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Stonewall uncover ‘institutional homophobia’ in asylum system

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  1. Fantastic report from Stonewall. This issue has been a stain on the UK’s human rights record for years, and one which the last government singularly failed to address, as it went belly-up to the bigots and xenophobes on any issue to do with immigration.

    The testimony of the gay people chronicled in this report is harrowing, but just as shocking is the ignorance and homophobia of UKBA case-owners and management.

    Perhaps surprisingly, but no less welcome for that, was the announcement in the government’s colalition document last week that they would end the deportation of gay people in legitimate fear of mistreatment in their own countries. With this report, they at least now have information on the mess that needs fixing.

    For further information on what life looks like once you’re in the system, see Refugee Support’s report, Over not Out: http://www.refugeesupport.org.uk/130509.html

    I hope that some of the people who use these forums as an opportunity to slag off Stonewall, especially for its supposed failure to prioritse the issue of gay marriage, will spare a few minutes to read this report and reflect on how the affront to their rights compares with those experienced by asylum seekers, in this country, and under our very noses.

  2. Mihangel apYrs 24 May 2010, 1:14pm

    “Going Back, which is published today, features groundbreaking new research and detailed evidence from both LGB asylum seekers and staff at the UK Border Agency, who say they have received no solid guidelines on how to question LGB asylum claimants from Jamaica, Malawi and Uganda……”

    there’s enough literature and research out there: hell the FCO should give guidance, and these civil servants are also union members – had I been them I’d have asked for info from my union.

    The bottom line is that UKBA (previously the Immigration Service) have a bad reputation for handling these cases, adopting a fortress mentality.

    It’s a pity cases aren’t taken to the high court as terrorist asylum cases

  3. paul canning 24 May 2010, 2:13pm

    It is excellent research and can only help the pressure to secure meaningful change in the system. However the Independent’s coverage got it wrong yesterday – fortunately pinknews get’s it right.

    LGBT Asylum News has detailed the problems with the Independent’s headline ‘most gay asylum seekers being sent back’: http://wp.me/pFUOO-gl

  4. @ Chameleon – regarding your comment:

    “I hope that some of the people who use these forums as an opportunity to slag off Stonewall, especially for its supposed failure to prioritse the issue of gay marriage”

    There is nothing supposed about it. They don’t prioritise gay marriage. It is simple fact.

    While some of the posters on this forum do criticise Stonewall pretty strongly, I think the majority of those who are critical of Stonewall on gay marriage realise that they do great work on important issues, like gay asylum seekers and bullying of gays at school.

    However, that doesn’t excuse them for not standing up for us on a major community issue: same sex marriage.

  5. I’ve not read the report but would like to add there are STILL MANY issue here in the Uk that Stonewall should sort out before worrying about other nationals. Every day in the Uk people have to put up with homophobic abuse in their work place or on the streets

    To me the whole asylum issue here in the UK is a complete and utter mess and needs to be overalled be you straight or gay.

    Gav

  6. “Stonewall have issued a set of recommendations to rectify errors of judgment made by UKBA staff.

    These include robust policy and guidance and training of all UKBA decision-makers to ensure effective questioning and fair case-hearings.”

    So it’s true, then. UKBA decision-makers were not trained to ensure effective questioning and fair case-hearing.

    I really needed to hear that.

    Thank you Stonewall.

  7. Patrick, No. 4, well said. StonewallUK has no interest in same-sex marriage, so you’re right when you say that Chamelon is incorrect when he states “supposed failure” on marriage equality. I will concede though that it has done some good, no question about it, but on this one major issue, its been a total failure by refusing to support it. Not eveyone wants a civil partnership, another issue it has failed to acknowledge. It should and must fight for it even if some don’t care about it and it doesn’t necessarily speak for all of us. The rights of the minority should also be guaranteed and respected, no matter our differences or views.

  8. Patrick – You’re quite right, Stonewall don’t prioritise gay marriage as a campaign issue. What I’m questioning is that some people suppose that to be a failure (which they’re entitled to do, though I for one wouldn’t agree with them), and do use that as a pretext to damn the whole organisation.

