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Stonewall chief executive won’t be ‘jumped into’ gay marriage position

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  1. Ian Bower (Lincoln) 27 Sep 2010, 9:24pm

    ‘Jumped into’ – How long for goodness sake?
    What’s this man been smoking? What’s he on?
    He really has lost the plot.
    I asked all politicians to, from now on, please, please, please ignore Stonewall – at least whilst Summerskill is there.

  2. I am confused as to why Summerskill is talking of the need to build consensus. It seems to me that the consensus is pretty much there when 98% of PinkNews readers say they are in favour of gay marriage, the LidDems make it policy, the new Labour leader is in favour and the party if going to vote for it and even the Tories don’t seem all that opposed to the idea… Civil Partnership has been in place for several years now. Surely Stonewall could have anticipated this debate would take place soon. Why could they not consult earlier?

    This simply doesn’t make sense and I have yet to see Stonewall actually coming up with factual reasons to all those arguments rather than confused and unsatisfying argumentations.

  3. Unbelievable!

  4. HelenWilson 27 Sep 2010, 9:36pm

    “”In response, Mr Summerskill said: “Stonewall has never pretended to be a democratic member organisation. We have never said we speak for all lesbian, gay and bisexual people.””

    If you are a Stonewall member remember this the next time they ask you for money.

    If you are government remember this when you consult on LGBT issues, Stonewall only represent Ben’s interests not the 1.5 million plus LGBT people.

    “”Mr Summerskill acknowledged the “terrible unfairness” of this situation but said he had been in talks with ministers and officials about amendments to the Gender Recognition Act.””

    Mr Summerskill has no right ever getting involved in trans issues (BS took the T out of Stonewall remember) he also tried his best to block trans people being included in the equality act.

  5. “Mr Summerskill responded: “It is perfectly proper to say there are arguments that will be used against us so we can counter them”.”
    So then start countering them Summerskill.

  6. marjangles 27 Sep 2010, 9:56pm

    I don’t understand. If Stonewall isn’t a democratic member organisation then who is it consulting? I thought we had to wait while it consulted its 20,000 members?

  7. Can’t believe this guy is still around… can’t believe Stonewall will be around much longer as well (Here’s hoping)

    Can’t believe the CP had cross party acceptance before they started on it didn’t mean you sat on your arse and did nothing!

  8. “Mr Summerskill responded: “It is perfectly proper to say there are arguments that will be used against us so we can counter them”.”

    It’s totally daft on the other hand to make up some ridiculously inflated figures about the cost of giving CPs to straights, try to pass them off as having come from the government, and then handing then on a plate to the Daily Mail and the Christian Institute.

    Daft or destructive. Either way, he has to go.

  9. What on earth is this “wide range of viewpoints”. Marriage equality: for or against? It really IS that simple.

  10. “legislation could be rejected by the House of Lords if there was a perception that there was not a consensus among gay people”

    Plainly BS is working to create this perception of disunity tat he says will lead to the rejection of legislation. Apart from him, there is concensus but he will try to create the impression. (He preteds tat there are feminist arguments against equality but we have seen no comment on PN from any feminist who takes that view)

    He pretends that he has not arrived at a view. He pretends that he is consulting but there is no eveidence that he is doing so. In fact he is actively working against equality. Everything he says makes it obvious.

    It may be unbelievable that he is doing this, but you’d better believe it – it’s happening before your eyes. Perhaps his real supporters are the Catholic churches?

  11. Krissie Pearse 27 Sep 2010, 10:32pm

    “Mr Summerskill acknowledged the “terrible unfairness” of this situation but said he had been in talks with ministers and officials about amendments to the Gender Recognition Act.”

    WTF!?!? What has a self declared non-trans supposed ‘equality’ organisation got to do ith the GRA? What could he possibly be saying…

    … not “Trans people are really just gay. They shouldn’t be allowed civil partnerships” By any chance?

    Summerskill doesn’t seem to even speak for the LGB community any more – what the hell does he think he’s doing ‘talking with ministers’ about the GRA? How bleeding dare he!

  12. Don’t think Mr Summerskill gets this…

    He’s supplied my “quote of the day” once again.

