Over the past week there's been a scrap going on between the political parties as to who is the gay-friendlier. Interesting to gays probably, very boring for everyone else. But there is one aspect to all of this which still goes largely ignored - for reasons, no doubt, of "cultural sensitivity" - and that is the effect that the long march of multiculturalism has had on this whole issue. Basically it comes down to this question: how do you celebrate and respect cultures and religions which think you are an abomination?
It's a tricky one for the bien pensants and their political spokesman. I had the chance to find out quite how tricky when I went to a political event last week organised by the gay networking group Jake at the National Portrait Gallery, held to mark the opening of its Gay Icons exhibition (an odd collection, this. Madonna sure. But Nelson Mandela?). Nicholas Boles and Nick Herbert for the Tories and Ben Bradshaw and Chris Bryant for Labour (plus some anonymous bloke from the Lib Dems) vied with each other for the votes of an audience of 150 or so gay men.
When question time came around, I made the point to the panel that a recent survey by Policy Exchange had showed that 72 per cent of young Muslim men thought that homosexuality should be recriminalised. As the Channel 4 Dispatches programme on Mosques showed last year, there are some pretty disturbing things being said by some Imans about what is best for gays, ie death. Given the rapidly increasing proportion of the population which is Muslim, did they not think that there might be some possible problem in the future?