In the May 2000 issue of Chronicles (“Letter From England: New Gaybour”), I wrote that there was a good chance that Section 28 (the portion of the 1988 United Kingdom Local Government Bill that forbids the promotion of homosexuality among schoolchildren) would be retained through the current Parliament at least, because of the Labour Party’s failure to push the repealing legislation through the House of Lords. Mirabile dictu, on July 24, their lordships—or rather, one ladyship. Baroness Young, who led the Tory opposition—came up trumps again, with a majority of 42 in favor of retaining the vexed clause.

This was a surprising result—or perhaps we conservatives are just accustomed to losing such battles. Faced with the prospect of having to drop the repeal legislation altogether in order to ensure the passage of the rest of the Local Government Act, Tony Blair had resorted to the time-dishonored tactic of stuffing the awkward legislative chamber with placemen. Since the last Lords defeat, 30 new Labour and Liberal Democratic peers have been appointed. This should have made the government victorious; in the end, however, there was a difference of only three votes, thanks to a revolt of 18 principled Labour peers and the absence of at least ten others when the vote was being taken.

But this war is far from over. Although the government says that it will not try to force the repeal of Section 28 in this session of Parliament, the wealthy and monomaniacal homosexual lobby will fight bitterly to ensure that it gets the result it wants. The government’s options are either to introduce a short bill in the next session or to wait until after the next election, when the upper house has been fully “reformed.”

If Labour wins the next general election. Section 28 will be scrapped—even if the majority of Tories stand firm. In any case, as more of Britain’s powers are ceded to Brussels by Blair’s Anglophobic government, it will become increasingly difficult for British politicians to take independent action on any issue. The European Union’s record on this topic, as on so many others, is devoid of common sense. Under the E.U. Human Rights Act, which takes effect in Britain in October, schools could be sued for banning homosexual sex among pupils over 16.

The Section 28 debate exposed the divide between Britain’s elites and those who foolishly vote for them. Members of our present ruling class believe that “equality” is an attainable goal, that there is no such thing as “normalcy,” and that morals and sexual differences (not to mention national identities) are just random constructs which have no relevance—except during elections. They are convinced (ludicrously but, no doubt, “sincerely”) that they are up against a “homophobic,” “conservative,” and “racist” (these three words are interchangeable, in leftist rhetoric) establishment from which all “minorities” need protection.

The attempt to repeal Section 28 is part and parcel of a general drive to equalize everyone down to the lowest common denominator. An article in the Daily Telegraph on February 10 bore the revealing headline: “Section 28 skirmish is prelude to a war on inequality.” Journalist Rachel Sylvester pointed out that “The Blairites are trying to redefine equality as a pragmatic rather than a political thing”; as the Equal Opportunities Minister stated, “Economic prosperity depends on making the most of our most valuable resource—people. To do that, we must not discriminate.” The mixture of economic reductionism and feminine sentiment is unappealing to both visceral Tories and the Old Left, but such views are likely to prove attractive to a certain kind of Tory for whom the free market is the be-all and end-all.

The same issue of the Telegraph reported that the Equal Opportunities Commission will draw up a code governing how companies should treat homosexual employees and their paramours on the questions of travel allowances and health insurance, and that officials at the Department of Health want to alter the meaning of “next of kin” to include homosexual partners. On February 14 came news that Royal Air Force cadets would be told that homosexuality is not damaging to morale.

On March 2, naive Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops, at the suggestion of the Bishop of Blackburn, reached a compromise agreement with Labour under which they would drop their opposition to Section 28’s repeal in exchange for a commitment in the forthcoming Learning and Skills Bill to teach the importance of marriage and “stable relationships” in schools. Sharper-witted Tories noticed the worryingly anodyne expression “stable relationships,” which will be taken to include homosexual relationships. The idea was also promptly attacked from the left—the health secretary and the minister for women both argued that concentrating on marriage would hinder the (long-running and futile) campaign against underage pregnancies, and the (homosexual) minister for culture, media and sport claimed that the proposed replacement was just as “bad.” (The Tories defeated this amendment later in March.)