  13. Mike Savant 27 Sep 2010, 10:40pm

    We know Ben and Stonewall is alarmed by the general backlash from LGB community (sorry T, gaffe prone Ben doesn’t give a scheise about you) despite the bullishness of his incomprehensible Nero-istic defence of illogical tactics in addition to having their £5billion punt discredited almost the minute it was mentioned.He should be. More higher profile persons than he are coming out as equality evangelists. Politicians have quietly murmured that Summerskill’s day is past. He cannot protect the charity’s good name and is taking its initiatives into disrepute because of the airs of some radical loonies that he feels obliged to.
    We cannot rely on the competence of Stonewall’s leadership even if it were to declare support for gay marriage at this juncture. Nero must go before he burns the goodwill and window of opportunity. Go Ben. Quit. For equality’s sake. Give your ego a rest.

  14. Celso F Lopez 27 Sep 2010, 10:54pm

    1. – Can we see evidence of a consultation by Stonewall on either CPs or marriage?

    2. – “…argued that legislation could be rejected by the House of Lords if there was a perception that there was not a consensus among gay people…”

    Was there a consensus for CPs? I doubt it very much. Where is the evidence? We were sold the idea that it was either CPs or nothing… and then Argentina and Spain approved marriage equality (they already had CPs). It’s embarrassing for Stonewall as a lobby group and for England as a modern society.

    3. – Who says there is no consensus? I have met very influential people in the LGBT community that don’t want marriage equality but they are a handful that got it wrong (very wrong) and in no way represent the sentiment o the majority or common sense for that matter.

    Is this really the best lobby group we can come up with to interace with government?

  15. Don Harison 27 Sep 2010, 10:57pm

    When Stonewall co-founder and Labour MEP Michael Cashman criticised the charity and called on Mr Summerskill to “speak up” for marriage equality and with all the other outragous this that Summerskill has done reasently in opposition to LGBT, how can they employ him?

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  16. According to this blog BS also said

    “He defended Stonewall’s position by arguing that a diverse range of views existed in the LGBT community and Summerskill even referred to former culture secretary Ben Bradshaw MP, who apparently believes that no change in the law should be made”

    WHY – I know you you have the same name as him but why Ben Bradshaw MP are you saying this????

    Please can we have some positive statements from labour MPs , Ben Bradshaw says one thing, and Michael Cashman say another. Labour must send the right signals…

  17. “Mr Summerskill acknowledged the “terrible unfairness” of this situation but said he had been in talks with ministers and officials about amendments to the Gender Recognition Act.”

    What the flying *$%#!???

    Stonewall’s history with the trans community might best be described as “open antagonism”. Given this, and the apparent sway 2nd wave political “lesbians” seem to hold in that organisation, one can only dread to think what these talks involved. Compulsory branding, perhaps?

    If they’re going to hold closed door talks with ministers about what should happen to trans people, don’t they think, you know, mentioning this to us might have been wise?

    Absolutely unbelievable!

  18. Julian Morrison 27 Sep 2010, 11:14pm

    Oh nonsense. Coalition, my foot. Talks with ministers, my foot. Expense, my foot. The man is wiggling on the hook, grabbing at excuses – he just don’t wanna. He has made himself into a roadblock, not an advocate.

  19. Zoe O'Connell 27 Sep 2010, 11:17pm

    You never know, we might get something from a Freedom of Information request. Could be interesting reading ad we’ll get the answer back just before the demonstration too…

  20. Krissie Pearse 27 Sep 2010, 11:42pm

    If anybody would like to continue laughing at Stonewall’s current misfortune – he’s called Ben Summerskill.

  21. Sack him!! He’s working against everyone and using any excuse in the book to pretend he’s not!

  22. Simon Murphy 28 Sep 2010, 12:25am

    Sack him immediately! He is a disgrace.

    He’s had 5 years to build consensus. He’s done NOTHING. Stonewall have not even canvassed their 20,000 supporters about equality. Who is Stonewall working for? Certainly not the LGBT community.

    Do not donate money to Stonewall.

    They are now a worthless organisation if they continue in their homophobic refusal to support equality.

    StonewallUK (1989 – 2010). RIP

  23. “Mr Summerskill acknowledged the “terrible unfairness” of this situation but said he had been in talks with ministers and officials about amendments to the Gender Recognition Act.”

    How does he even DARE to do that when his organisation refuses to represent trans people?

  24. “He added that it was “critical” to build alliances across parties and argued that legislation could be rejected by the House of Lords if there was a perception that there was not a consensus among gay people.”

    What a muppet he is.

    There IS consensus among the LGBT community.