    Gav – it’s not really my job to be an apologist for Stonewall, but perhaps you can spend a few minutes on their web-site where you might, for example, read their guide on tackling homophobic bullying and harassment in the work-place, their research reports on homophobic hate-crime, or catch-up with their capmpaign on tackling homophobic bullying in schools. Amongst the many other things they do.

    Perhaps you SHOULD read the report, and find out about the human rights abuses that take place within our asylum system through institutionalised homophobia, before you kick the suffering of gay asylum seekers into the long grass.

    I’d not, however, disagree with your comment that the whole asylum system urgently needs reform.

  9. Sister Mary Clarance 24 May 2010, 3:12pm

    I have to say given the choice I would rather Stonewall prioritised the prevention of death, torture and abuse of gay people, irrespective of whether they are actually UK resident or simply seeking safe refuge here.

    I would put a life somewhat ahead of the right to marry – particularly when it is not clear at this stage whether the majority prefer the assimilation of civil partnerships in to marriage or whether they prefer the separate but equal status. Yes, we all know there are very vocal pro-marriage supporters on here, but I think the voting intention polls showed how unrepresentative the group is of the mainstream gay community.

    Life is the most precious thing we have and recent debates seem to have highlighted the lack of importance a number of people using this site place on the lives of others.

  10. And Bob. Try this thought experiment.

    Not everyone cares as much about gay marriage as you do.

    I went out to dinner last night with two couples with CP’s and asked them if they minded about the name. Neither did, though one said they wished that they’d been allowed to do it in a church, because of their religious beliefs. My sister is doing her CP next month, and I asked the same question of her – same response.

    The fact of the matter is that gay people have got the rights they need from legal recognition of their partnerships, but some people don’t like the fact it gets a different name.

    What’s in a name? I don’t deny it may have some significance, but in terms of actual rights, it’s much less important to me than the fact that gay people flee to this country in fear of their lives, and get treated so appallingly in our system – we ought to do better.

  11. What an excellent opportunity for the UK Government to save some costs by sacking the homophobes in the Agencies involved. The cry that they didn’t have any firm guidlines is just pathetic. Not much of the milk of human kindness flowing in these un-civil civil servants.

  12. How funny that Stonewall makes it so obvious that their work excludes Transsexuals. LGB is a strange term I never used (that is without the T)

  13. “I hope that some of the people who use these forums as an opportunity to slag off Stonewall, especially for its supposed failure to prioritse the issue of gay marriage

    I thought Stonewall was supposed to support full equaily? Not pick and choose and cheery pick. Half a job done is a bad as no job at all. Stonewall should adopt gay marridge as an equailty issue as well as every thing else. Other wise Stonewall please on your web site could you please show us a tick list what your are going to support and what your not, so we can make up our minds if our monies should go your way?

  14. Why am I not in the slightest bit surprised at this revelation?! The last labour government did diddly-squat about this issue,and no doubt the new coalition will publicly bleat on about what a scandal it is yet will do the same,NOTHING!As ‘Gav’ has commented,rights and protection for the lgbt community in this country has hardly been noticable,so what chance do lgbt asylum seekers have?!

  15. Harry Morgan 24 May 2010, 5:05pm

    I dont doubt that Stonewall works very hard for the gay community but I wonder how much things have really changed. I work for a Real Estate Investment Trust one of the largest in the UK and the homophobia is unbelievable, Share Schemes and bonuses are used to by pass equality legislation and discriminate against eithic minority and gay members of staff. There is no recourse for those who are mistreated as these perks are ‘discresionary’. It seems that a lot more has to be done to ensure that laws are actually being applied and enforced and not merely stated somewhere

