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Peter Tatchell: Tide is turning on gay marriage

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  1. “Some people say that civil partnerships are sufficient for gay couples. This is hypocritical. They would not accept a similar ban on black people getting married.”

    Oh why don’t you just mention them by name?


    Stonewall support apartheid against gay people.

    Stonewall are a homophobic organisation, and should disband

  2. HelenWilson 23 Sep 2010, 5:52pm

    I remember listening to a speech by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he described the document he was given by the apartheid South African government to allow him travel and collect his nobel peace prize in 1984. As he was not white he was not allowed a South African passport. Instead he got a document that said he was person of indeterminate origin and not a South African.

    I see Civil Partnerships as an equivalent to the document Desmond Tutu received. They are apartheid of relationships and not acceptable in what is supposed to be a free and equal society.

    End apartheid of relationships equality for civil marriage now.

  3. Martin Lawrence 23 Sep 2010, 6:20pm

    I share Peter’s belief that civil partnerships were a good step forwards, and I’m constantly frustrated by those who criticise the Labour government which got them through. There is simply no way they could have got marriage through the Lord’s at that time. Thank God they had the nous to go for the lesser option first. As is now clear, exactly what we had all hoped for is now happening, namely that the general public is becoming much more amenable to the idea of marriage. I think this was a masterly piece of politics, as a result of which we shall have gay marriage much sooner than we could possibly have dreamed of.

  4. Labour needs to follow the Greens and LibDems and OFFICIALLY support gay marriage as party policy. Yes, the five candidates support marriage equality, but that’s not good enough. We need a party committement.

    And screw Stonewall – can’t stand those pricks. How can they call themselves a gay rights organisation when they refuse to fight for our right to get married?

  5. SamB, I think Labour will have no choice and as for the Tories, well…..if they don’t support, they do so at their own peril. Nick Clegg for sure won’t be supporting them in the next election either if Labour declares it official party policy which I think it will. Cameron didn’t exactly get a majority in the recent election. If Labour commits and I’m sure it will, I don’t see how he and his party can remain out in the cold if it wants to gain more of the gay vote that it can’t do without. Its a win-win situation whoever backs marriage equality. We will get it, inevitable.

  6. Thanks Peter – much better than that stuff from Ben Summerskill – glad someone has their head screwed on the right way about equality

  7. Isn’t Margot James one of the judges or something in that silly Stonewall bigot of the year award cermony, it would be nice if she took the opportunity to speak out publicly for marriage equality and criticised the lack of support from Stonewall…

  8. Ben Summerskill is the runaway winner of the ‘Bigot of the Year’ Award. He won’t receive it of course. I hope there will be banners outside the venue which say ‘BEN SUMMERSKILL – BIGOT OF THE YEAR 2010’.

  9. Succinct and clear. Thank you Mr Thatchell.

  10. Twenty years from now some of the people who are pushing for gay marriage will be sorry. Maybe by then the catholic church and all will have embraced it and we will have a small moralising clique of narrow-minded married gay men and women.

    You can see this developing already with gay politicans and ‘gay-career’ men condemning issues such as cruising which don’t fit their narrow-minded conservative world view (even supporting police ‘crackdowns’ on cruising).

    For a taste of what it could be like, read about the peer pressure that married women who don’t have children (sometimes by choice) come under.

    In a comment elsewhere on this site someone asked what happened to ‘radical’ Stonewall? In fact the ‘radicial’ thing is not to support anything that has the word ‘marriage’ in it because of all the baggage that will come with that.

  11. HelenWilson 24 Sep 2010, 3:59am


    If you have not noticed we already do have an institution that is not marriage its called cohabiting. However we don’t have separate names for straight and gay couples living together they are both just cohabiting. Both enjoy the same rights and dont live under a apartheid system that legally separates them.

    Assimilation into the mainstream happens in all minority communities. I have an Asian friend who used to act more white than most white people would, it was all just part of him trying to fit in. Now he is more relaxed and has allowed himself to be himself.

  12. Peter has an excellent point, as usual.

  13. Splendid article, Peter! Lucid, well-reasoned.

    Even though I would not choose to marry, you state the case for marriage clearly and with admirable logic.

    My on gripe? The “some people” who say CPs are adequate are Stonewall. Should have just said so, plainly. Please don’t you become cowed by Ben Summerskill’s hissy fits.

  14. Bill Perdue 24 Sep 2010, 8:42am

    Opposition to same sex marriage is homophobic and/or bigoted.

    GLBT opponents of same sex marriage are homophobes.

    The others are bigots.

  15. Very well put, Mr Tatchell.

  16. Wait until all the narrow-minded, conservative, high profile gay-career men are married to their (policeman and politician) boyfriends. Pressure will then be brought to bear on all kinds of things they don’t approve of, just as it has been on cruising in recent years.