    It is ONLY Stonewall (and their unidentified controllers) who refuse to support LGBT equality.

    Stonewall need to get rid of Summerskill, or else they are finished (although I suspect they may be finished already thanks to their utterly disastrous behaviour on marriage equality.

  25. Lead or get out of the way. But Summerskill seems determined to drag Stonewall down. He’s right that he doesn’t speak for all LGBT people. But who does he speak for? Who’s behind this Quisling?

  26. “Another panel member, the journalist Johann Hari, said: “We are not the government, we are making demands on the government.”

    Not quite true Johann. As the head of an adjunct of government – a quango – which Stonewall is in all but name, it takes its orders and sets its agendas based on Whitehall diktats. You do not think for one moment the control-freak government would leave it to a truly independent organisation to be involved in social engineering, do you? Summerskill is a government lap dog, no more, no less, and at the end of the day takes his orders from central command, regardless of which party is in power. He has no power of his own to force through positive change for our community, and for that reason his actions are becoming more and more transparent and we as a community are discovering that we are being sold up the river. No, Summerskill alone must not go. The whole, tainted, corrupted, government-infiltrated edifice that is Stonewall must go now that they have become rumbled, as must other “charities” that are working against the best interests of gay men as they have becoming contaminated by politically correct, government kow towing yes men, THT among them.

  27. Peter & Michael 28 Sep 2010, 5:12am

    This man is so WRONG!!!!

  28. Which consensus is Summerskill talking about?
    . Its already there. 98% of those polled by PinkNews and 61% of the British public support it. What more proof does he need? He MUST go NOW! He’s the roadblock to full equality and he’s outworn his use. Amazing that one of our own works against us. I say we keep the pressure up to force him out.

  29. I’m getting confused as to what the story is now with Stonewall and BS’s reasoning or how and when he is finally going to make up Stonewall’s mind. I know CPs were attributed to Stonewall but what about all the other guys that brought it in … his job is to campaingn for LGBT rights , he doesn’t have the real voting power in the house of lords and govt surely…and I doubt if the lib dem/col govt have much respect for him anyway. In any case there is plenty of evidence/artilces out there to cntradict BS statements …

    I noticed tagged on at the end of the article was a one liner saying “Members of the LGBT Labour group had attempted to secure a debate on the issue of marriage equality at the main conference, but it was ranked at just position 13 in a priority ballot by party activists.”

    I also noticed a blog were it quoted that Ben Bradshaw was also against changing the law. The panel also consisted of 2 other labour mps it seems, what did they have to say about it?

    It’s disappointing that marriage equality only came 13 in labour’s priority list, without their full support on the lib dem policy during this parliamnet then marriage equality is probably a pipe dream since I doubt there will be enough liberal conservative to back a move by the lib dems. It’s a real shame that we might have to wait until the next election before labour make this official party policy it seems. Political football keeps coming back to me all the time….

  30. “On the issue of straight couples being refused civil partnerships, he said gay marriage had been “chained” to heterosexual rights, which Stonewall does not lobby for.”

    But BS/Stonewall campainged for CPs and CPs were also chained to hetero rights. My understanding was that the hetero rights were simply droppped during the debate and CPs became gay, whats to say the same won’t happen with the marriage equality campaign. This contradicts what you did for CPs since CPs had always initially had hetero rights linked to them….. What’s the difference?

  31. Ben Summerskill in the gay marriage position is something I would pay to see.

  32. “Mr Summerskill acknowledged the “terrible unfairness” of this situation but said he had been in talks with ministers and officials about amendments to the Gender Recognition Act.”

    This I find hard to believe… !

    Mr Summerskill has ALWAYS proclaimed that Stonewall does NOT do T, and never will.

    He has said this loud and often, and hsd made his disdain of the trans community known time and time again.

    Are we now SERIOULSY being asked to believe that he has been speaking on our behalf on this issue?

    But wait…

    He does not actually SAY that, does he?

    He said he had “been in talks with ministers and others about amendments to the Gender recognition Act”.

    That does not necessarily mean that he was advocating FOR the rights of trans folk.

    With his track record of refusing to acknowledge our right to be in the LGBT couomuunity at all, refusing to support us, and backing those radical lesbian feminists who want nothing more than to put us out of their misery, I doubt that is the case.

    His comements may well be more in line with the rumours that came out of Whitehall during the run-up to the Equality bill, suggesting that he and Stonewall were actually lobbying for our exclusion!!