  16. Who actually sponsors Stonewall, I read their last set of accounts and they appeared to a have a large amount of money from the Scottish and Welsh councils to do particular projects. I’m not saying they are bias but they have a strong incentive to tow the party (govt) line when it comes to what issues they prioritise. Was this a issue that they got paid to do ? I don’t know, is a good issue but let’s not assume that this wasn’t an issue that was asked of them to do and was actually paid for. They have funds from various banks and companies, undisclosed sponsors and trusts. I for one can’t see that tackling issues relating to BRITISH gays living in the UK shouldn’t be their main priority and GAY marriage in the UK is one of them, a major one as well. I applaude their work on the issue in this article but this is only one issue and I do feel that they let British gays down by not persuing gay marriages in the UK – it’s the one major and probably the most difficult issue in the UK – most parties want to avoid it yet most parties agree that homophoic bullying is wrong, horrific sentences to Malawi gay peoepl are wrong and also sending back gays to countries where the may be tortured and put to death is wrong – everybody agrees on these issues but GAY marriages for British gays seems a taboo subject, something that for Stonewall and others is non negotiable – they won’t tackle the issue – the gay orgs are pathetic on this issue – of course we support STonewall and other orgs on the issues in the article who wouldn’t …..

  17. Mumbo Jumbo 24 May 2010, 7:41pm

    Try this much better written story on this report:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/virtually-all-gay-asylumseekers-sent-back-to-persecution-1980486.html

    It contains these vitally revealing and almost unbelievable nuggets:

    - UKBA staff also showed a lack of understanding and training, the report says. One case worker asked an asylum-seeker: “Why do you choose to be homosexual when you know it is illegal in your own country?”

    - Another senior caseworker suggested the type of books a person read could determine if they were gay. “I would look at how they’ve explored their sexuality in a cultural context,” he said, adding, “reading Oscar Wilde perhaps, films and music”.

    *facepalm*

  18. Philip Davidson 24 May 2010, 9:06pm

    No problem don’t come to the U.K. go somewhere else.

  19. paul canning 25 May 2010, 3:02am

    @Mumbo Jumbo

    Regarding the Independent’s report – it has an extremely serious error, this piece does not. See http://bit.ly/a2u2df

  20. @ Chameleon and @ Sister Mary Clarence ….

    You talk about gay marriage not being a priority for a lot of gay people. I am not sure there is any evidence of that, but let us say there is for hypothetical argument purposes.

    If a majority of gay people want CPs, not marriage, does that majority have the right to overrule the minority within the gay community?

    A majority overruling a minority is what you appear to be encouraging. In the gay community I would have thought we would have been wiser than to support majority politics.

    I am in a CP and I want it changed to a marriage. I know many people in the same situation, many of whom are foreign nationals here and whose relationships are not recognised in their home countries, which allow gay marriage ironically, precisely because a CP is not a marriage. Is THAT equality?

    The gay asylum seeker issue is terrible, and the article made me angry. Gays really are treated terribly and this needs to change. However we can’t ignore British gay community issues completely while we go off and save the World. Marriage is a community issue, maybe a minority one, maybe a majority one, it does not matter. It is a community issue and needs to be dealt with.

  21. Bill Perdue 25 May 2010, 8:26am

    The institutionalized homophobia of the Home Office and Border Police combined with the rampant xenophobia and racism of the Tories are a lethal combination.

    We should insist the EU and US, who are responsible for so much of the anti-LGBT violence throughout Africa, Latin America and Asia adopt an open ended policy granting asylum and generous social services for GLBT refugees fleeing incarceration, torture and murder.

    Embassies and consulates should offer sanctuary to all GLBT refugees requesting it.

    ———————

    The right to same sex marriage is important because it’s what the LGBT communities needs to be equal. Anything less creates a very dangerous second class status.

    It’s a key part of our agenda and counterpoising it to other questions is a trick to oppose same sex marriage without seeming to. Everyone who agrees with the cults is an enemy of our communities.

    The fight for SSM is also critical because the cults, particularly vermin like the roman cult, anti-GLBT haters like Akinola and American evangelicals oppose it. Every nation that joins the growing list legalizing SSM is a nail in the coffin of the cults.

  22. I have to say given the choice I would rather Stonewall prioritised the prevention of death, torture and abuse of gay people

    Not having equailty is abuse, and not having freedom of expression is not a life!

  23. Dave, I too think Stonewall should prioritise resources towards issues like LGBT asylum seekers over same sex marriage, as their lives are at stake.