    They say we don’t need cruising now we have Gaydar. Just wait until they start on free condom schemes, saunas, promiscuity and all the other things that they see as bringing ‘respectable’ gay people into disrepute.

    Also if you think the Daily Mail’s response to the ‘1.5% of the population who are LGB’ is bad just wait until the first annual figures for gay marriages are released. I predict there will be maybe 1,500 gay marriages a year and a lot of people will be asking why so few?

  17. “In fact the ‘radicial’ thing is not to support anything that has the word ‘marriage’ in it because of all the baggage that will come with that.”

    No-one’s forced to get married. But, more importantly, marriage is what you make it. The idea that any couple (of whatever genders) who choose to get married then somehow revert to some 200 year old patriarchal grovelling pattern of behaviour is hugely offensive. People have their own minds and don’t get changed against their will after they marry – a modern, liberal man doesn’t become an abusive patriarch, crushing his spouse to nothing, and an independent woman doesn’t become a boot-licking little women just because she has a spouse. This is the 21st century.

  18. @Iris – increasingly everything is aimed at, and for, a little clique of gay men and women who are a tiny percentage out of all the LGBT people in the UK. It’s like going back 100 years when everything was for the upper class.

    Once they have ingratiated themselves with society and authority they will close the door behind them. In fact you can see that happening all around already. If you aren’t one of the scene-going minority and don’t conform to a narrow pink pound stereotype there is nothing ‘gay’ for you.

    When a Manchester charity wrote an article about cruising a few months ago it advised people to contact thre local police for more information about the legality of cruising! Apparently one of the main people who works there has a partner who is a policeman. Get ready for more of this and be very frightened if you can’t live ‘up’ to the lifestyle these people think is the ‘right’ one. That is what marriage has always been about.

  19. Can I nominate GS arguments for not having marriage (and cp)equality as being one of the top 10 dumbest ones…..?

    Anyway aren’t a lot of the guys who go cruising or go to gay saunas married , I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them even claim to be “straight”……

    Look mate, who cares what you do in your spare time!

  20. GS – I understand and agree with what you’re saying about having to be ‘in the right scene’. I’ve often felt left out because I don’t fit the mainstream (that might not be the right word) lesbian image. I’ve often been extremely p*ssed off at lesbians who pretend they speak for me when they don’t, or, worse, pretend I’m not a ‘real lesbian’ because I don’t do/think what a small but vocal minority think is right. That caused me huge problems in my teens when I felt very isolated – both from straight society and from lesbian society.

    My only disagreement was with what you said about marriage. If we accept that there’s not one permitted type of gay man or lesbian and that we’re all different, then can we not accept that there are different opinions about marriage and that every marriage is different and doesn’t necessarily conform to another person’s image of what marriage might be? I hope that makes sense?

    Yes, many people see marriage as traditional or whatever, but that’s them imposing their own view on marriage, it’s not necessarily the reality of marriage for many people. None of my married straight friends have marriages that I would consider traditional or guided by some antiquated patriarchal view.

    I think you might be suggesting that the very INSTITUTION of marriage is patriarchal? Well, I treat that in the same way as I do religion’s claim to own marriage. To me, marriage stands alone and, although it might have been used and manipulated by religions and the patriarchal society , particularly in the past, they don’t own it and people who choose to marry don’t have to conform to their rules now. Some of the old infleunces on marriage that we consider traditional today have actually only existed in relatively recent times eg the influence of religion and their special rules about sexual behaviour, etc. Same sex marriage existed in antiquity and the attitude to marriage only became more traditional during the growth of religion who sought to control people’s behaviour. A new ‘Mary Whitehouse’ type society arose and started to set standards. However, that was a change from previous more relaxed society rules. (Hope I didn’t bore you senseless there! :D)

    If we were to choose a new name, I’d like that name to go across the board so that everyone straight or gay had the same options (and, of course, the option to decline to enter into any such contract).

  21. GS – your logic is twisted and you sound paranoid.

    What you refuse to mention is whether you approve of people being denied access to a civil contract solely because they are gay.

    I do agree with you that the younger gay people are more conservative than the previous generation. They have grown up in a society that is more accepting of their sexuality so they do not have to rebel in a manner like the older generation.

    The idea of ‘cruising’ for many, many young people is bizarre and weird. The idea of hanging about in bushes waiting for some random hookup is horrific to them. They have no need to engage in that type of behaviour. They have the internet.

    I think you are mourning the passing of the baton to the newer generation.

    The younger generation are not interested in being ‘other’. They demand and expect the exact same treatment as their straight peers.

    To them the idea that they be denied access to marriage is offensive. And it is not some powerful, conservative clique telling them this. It is their own attitude.

    Stonewall are stuck in the 1980’s (and you seem to be also). Times have changed.

    If you don’t want to marry, then don’t. If you want to hang about in bushes for sex, that’s up to you.

    But to argue against the right of people who want to get married, is homophobic. End of story.

