I believe, however, that there is a huge difference between gay rights and pedophile rights: In a gay relationship both participants are consenting adults, but in a pedophile relationship the child cannot consent to participate.
In the same way that society has determined that children cannot choose to vote, or choose to drive, or choose to opt out of school, or choose to opt out of medical care, our society has also determined that children cannot choose to have sex. As long as that fact remains, then a pedophile can have all the rights he wants, but he still can't have sexual acts with children, or encourage children into sexual acts, because children do not have the right to participate in sex. Let's not forget that children are people with rights, too, and pedophile rights (or gay rights, for that matter) cannot give children rights they don't have. Trying to link gay rights with pedophile rights is nothing more than rhetorical subterfuge. It's a different issue altogether.
The fact is that with few exceptions, the cognitive and reasoning abilities of children are far less developed than they will be when children grow into adulthood. The reason we deprive children of so many rights is because they physiologically lack the ability to make informed decisions. Such abilities develop over time, but meanwhile we deprive children the right to consent to potentially harmful activities.
What about the argument that gays disproportionately abuse children? For example, some studies claim that as many as 17% of boys are sexually abused, but only 2% (or even 1%) of the population is gay. Therefore, there must be a lot of gay men abusing boys. This argument is also misleading.
Opponents of gay rights shouldn't have it both ways. Using this kind of reasoning, I can make an otherwise heterosexual man who molests boys count as straight for one statistic, but as gay for another. Some gay men do molest children, but this skewing tactic makes a small number of exclusively gay men seem responsible for a disproportionately larger amount of crime.
The fact is that based on crime statistics, less than 1% of boys who were molested were molested by the same kind of self-identified gay men we count in the 1%-8% figure (http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html). Furthermore, since molestations by women are almost unknown, lesbians should not even be a part of this issue. Yet the opponents of gay rights never fail to include them.
We should all be concerned about the sexual exploitation of children and any trend toward an increased tolerance for pedophilia, but let's not allow these concerns to be hijacked for other unrelated political ends. Mary Eberstadt, whose article Mr. Colson quotes, was pretty careful to avoid making such a mistake. Mr. Colson should have done the same.