    The problem is, Stonewall doesn’t pay any attention to same sex marriage at all. It is not that it is given 2nd priority, it is ignored completely, because Stonewall think they know better than us and can speak on our behalf. They assume to speak for all of us, even those of us who they clearly don’t represent by not supporting same sex marriage.

    Gay asylum and bullying at school are incredibly important issues as they highlight the huge gulf that still exists between the way we are treated and the way heterosexuals are treated. However, this gulf is reinforced by our lack of equal status in society, which in turn is reinforced by the lack of same sex marriage.

    This is a symbolic thing. While we have a separate status we will be separate.

    I understand there are many in the community who want to keep CPs, and I am in favour of keeping CPs, even though personally I think we should just have marriage and CPs are a waste of time, just there to appease a section of the community who are so hung up on the past that they don’t want to be called married. Despite my strong personal opinion on this, I recognise there are many who want CPs, and so be it, they should have them. Likewise, those who want marriage should have it. People can say we are buying into a rotten institution etc. That is entirely their right. However, it is our right to buy into it. In fact, in my opinion, we are not so much buying into it, we are helping to take it over and reclaim it from a past where it was a symbol of the incredibly oppressive treatment of women.

    The point here is that those in the gay community, regardless of how many we number, who want same sex marriage, should have the right to it. There might only be 10 of us, but we should still have the right to it. Those people who try and argue (as Stonewall do) that same sex marriage is a minority view, should be ashamed of themselves, as it is because the gay community is a minority that it has been treated so badly in the past. It is shameful for Stonewall and others to play the same majority politics on those of us who want same sex marriage as was played on the entire gay community in the past. How quickly we forget!

    The point is also that CPs don’t bring equality for many gay couples where one partner is non British, with CPs not being recognised in their home countries. At least with marriage, an increasing number of countries recognise it.

    CPs or marriage, we should all have the choice. True, it shouldn’t be Stonewall’s main funding priority, that should be issues like bullying and asylum, however they shouldn’t completely ignore it as they do now, and those of us who want it shouldn’t be marginalised by those of you who are opposed to it.

  24. Jock S Trap 25 May 2010, 9:31am

    More excellent work from Stonewall that flys in the face of all those who keep calling for the organisation to disband. The problems with gay asylum seekers Should have been sorted in the last 13 years what with our ‘gay-friendly’ Labour. Let’s hope Dave Cameron keeps to his word and sorts this institutionalised discrimination out and places it where it belongs… to the history books.

    Stonewall don’t claim to speak for all gay people just as much as Peter Tatchell and Outrage don’t. Personally I rather do without the latter. Yet we would be a lot worse off without either of them. We need them both.

  25. Gay marriage is an issue and Stonewall should take the issue on, part of Stonewall job is to offer “Paid” , as their website states
    “Our fees range from £500 to £1,000 per day depending on the nature of the work and the Consultant required. All consulting work includes a discussion with the client in order to define your needs and the submission of a consulting proposal setting out what is to be delivered, the outcomes and the detail of who will deliver this, including the number of days and cost entailed to be agreed with the client in advance.”

    LEts not get confused between what is a paid consultancy job, or jobs that are specifically funded by sponsors and what are the important issues to the British gay community – gay marriage is one of them and I can’t believe the British gay organistions and Britis gays ignoring this – In France the gay org have rejected Sarkozy offer of a civil unions as a ghettoisation of gays , they’re sticking out for gay marriage

  26. This report is very important.

    It’s importance is seriously damaged by its association with the homophobic Stonewall organisation however.

    Stonewall through their opposition to legal equality for the the LGBT population has zero credibility as a campaigning organisation.

    This type of work is important. In fact it is too important to be tainted by association with the homophobic Stonewall organisation.

    Go away Stonewall – your opposition to legal equality for LGBT people is sickening.

  27. Stonewall is opposed to the right of a same sex couple to enter the legal contract of civil marriage based purely on their sexual orientation.

    People may try to minimise this homophobia on the part of Stonewall.

    I refuse to minimise this homophobia. Homophobia is homophobia. Whether it is ‘well-meaning’ or not.