  22. HelenWilson 24 Sep 2010, 11:21am

    Please put back the Ben Summerskill story PinkNews

    With this comment from Brian Paddick still in place.

    “The story published by PinkNews yesterday about Stonewall was, sadly, a largely dishonest account of what took place at Monday evening’s meeting in Liverpool. We deeply regret that PinkNews chose to publish the story late at night without… double-checking and without having troubled to attend either the meeting itself or a party conference at which such an important issue was being discussed.

    Ben did not say that Stonewall objected to the motion that would be debated on Tuesday because it would cost £5bn. For PinkNews to publish and fail to correct a story in this way sadly brings the whole of the pink media, which serves our minority communities uniquely well, into disrepute.

    Can I say, I was at the meeting and that the original Pink News report, which I read before it was amended, was not ‘a largely dishonest account’. On the contrary, I formed the impression that it was a fair reflection of what took place, even if it was not 100% accurate in every detail.

    Pink News, if you want to put the original back, I will give evidence in any subsequent proceedings to that effect. Maybe “Ben did not say he objected to the Lib Dem conference motion.” What he did say was that an impact assessment on the proposals produced by the Treasury, that apparently says the changes would cost £5bn over 10 years, should be published. He also said that some female members of Stonewall objected to gay marriage. Whatever Stonewall or Summerskill’s views actually are, the clear impression he gave was that he, who was not there as a private individual but as the head of Stonewall, was against gay marriage. He may not have said it but he certainly gave that very clear impression, so much so that I was astounded and sought clarification. For Stonewall then to say the original Pink News account was ‘largely dishonest’ is quite clearly false.

    I asked Ben, in open forum, to explain why the changes would cost £5bn and why some members of Stonewall objected to equality in marriage – “I want to understand Ben, I really want to understand but I don’t understand”. He accused me of shouting across the room at him (there was no microphone in a crowded hall and he was then heckled by people saying I was not shouting). He failed to explain why it would cost £5bn and he said I should ask the people he had referred to, why they objected. People in that meting, including me, did not get angry with Ben for no reason.

    Pink News we’ve had our differences but on this one I’m right behind you.

    Comment by Brian Paddick — September 23, 2010 @ 21:43

  23. – I think the above comment should be a headline news item! Didn’t see this comment , after all those great comments from the original posting disappearing from the face of the earth I’ve stopped looking at that old artilce!

  24. Ben Summerskill needs to be sacked immediately.

    If he is speaking out against marriage equality then he is clearly not a suitable person to be leading Stonewall.

    Unless of course Stonewall itself is opposed to marriage equality. In which case they need to be vehemently opposed by all LGBT people who support equality.

    Brian Paddick’s comments directly contradict Stonewall’s pathetic babblings.

    It is a news story in itself.

    The fact that Stonewall’s official position seems to be opposed to LGBT marriage equality (while refusing to acknowdledge this) is clearly the biggest news story of the year.

    I think an interview with Brian Paddick to give his account of the event is essential.

    The we can decide how we are to react to Stonewall’s apparently homophobic betrayal of the LGBT community, whom they refuse to represent.

  25. Celso f Lopez 24 Sep 2010, 2:06pm

    Quentin Crisp said: “Gay men just want to be happy, lesbians just want to be right..”.

    I honestly think this time feminists have got it wrong. Naming things different opens the chance for discriminating. Black-White, Male-Female, Tootsi-Batu, Marriage-civil partnership. If there is one name, discriminating becomes an impossibility.

    Marriage, as every other word in the dictionary, hasn’t got a fixed meaning, that’s why religious leaders don’t want same sex marriages, automatically the traditional meaning of the word would disappear. They got it, the feminists and StoneWall did not.

    Perhaps there is a conflict of interests? If discrimination disappears so will Stonewall.

  26. there used to be same-sex marriage before the christains stole marriage and the majority never acknowledge or even know this fact

  27. “Personally, I don’t like marriage. I share the feminist critique of its history of sexism and patriarchy. I would not want to get married. But as a democrat and human rights defender, I support the right of others to marry, if they wish.”

    By saying this, you’re implying that marriage hasn’t evolved.
    This sounds like an argument for the other side. They can just go ‘Well, I don’t agree with marriage, but it has traditionally been an institution of man owning woman (not man owning man or woman owning woman)’. They could easily tell you to get out, since you believe in human rights and marriage is the opposite of human rights for you (the right to be property to a man?).

    I understand I am making more of your words then you intended, but it is something to chew on in advance should a serious opponent say something so idiotic.

    (P.S. Thank you for being for marriage equality. I wish to get married someday, not a civil partnership. so. It means a lot. :) <3 )

  28. Pink Elephant 22 Oct 2010, 9:43am

    I love all God’s creatures but spiders, gay marriage, cockroaches … all make my skin crawl.

  29. 2 GS: respect!

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