On March 6, at an election hustings, Tory mayoral candidate Steven Norris said that the police should turn a blind eye to cruising and discreet sex (the “extreme right-wing” William Hague of Labour mythology has just appointed Norris vice-chairman of the Conservative Party). On March 9, a poll in Sedgefield, County Durham (Tony Blair’s constituency) revealed that 71 percent of adults, mostly Labour voters, want to retain the ban. Also in March, a debate on the subject split the Association of Teachers and Lecturers almost down the middle, with one delegate using the splendidly old-fashioned (but weak) argument that homosexuality “was one of the major concomitant parts of the decline and fall of major empires.” On March 23, a prominent homosexual theologian was appointed as the new university “missioner” at Oxford. Stonewall, the homosexual group at the forefront of the battle to repeal Section 28, received almost £900,000 in lottery money, bringing the total amount of lottery money given to homosexual groups since April 1999 to £2.8 million.

Even with Section 28 on the books, homosexuals are getting their propaganda into schools. In schools for children from age 11 up, Berkshire Health Authority has circulated a newsletter (funded by the National Health Service) advertising homosexual pubs and websites, giving “cruising” tips, and inviting readers to take part in a homosexual “beauty contest.” (Health authorities are not covered by Section 28, which only applies to local councils.) Christopher Booker, writing in the Sunday Telegraph in March, described Avon Health Authority’s “teachers’ pack,” A Practical Guide to Challenging Homophobia in Schools, which gives guidelines for teachers who wish to encourage their students to act out various roles (such as “16 year old Asian lesbian,” “male to female transgendered person,” and “black disabled lesbian who is also a wheelchair user”) and suggests that pupils should regard such figures as Quentin Crisp, George Michael, and “Pat in [the British soap opera] Eastenders” as positive role models. This gives the lie to Blair’s February speech in which he said, “People are being told their children will have—what was it?—homosexual roleplaying in schools, it’s nonsense” and that such things could never happen “not under this government. Not ever.”

The motion to repeal Section 28 was passed easily by Blair’s puppet Scottish Executive, whose members are fanatically determined to force metropolitan permissiveness on the generally conservative Scots that they recklessly ignored opinion polls. (Even 90 percent of school boards, institutions not normally regarded as conservative, wish to retain Section 28.) The Executive enthusiasts also insulted millionaire businessman Brian Souter’s “Keep the Clause” campaigning group, saying that it is “homophobic” and refusing to recognize the moral force of Souter’s privately funded ballot to all Scottish voters, which cost him £1.5 million. The referendum asked Scots to choose the statement with which they agreed: “I vote to retain Clause 28” or “I vote to repeal Clause 28.” On May 31, the results were announced, with 86.8 percent (about 1 million) of the 32 percent who responded demanding the retention of Section 28. Souter’s critics were delighted when a senior executive in his corporation was arrested in July for allegedly soliciting a male prostitute. There were complaints in June when Labour’s Lord Alli used the House of Lords as a contact address when advertising for a chief executive for his new venture.

New Home Office proposals announced in July are intended to equate homosexual and heterosexual behavior by removing laws, such as those on sodomy and “cottaging,” that relate only to homosexuals. “A man and a man—or a woman and a woman—kissing or holding hands in public should no more be criminalized than a man and a woman behaving in the same way,” say the report’s authors.

But those who wish to strike at the root of biology and replace family life with multitudinous casual copulations are not having it all their way. hi addition to Brian Souter’s one-man crusade and the political campaigning of Lady Young, there has been resistance at other levels. Tory-controlled Kent County Council has banned the promotion of homosexuality in its schools and stated that marriage should be upheld “as the key building block of society,” which would effectively negate the repeal of Section 28. Religious groups have also found a new unity of purpose. The entire affair has damaged Labour’s family-friendly image.

The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, which would equalize the age of consent for homosexuals and heterosexuals, will return to the House of Lords for a final reading, having been defeated there twice before. It now faces the Parliament Act, whereby the Commons can pass laws over the opposition of the House of Lords, but Lady Young has promised to force a vote this time around. As she stated during the previous vote: “It is not about equality at all, it is about children, and as we all know 16 would in practice mean 14.” The truth of this remark was confirmed when a militant homosexual, believing that the battle had already been won, declared: “Now we’re going to go for 14!” Civilized, instinctively liberal-minded Britons may be beginning to understand the insatiable nature of “equality.” Perhaps more of them will vote accordingly this time.