    Stonewall are a homophobic organisation. They are a group of contemptible, middle class, middle-aged, professional gay yes-men and women, who have forgotten that they are meant to represent the LGBT population instead of simply existing to support the governmnet of the day.

    Stonewall should disband. They are a homophobic disgrace.

  28. Patrick. According to the same report you refer to, Stonewall actually surveys its supporters every year on its priorities (I don’t know how many other charities do that.). If their asupporters say lgbqqi people seeking asylum is more of a priority than changing the name of civil partnership, isn’t that a matter for them?

  29. Martin – complete poppy-cock! Do you see any irony in the fact that this important report IS written by homophobic, white, middle class Stonewall. They were the ones who got off their arses, did the research, and wrote it. And they’re the ones who will go and rub Linh Homer’s and Theresa May’s noses in it, ever so politely, of course. And they’ll probably get a result. So tell me, in what way is it ‘seriously damaged’ by the association? And who would you rather have produce the report?

    If gay marriage is important to you and others like Patrick then fine. I’d simply ask you to recognise that there is a range of opinion on it. Stonewall is an small, independent organisation, and it has to decide what it is going to prioritise in order to be effective. Less than five years after the introduction of civil partnerships, they think it’s not worth the effort of pushing for gay marriage yet, and there are other, more important things to do. I agree with them.

    If you don’t, then support another charity that does! Stonewall don’t claim to represent the LGB community in a democratic sense – they don’t run a plebocyte. What charity does?

    You’re willing to fling a lot of unsubstantiated sh!t in their face Martin. FYI, both their staff and board of trustees comprise straight people, black people, and disabled people. Middle-class? What year are we in? But tell me, who do YOU support? And what exactly do you DO to advance the causes you believe in, aside from spraying bile into your keyboard?

    To pick up on some other points above:
    - read the report and you’ll see it was produced with financial support of a firm of solicitors and the Law Society.
    - Stonewall receives some funding from both welsh and scottish govt agencies to support specific activities. Less that 5% of Stonewall’s fuding comes from govt agencies, it’s all in the public domain, and in no way comprmises their independence
    - the report was commissioned reserched and written while Labour where in office, who did nothing to address this issue. It’s highly critical of UKBA, HO, and FCO, so I hardly think that qualifies as cosy toadying to the govt.
    - the coalition document published last week includes an explicit commitment to end the deportation of LGBT people who face persecution on the basis of their SO/GI. We now have an opportunity, and evidence, with which to press them on that commitment and ensure they deliver.

  30. @MartinM:-

    I have to say that is the biggest load of claptrap I’ve ever heard.

    I think you need to learn the meaning of ‘Homophobia’ and Homophobic’.

    Clearly your one of those attention seekers that brand everything and everyone homophobic and constantly using the ‘Gay Card’ for your own glorification and self-importance.

    I apologise for being blunt but a word of advise… Those people get Very boring, Very fast!

    Stonewall do a fantastic job and I for one applaud their work!!

  31. Stonewall don’t claim to speak for all gay people

    Ah but they claim they do. Big difference. Read web site. No where does it say we do not back this etc etc etc.

    Let them publish a more open agenda,detailing what they dont support, as much as what they do. Then we have the right to choose to back them or not?

  32. Mention the word Stonewall and we immediately get the usual whiners bleating on about marriage equality without any acknowledgment of what the original article is about.
    Guess what people? Those of us with Civil Partnerships who have experienced the legal equality this gives us do not give a stuff about calling it marriage. I don’t want heterosexual marriage with it’s tired conventions, B.S vows and religious content. If you do then by all means have your CP and then go get it blessed in a Church that will have you.
    Along with most of my mates I support Stonewall’s work around the issues that really effect me and others: our ability to walk down the street without getting attacked, bullying in schools, homophobic language, employment equality and yes, sending gays back to torture and death in hostile regimes.
    So sorry if I don’t give a stuff about a naming convention around my government supported and recognised relationship but there are, I believe, bigger issues to fight.

