Deborah Ross: Do not leave traditional family values unattended at any time

If you ask me: Gays will stop at nothing to get their hands on your traditional family values, nothing!

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If you ask me, I am absolutely with those who argue against gay marriage on the grounds it will undermine "traditional family values". As it stands, I have 14 traditional family values, which I keep locked away in a most secret place, for fear the gays might not just undermine them, but will filch them altogether.

Gays will stop at nothing to get their hands on your traditional family values, nothing! It's even my birthday shortly and, although my husband offered to buy me a 15th traditional family value as a gift, I declined. "Just get me some soap," I said, "or a jokey apron. I don't need the stress of another traditional family value to worry about!!"

To protect your own traditional family values, the police recommend the following:

* Never count your traditional family values in public or flash them around

* Do not leave your traditional family values unattended on the seat of a car or in a shopping trolley

* Keep shrubbery around your home cut down so gays don't have a place to hide while prying open windows

* Register your traditional family values as yours so they appear on the police database

* Don't leave your traditional family values on the doorstep overnight even if they are muddy. They will almost certainly have been undermined by the morning, and may even be gone.

Now, some people, I know, do say being against gay marriage is homophobia, pure and simple. How, they ask, can Frank and Joe's marriage or Beth and Liz's marriage undermine Tom and Mary's? How can it have any impact at all, negative or otherwise? And if it makes gay people happy, and does not affect straight people, what other reason can there be?

Plus, they might continue, how can Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, bang on about gay marriage "fatally weakening one of our greatest strengths, the traditional institution of marriage" when more than a third of such marriages end in divorce? How successful an institution is that?

Well, all I can say is anyone who argues any of the above has obviously never returned home to find they've been ransacked. My neighbour, Sue, returned from holiday recently and found her back door broken in and her traditional family values stolen and, although the police investigation led to nothing, she does not doubt who was behind it.

"It was the gays," she says. "I just know it." She was insured, luckily, so was able to replace her traditional family values quite promptly, but as she added: "I still feel as if I've been violated, and fatally weakened, as well as undermined."

My advice to you? Double-lock your doors tonight, and then check and re-check you have done so.

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