinforce the idea that boys and girls are different, using sinister instruments of repression like "competitive sports". Then it's the church and Judeo-Christian values which advance "irrational teachings" about "the family and marriage". The media is next in line, owned by rich men peddling "society's image of 'normal' man and woman". Then comes people's vocabulary, followed by employment and the law.
All of this was published in the 1970s, and you have to say they have been remarkably successful in tackling these barriers to the sexual revolution. Education, the church, the media, vocabulary, employment, and law have all been key battle grounds for the advancement of gay rights. And now, too, the family. The recent passing of the same-sex marriage Bill is something that has flowed directly from these other initiatives. That's why it has been achieved without a great push from the gay lobby itself. Many of the Bill's supporters blindly followed it because they regarded it as, quite simply, the next step.
Interestingly, the manifesto itself warned against mimicking heterosexual institutions like marriage. I think the concept of 'gay marriage' would have been an anathema to the radicals of the Gay Liberation Front. Perhaps it still is. But I rather suspect they see it as a tactical step in the right direction. Gay marriage isn't about bringing the ideology of marriage to the sexual radicals (as Cameron, essentially, says). It's about bringing the ideology of the sexual radicals to marriage.
What is clear from the manifesto is the solidarity between gay rights and radical feminism. The need to subvert "gender roles" runs through the document like a stick of rock. They sincerely believe that society will be better, and people will be happier, if we can free ourselves from the idea that men and women are different. The trouble with that ideology is that it is based on a fantasy. Men and women are different. A society which seeks to deny that obvious truth will inevitably tie itself in knots - and do more harm than good.
Hence our confused society which regrets fragmented families, yet maintains the policies which encourage break up; which is alarmed by the sexualisation of childhood, yet celebrates the very liberalism that allowed it; which shakes its head at louts and yobs, but feels awkward about blaming fatherless families. The fact is, the family (and yes I mean a married mum and dad raising kids) is the best police force, the best school, and the best health provider you're ever going to see. It is the best defence against poverty, and the best provider of wealth.
Yet, when David Cameron was redefining marriage, the country didn't hear any of this. There was no great debate about the nature of human sexuality, or the glorious complementarity of men and women, or the importance of family norms. It heard: in favour of gay marriage = good and progressive; against gay marriage = bad and bigoted. I'm not surprised that a genuine debate was stifled. After all, the Gay Liberation Front and the slicker lobby machines that followed it have worked hard to gain control of education and the media, to sideline the church, to control people's use of language, and to shape the law and employment policies in pursuit of their radical ideology.
All of it cheered by Conservative mayor Boris Johnson, marching under the Gay Liberation Front banner, waving to the crowds of London; and all of it cheered on by Dave in Downing Street convincing himself (if not the rest of us) that he's actually strengthening marriage. I fear there will be more of this unless social conservatives start regaining a foothold in those same key institutions identified by the GLF manifesto. They could start by regaining a foothold in marriage itself.