  33. Mike – to respond to your comment

    “Patrick. According to the same report you refer to, Stonewall actually surveys its supporters every year on its priorities (I don’t know how many other charities do that.). If their asupporters say lgbqqi people seeking asylum is more of a priority than changing the name of civil partnership, isn’t that a matter for them? ”

    If this is the approach Stonewall wants to take, fine. However they should stop claiming they represent the LGBT community, or creating the illusion that they represent the LGBT community in the press, as unless they do truly proportional work for all of us in the community they don’t represent us and should stop creating this illusion.

    I have to say, I am not sure that there is a gay rights organisation in any other country where gay rights are well developed who is not pushing for same sex marriage. It is quite peculiar that Stonewall isn’t. They appear alone among gay rights organisations on this issue.

  34. Patrick, Dave, words of as few syllables as possible:
    Stonewall don’t claim to represent the gay community, because there isn’t one. They campaign on LGB issues that they and their supporters think are important. They’re more effective than anyone elsse trying to do the same thing. Get over it.

  35. Stonewall have to balance their priorities between paid consultation work and funds for specific projects – I don’t suppose the Welsh office and the Scottish parliament paid Stonewall (I think it may have been over 2500 pounds – see 2009 account – I may be wrong) for nothing. Stonewall have to prioritise what they do taking into account of these issues . They may do this very well and sensibly but nevertheless there is a balancing act between paid work and work set aside for funded work and somehow gay marrigae has been left of the balance – most EU countries see CPs as a stepping stone to gay marriage, it seems Stonewall and the British govt don’t agree – or am I wrong? Yes, there are other just as important isses but it’s amazing that gay marriage isn’t one of these issues

  36. Alan,No. 35, I think it has more to do with denial by both StonewallUK and the government. Its nothing more than a stubborn refusal to confront it. Using a religious backlash of course is merely a red herring now that another catholic country has gone all out to make it happen, disproving that marriaged is tied up with religion as that idiot Brown said recently with tacit support of Cameron. Remember, Brown once voiced support for marriage equality in California when it repealed same-sex marriage. He never mentioned religion once in that statement. Here at home, he did a complete 360 degree turnaround on his home turf to appease the bigots. Cameron will do exactly the same. “Considering” marriage is code for NO, its done just to bait some of the more gullible gay voters to support his belief in inequality, the legacy of the Brown government and now the Cameron government.

  37. Stewart – In response to your comments;

    “Mention the word Stonewall and we immediately get the usual whiners bleating on about marriage equality without any acknowledgment of what the original article is about.
    Guess what people? Those of us with Civil Partnerships who have experienced the legal equality this gives us do not give a stuff about calling it marriage.”

    That is your choice Stewart, but it is not ours. And I am in a CP, and I do give a stuff, as do all of my friends in CPs as well. I don’t personally know a single person in a CP who doesn’t want to have it called marriage.

    Once again, those gays/lesbians in CPs who don’t want them renamed think they have the right to dictate what to do to those who want them renamed. Clearly, they don’t realise that it is these sorts of politics to marginalise sections of a community which marginalised gay people for hundreds of years. By engaging in these sorts of politics, you show yourself to be no different to those who persecuted gays in the past.

    You are perfectly entitled to hold whatever opinion you want, but have some respect for those of us who want change, instead of acting like your way is the best.

    Chameleon, in response to your comments;
    “Patrick, Dave, words of as few syllables as possible:
    Stonewall don’t claim to represent the gay community, because there isn’t one. They campaign on LGB issues that they and their supporters think are important. They’re more effective than anyone elsse trying to do the same thing. Get over it.”

    Only the most zealous pro marriage posters on this forum are saying that are not good at what they do, and that is a childish stance of them to take. You hit it on the head though when you said they are doing what their supporters want. For this reason I don’t regard them as a legitimate LGBT rights organisation, rather an LGBT lobby organisation.

  38. Stewart, a further comment;

    “I don’t want heterosexual marriage with it’s tired conventions, B.S vows and religious content.”

    Firstly, what we are campaigning for is same sex civil marriage, not religious marriage. Marriage does not = religion. Atheists get married, after all.