    In the light of the revelations about his views and behavious this last couple of weeks, those rumours now seem far more likely to be true.

    I no longer believe a word this man says.


  33. “couomuunity”??

    Well, fingers went a bit mad there….


  34. Note to the Labour Party – if marriage equality is number 13 ib your priority list, then the Labour Party will be number 13 on my voting list at the next election.

  35. A small correction please, PinkNews:

    “Mr Summerskill mounted a robust defence of Stonewall” should read:

    “Mr Summerskill mounted a PATHETIC defence of Stonewall”

    A robust defence would need robust arguments. His arguments have no merit.

  36. Stop giving them money. That will get him jumping.

  37. Comment 13 David – yes I agree and Cashman seems to be a lone figure in advocating marriage eqality at the moment in the labour party (LGBT labour aside) and he is only a MEP. Whatever happenned to those promises of marriage equality from Ed.

    the accounts figures you can get from their website – Ind donations to Stonewall last yr was 896,728 , why? Corporate donations 1,436,159 , why? trusts and foundations 777, 344, why?staff costs 1,737,835 , why? I agree stop supporting this useless org….

  38. he’s still digging that whole – who cares if something that benefits LBGT would also benefit heteros? he sounds like he’s grasping at straws and he’s messed up badly
    he also ignores many people

  39. Mike Savant 28 Sep 2010, 9:42am

    Clearer still, this tactic is political. Stonewall will not support equality under this Lib/Con govt. Labour will support this position. Mr Milliband offered to work cross party on issues that made sense. This is one of them.

  40. So from this story we can gather the following:

    1. Stonewall does not represent the LGB population(Summerskill admits this himself when he says “Stonewall has never pretended to be a democratic member organisation. We have never said we speak for all lesbian, gay and bisexual people.”

    2. Stonewall do not represent the trans population (this has been known for some years).

    So why was Summerskill present at the LGBT Labour meeting?

    on whose behalf was he there.

    The most important thing we can do to prevent Stonewall and Summerskill from engaging in campaigning against our rights is to let the political parties know, that Stonewall enjoys zero support from the wider LGBT population.

    They are an unelected, undemocratric organisation that is actively hampering the LGBT equality campaign.

    No more. Stonewall should disband!

  41. “Individual donations to Stonewall last year were 896,728 … Corporate donations 1,436,159 … trusts and foundations 777, 344 … staff costs 1,737,835”

    So let’s look at these figures for a moment.

    Stonewall received 3.1 million pounds in donations last year. Yet they spent 56% of those donations on paying their staff (how much does Summerskill himself earn I wonder – a LOT I’ll bet).

    I think Summerskill’s revolting behaviour over the past 2 weeks will damage the individual donations.

    Is it possible to find out who the corporate donors are?

    They account for Stonewall’s largest percentage of revenue – over 45%.

    It seems quite clear that Stonewall will obey their paymasters – corporations.

    I want to contact Stonewall’s corporate donors and encourage them to stop funding Stonewall because of Stonewall’s hampering of LGBT equality.

    If these corporations understand that supporting Stonewall will lead to a backlash against them by the LGBT comunity then they’ll soon stop funding Stonewall.

  42. another John 28 Sep 2010, 10:12am

    From what I can make out from recent threads in this forum, most have criticised Stonewall for their reluctance to champion single sex marriage, especially given the present cultural climate seems to be moving toward this. I do not support this view and neither am I a particular fan of Stonewall in its gay rights program.

    This I hope you will understand given my support for traditional (mixed sex, lifelong) marriage and antipathy toward adopting a gay lifestyle (which includes gay partnerships). I have posted before on these issues and have tried to combine forthrightness and respect for the target audience. But in order not to appear tedious, churlish etc. I won’t go over my reasons again here.

    But as an outsider looking in, and having worked closely with the public sector where the input of Stonewall has been valued (and effective) in furthering equality for gay folk (some at least of which is needed given widespread homophobia in our society, institutions etc.), I can’t help but reflect that in the main Stonewall have done a good job in this regard. Whether or net they have outlasted their usefulness, sold their soul in the interests of political expediency etc., that is for others to judge.

  43. To ‘another John’.

    You support of traditional, opposite sex, lifelong marriage is perfectly fine.

    However if you attempt to deny a segment of the population (the LGBT community) access to the legal contract of civil marriage, purely because of our sexual orientation, then you are a homophobic bigot.

