Exclusive

Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips has defended an article which suggested that gay people were becoming the “new McCarthyites”.

Her column, published yesterday, implied that homosexuality would become “mandatory” and accused gay activists of trying to “brainwash” children.

The article was written in response to plans to make lessons more inclusive of LGBT people and became a trending topic on Twitter.

Ms Phillips told PinkNews.co.uk that she would always defend gay people against “true prejudice” but maintained that the gay rights lobby intends to destroy “normal sexual behaviour”.

In an email, she wrote: “I’m sorry if what I wrote has offended some of your readers. You tell me that they may regard it as ‘over the top’. In fact, that is how I would describe some of the reaction to what I wrote.

“I have nothing against gay people and would always defend them against true prejudice – as I did in my article, and as I often do when considering the threat posed to them by radical Islamism. What does concern me, however, is the ‘gay rights’ political agenda which, as activists have often made clear, aims to change the basic moral framework of society.

“I am very surprised that readers may be offended by my suggestion that this agenda aims to destroy ‘normal’ sexual behaviour; as Andrew Sullivan made clear in his famous book, ‘Virtually Normal’, this is indeed a core aim.

“As for the issue of the teaching materials I would have thought that, given your readers’ concern for civil liberties, they would be disturbed by any manipulation of the school curriculum to promote a particular viewpoint about any group. There is no evidence at all that any such initiative has ever diminished any kind of prejudice or bullying in schools.

“And I know that many gay people are very decently troubled by my central point, that the equality agenda is depriving Christians of their rights to live their lives in accordance with their principles.

“I hope this helps explain my position more fully.”