    As for the tired conventions, I am not sure if you noticed, however a CP has all the same conventions as marriage pretty much, including incredibly tough divorce requirements which penalise people for falling out of love.

    If you honestly think your CP is something new and radical, have a look at the fine text, and you will realise that it is a marriage by another name. There is nothing revolutionary about it. It is for precisely that reason that many of us want it called marriage, because that is exactly what it is and should be called, to keep it simple.

    Anyone who is so lacking in intelligence that they can’t see that a CP is a marriage by another name needs to get a reality check. If you want to keep CP instead of marriage, fine, but don’t try to make it into some incredible revolutionary thing, because it is not.

    If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it is a duck. In this case, we just want a duck to be called a duck, instead of some other name to make some gays and lesbians feel like they are special and not conforming, when in reality they are doing exactly that, and they are as normal as they come.

  39. Its an utter disgrace; one reason I was pleased to see the downfall of Jacquie Smith who said go back and be discreet and you’ll be ok; silly cow!

  40. Patrick disagreeing with your view does not equate to making me “no different from those who persecuted gays in the past”. Where do you get off on equating my defense of Stonewall as an attack on gays? It is an idiotic charge.
    If you really see no equality in CP’s then why have one in the first place? Or perhaps like me, you saw it as a safe haven for me and my foreign national partner who were expelled from the US because I could not get residency based on our relationship status. So don’t talk to me about persecution when I have at first hand been on the receiving end of bigotry.
    Which of course brings us to the original story of Stonewall’s exposure of the persecution LGBT immigrants face – and not your consistent and pointless barracking of a non-issue for many of us. Get over it..

  41. “I think you need to learn the meaning of ‘Homophobia’ and Homophobic’. ”

    Stonewall is opposed to the right of same sex couples to enter the contract of marriage because of their sexuality.

    That is homophobia.

    There is absolutely no excuse for them to be opposed to equal rights for LGBT people.

    Stonewall are a disgrace to the legacy of the Stonewall Riots.

    They have no legitimacy as a campaigning group while they are opposed to LGBT equality.

    They need to disband because they are not fit for purpose.

  42. So MartinM gay marriage trumps the threat of rape, torture and murder as a “right” and Stonewall should disband because it’s remit does not include pushing for a name change from something already in parity in law with CP’s? You are out of your mind! Unlike you, Stonewall gets from behind it’s key board and does excellent work on bullying, equality in the workplace, homophobia in sports etc. If you really want to make a difference set up your own damn group to focus on marriage and leave them to focus on what their legitimate membership feels are priorities…

  43. Yo DaveP! Martin – if you expect to get what you want by calling gay people homophobic, just because they have a different point of view to you, then brace yourself for a lifetime of disappoointment and bitterness. And DaveP is right, it’d be much better for you if you got your finger out and actually did something useful, instead of screaming abuse.

    Patrick – thank you, yes, CP is marriage in all but name, and gives you all the rights and obligations you need. At the time the legislation was passed, it was the rights that were important, to protect those couples who were suffering tangible discrimination and injustice. Avoiding the row about the name meant they got access to those rights more quickly – it was a trade-off. One worth doing, in my view. I might be wrong, but I don’t see legislation to revisit the subject for at least another five years.

    In the meantime, all we’re arguing about is a name. I hear the argument that CP is regarded as somehow inferior to marriage, but other people’s perception of the name is their problem, and not likely to shift merely because the name gets changed.

    So, we might as well get on with other stuff that needs attention. Like this report, for example. And that’s why I say ‘well done Stonewall’.

  44. Sister Mary Clarance 25 May 2010, 9:36pm

    I have to say I am heartened by the number of people posting on here that they do think addressing issues around deportation of people to countries where they face torture or death is more important than a name change for civil partnerships to marriage.

    Clearly deportation and the potential ensuring torture and death will not affect most people on here and it is always disquieting to here people dismiss it as some sort of triviality because it does not personally affect them.

  45. Why is it, whenever people are unable, or unwilling to point the finger at individuals for their misgivings, they come up with this now clichéd phrase of “Institutional homophobia / racism / sexism / *insert another lefty whinge of your choice here*”

    Institutions are made up of people. people are responsible, so either accuse them, or shut the fvck up. Sounds to me like a case of “Institutional retards” to me.