    Marriage equality has ZERO impact on you personally. You are entirely free not to marry someone of the same sex.

    Note to the others reading this: if people such as ‘Another John’ are typical of the people who now support Stonewall, then we must be very focussed in opposing Stonewall.

    If homophobes are using Stonewall’s position to defend their homophobic position, it really indicates how utterly useless and ineffective Stonewall are at changing things.

  44. You can read Stonewall’s Annual Report 2008/9 (last one available) here

  45. @43:In response to another John:
    I support mixed sex marriage just as I support same sex marriage. You can’t beat universal marriage equality, everybody wins.
    Equality benefits the whole of society whilst privilege can only benefit the privileged at the expense of everyone else.

    People simply don’t adopt a gay lifestyle …so I think you really are now talking seriously tedious nonsense.
    Are there large numbers of people of heterosexual orientation who have deliberately choosen a gay lifestyle but are not really gay or lesbian at all? is that what you think?
    For a person of homosexual orientation to choose a heterosexual lifestyle (living in the closet dishonestly aping straight behaviour) would not only be bonkers it’s ultimately destructive to the person who does it and to all those around that person.

    Anyway to support marriage equality does not at all mean one is against mixed sex marriage for heterosexual couples…quite the opposite.

    Stonewall through Ben Summerskill has shown itself to be wrong-footed on the topic of marriage of equality and totally out of touch with the gay community that it likes to give the impression it speaks for and represents, a now false impression it still trades on which is what makes it still the go to organisation for the media and for those in positions of power.

  46. Oh no please don’t! – hope this doesn’t set off Another John on his usual ranting! You’ve got more chance of reasoning with BS than AJ..

  47. another John 28 Sep 2010, 11:03am

    Marcus: some would see my point about opposing gay marriage as one of pure semantics. Whatever it is you are advocating, it is not marriage in the way I understand the meaning of marriage. I recognise there is a case to legitimise same sex partnerships because of legal and other considerations but I suggest either call it something other than marriage (e.g. civil partnership as is currently the case) or redefine marriage.

    If you do redefine marriage, I and others cannot in all conscience consider mixed sex and same sex marriage under this new definition to be equal and will be prepared to accept the consequences. As for equality, that is not an issue for marriage. Marriage is a life-long covenant relationship between members of the opposite sex.

    And as for being homophobic, I have checked out the definition of the word and I don’t believe any of my statements are homophobic but rather these are consistent with the judaeo-christian understanding that has been broadly accepted for nigh on 4000 years.

    As I said before, I am not a supporter of Stonewall and don’t need them to defend my position, but I do recognise their contribution in championing gay rights, some of which is clearly needed. I don’t know enough to advise Stonewall or the client group they purport to represent, but I note your points with interest but also suspect you have an underlying agenda (did Mr Summerskill ever upset you in the past for example?)

  48. Another John – you are entitled to your opinion.

    However – I suggest you go to the Christian Institure website to expound your views.

    This discussion is about Stonewall. It is not about you or your opinions on marriage. I’m not interested in that.

    People are not interested in allowing you to divert attention from the debate at hand.

    Actually – I wonder if ‘Another John’ is a busy little Stonewall worker bee, feverishly trying to drum up the fake impression that Stonewall’s PATHETIC position.

  49. Nope, Marcus… He is just another religious loon, with form for this sort of posting on Pink News.


  50. another John 28 Sep 2010, 11:22am

    Marcus: are you paranoid or something? When will you get it into that thick skull that I am not here to promote Stonewall. In fact I did not post here to defend traditional marriage … but since I was pressed I responded. And what right have you to tell anyone to make their views on a website that would likely be more more sympathetic? I am merely contributing to the debate and won’t be deterred by your bullying tactics and neither should anyone else.

    For the record, when it comes down to choosing between political expediency and safeguarding my own little empire or advocating on behalf of principle, truth and the hard done by, I have generally chosen the latter, which can be than can be said for many of our politicians.

  51. HelenWilson 28 Sep 2010, 11:33am

    Civil secular marriage has nothing to do with religion so another john its nothing to do with you. Nobody is saying religion can not continues its own discriminatory practices if they so wish.

  52. I never really knew why stonewall wasn’t very well liked anymore…obviously this sums it up. What a mong.


    Do not respond to Another John – he is a religious person.

