Tom Baldwin on how to stay straight after death
The card is designed to look like those for organ donation we are all supposed to carry around in our wallets. "In the event of my death," it says, "I do not want my children adopted by homosexuals."
It was issued by a group called the Christian Institute with the connivance of Tory family policy campaigners in the House of Lords. A glance at this group's website shows it is a registered charity campaigning for 'Christian truth' alongside various pictures of very clean cut young men doing just that.
But the real fun starts when you look at its briefing papers, which reveal a feverish homo-erotic imagination at work. For instance, here they are discussing whether gay people should be allowed to serve in the military: "Service life necessarily involves close contact in confined spaces in such places as trenches, barracks, snow holes, tents, or tanks."
Now just reflect on that sentence. There you are, in sub-zero temperatures, cowering in a snow hole to avoid enemy bullets. With whom is there "close contact"? Oooh, it's that muscle-bound soldier dressed in yes! yes! uniform. Does you knee begin involuntarily pressing against that of your comrade who then please God! turns to you with a suggestive smile on his lips?
Read on: "Probably everyone experiences sexual temptation. This is particularly true of men for whom sexual arousal can be less to do with a relationship and more to do with mere physical gratification. Sexual temptation, including homosexual temptation, is not sinful. Yielding to it is.
"Sexual temptation must be guarded against. Men and women do not share the same public lavatories. There are separate changing facilities at sports grounds. Boys and girls in boarding schools have separate dormitories."
Ah, but men, with those terrible "temptations" do share the "same public lavatories," do they not? As for the sudden reference to locker rooms and boys' dormitories at boarding schools, well I'm afraid at this stage, I must draw a veil over proceedings.
Because the Christian Institute is not that funny. Its effectiveness in the still unreformed House of Lords have allowed mainly Tory peers to exert more influence on our lives than just about any other British Conservatives in the last five years.
A Christian Institute publication In the last Parliament the Lords almost managed to stop the Government lowering the age of consent for gay people from 18 to 16. It was more successful in blocking the abolition of Section 28, a law which bans local authorities "promoting" homosexuality.
This autumn those lovely donor-style cards helped galvanise the peers into voting against legislation allowing unmarried including gay couples to adopt orphaned or abandoned children (who, incidentally, appear to be at some risk of sexual abuse in care homes).
The Government, for all its good intentions in this area, now appears to be running scared of the religious Right. Although there will be another attempt to scrap Section 28 in this session, it will not be in John Prescott's Local Government Bill. Instead, ministers will only allowbackbenchers to table an amendment to the legislation before it goes to the Lords. That means when peers inevitably vote against it once again, ministers will almost certainly accept their decision, saying they do not want to lose the rest of the Bill.
The Conservative Party leadership, for all its protestations of inclusivity, succumbed long ago to these fundamentalists and show little sign of changing. At one stage the Tories promised a free vote on gay adoption but the Shadow Cabinet then changed its mind and insisted on a three line whip ordering MPs to vote against the legislation. It is the same with Section 28, the principle of which Iain Duncan Smith recently reaffirmed despite earlier promising to review his party's position.
Until her death this summer, Baroness Young was the unofficial leader of these unelected peers determined to stop soldiers getting off with other in snow holes, children learning that gays are not there just to be bashed, or Heaven forfend being adopted by a loving couple who just happen to be the same sex.
Her obituaries gave us this little vignette into her life. Lady Young, known as 'old tin knickers' by some of her colleagues, was so surprised when she opened a letter offering her a Tory peerage, "she almost dropped her husband's breakfast egg." There was not much temptation going on in her household, I suspect.
However, the debates on gay adoption and Section 28 show that her allies in House of Lords and the Christian Institute can still hurt the rest of us. Maybe there was another card in her handbag, saying: "I want my prejudices to live on in the event of my death."