  46. Can anyone please tell me why exactly is it so important to have a gay marriage..? Excuse me my ignorance but i’m honestly thick about this one. Is it a matter of ‘name’ or a matter of ‘equallity’, cus i see it as a matter of religion. I dont believe in a god but am prepared to forgive those who do. If we get to a point where civil partnerships give exactly the same rights as people who is married (and it is my understanding that it is not yet the case) how do one get to the point of changing fundamentals of the church? I dont want a marriage, i dont want it blessed by a minister and i dont want any religion or any sort of church involvement in my union with my partner but i would like to have the same equal rights as the person next to me who happens to be straight. So those hetrosexual people who wish to enter into a civil partnership because they dont want a religious connectation should be allowed to do so and i hope the couple that is currently in the process of taking their case to the European Court for Human Rights gets just that. Am I missing something crucial in this debate?

  47. Bettie, CP’s are intended to create the same rights and obligations as civil marriage. The only differences under UK law are :
    - minor procedural differences in the registration process
    - tranistional arrangements affecting back-dating of pension entitlements. A deal was done with the pension providers on this one, and a similar deal would have been done if we’d had same-sex marriage.
    More tricky is the issue of portability, ie. will other jurisdictions recognise UK CPs. By and large any country with some form of same sex union will recognise UK CPs as whatever the local variant is. UK law provides for recognition of civil unions or marriages enacted in other countries to be recognised as civil partnerships in this country, and the previous government was pressing for bi-lateral agreements to ensure that this became widespread international practice. For myself, I think the portability argument is a bit of a red-herring – get your civil marriage, and then go to Iran, for example, and try asking the authorities for it to be recognised.

    So there are few differences for practical purposes. What people seem to get upset about is that it does have a different name, and this implies some-kind of gay – straight ‘apartheid’. Personally I think this kind of language is an insult to the suffering of back South Africans, but nevertheless what objectors are pointing to is a fear that their civil partnership is perceived as being less legitimate in the eyes of society than something that is called marriage. Again, for my own part, I think straight people who are well disposed to gay rights will think of CP as marriage, and people who aren’t won’t, and that won’t change paricularly if you change the name. People who have CP’s know what sort of relationship they have, and so do the people who love and care for them. Well, that’s my experience of the couples I know.

    So, I think it’s largely a matter of semantics, and people of my persuasion that the arguemnt is a bit of a luxury, when other far worse things are going on.

    Others will doubtelss have a different view.

  48. Bettie: As Chameleon says, there are very few minor differences between CP and marriage, but you seem to assume that “marriage” indicates a church wedding. Many people have secular weddings in a registry office, which is, as near as dammit, identical apart from the slight adjustment in the wording.

    The reason myself and others get annoyed is because they are so similar, why make the distinction at all? My opinion is the government gave us marriage in everything but name simply to keep the religious right happy. It’s as simple as that.

    Personally, I think everyone is entitled to be married, and if churches wish to offer the service as well, so be it, but this ultimately is a legal matter, not a religious one.

  49. I wonder what a gay asylum-seeker would think if he or she read this thread?

  50. Mike: “I wonder what a gay asylum-seeker would think if he or she read this thread?”

    Hopefully they would get the message “We don’t want you. We are full. There is no more room at the inn.”

    Like the USA have become the world’s police, the UK seems have to become the world’s social workers. We cannot take on every waif and stray that knocks on our door. Other countries stopped it way back. Why do you think these people travel across the entire length of Europe to come here? What’s wrong with Italy, Germany or France? I’ll tell you why, They don’t give them free housing and benefits, that’s why.

  51. This report should make our lawmakers hang their heads in shame! We keep terrorists on the state in our prisons because we can’t send them back where they come from but just throw these poor people to the beasts in their so called nations; savages!

  52. WHEN IS SOMEONE GOING TO MOVE THE TOP THREE NEWS ARTICLES ON THE UK NEWS? THEY HAVE BEEN THERE FOR OVER THREE MONTHS NOW!

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