  54. Fly on the wall 28 Sep 2010, 11:53am

    Summerskill is clearly nothing more than a ‘Trojan horse’ sent in to destroy Stonewall from the inside, what other reason could there possibly be for any of this?

  55. @another John (The biography)

    *Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian Crackpot
    (Possibly EX-gay otherwise why would someone spend all their time posting on a gay website)

    * Likes to play courtesy games which he thinks will silence his critics, and give him the upper hand in promoting the usual Fundamentalist Christian anti-homosexual rhetoric

    * Likes to respond to messages aimed at him by creating a textual image of a reasoned, intelligent and thinking fundamentalist Christian. (But most people can see through such a ridiculous oxymoron)

    Let’s get this clear once and for all . . . there is nothing reasoned, or intelligent about fundamentalist evangelical anti-homosexual rhetoric. . . “another John’s” persistent presence on this site is aggressive and proselytizing, borne out of his ongoing and defiant refusal to take responsibility for his own homophobia; which instead he has turned into the subtle art of online LGBT harassment.

  56. Rob Harkavy 28 Sep 2010, 11:59am

    I think we need to get some perspective here. Clearly, the gay marriage issue is stirring a lot of emotions and, personally, I am for full equality and find it hard to accept Mr Summerskill’s position.

    However, this one issue does not detract from the incredible work Stonewall has done over the past 20 years or so, helping to bring about the repeal of section 28, the equalisation of the age of consent, overturning the ban on gays in the military etc.

    Look at it like this: when we vote in a general election it’s unlikely that we will agree with absolutely everything in a particular party’s manifesto. Instead, we look at their policies and record in the round and make a balanced decision. Is it therefore not possible to disagree with Stonewall on this issue, lobby them vigorously to change their view but still accept that, by and large, they have been a huge force for good for the LGB community?

    On a separate note, I know of someone who had a post removed from last week’s thread on this subject for showing some support to Stonewall. I sincerely hope that this site will support healthy debate and that this post will remain.

  57. Summerskill’s position is incoherent as well as baffling. To what a pretty pass is Stonewall come!

  58. HelenWilson 28 Sep 2010, 12:14pm

    @ Rob Harkavy

    It was Stonewall that had 70% of the posts in the other thread removed to censor the opinion.

    Nice try to spin this from Stonewalled no doubt.

  59. OMG . . . Stonewall have Ann Widdicombe as their leader


  60. Craig Nelson 28 Sep 2010, 12:17pm

    Actually I thought Ben was coherent and sensible last night in the way he expressed himself and I think he spoke well – doubtless it went a lot better than at the lib Dems. I should say I wholeheartedly believe in gender neutral marriage and civil partnership and agree with campaigning for this by any means possible. If Stonewall are going to engage in consultation to arrive at a policy position I think that’s reasonable. By the way I’m still suspicious about the £500 million per year claim, but that’s a different matter.

  61. Jock S. Trap 28 Sep 2010, 12:21pm

    In the UK every adult has to by law pay tax. This is an equality all must do. How is it fair to then deny taxpayers equality on everything else? That doesn’t make sense.

    People like another john may choose the ‘lifestyle’ of ignorance and discrimination but it doesn’t make them superior, if anything the reverse.

    Just because a few religious nuts, feminists and some lesbians don’t want marriage is no arguement. Surely the whole purpose of equality is that we All should have the same rights and Then choose as individuals weither we want those rights or not, ie if you don’t want to marry don’t. That would be you equal right not too but don’t go stopping others having their rights to do so!

    People in religion always talk about their ‘religious freedoms’ but then want to deny those very same ‘religious freedoms’ for churches that openly want to marry same-sex couples.

    Stonewall should never even be questioning the right to marry it should be a equal right full stop! Only after we have this particular right can we then say it should be a right each of us can choose to have or not.

  62. – I think the “HAVE BEEN” part of huge force for good for the LGB community should be emphasied – ie they were but they’re not showing themselves to be much good at it now!

    – Let’s face it, the guy’s not dumb, he knows what’s happenning around him and what it’s doing to Stonewall and its reputation – it’s not just in the UK , these PN articles are picked up by all the gay press around the world …. The guy is a loose cannon ball, a bad PR person – whatever take on this whole affair is , I presonally think it stinks…..

    -Not sure we’d really want these guys fighting for us anyway, particularly if BS is still in charge. Would you really trust them to be working for us? Give him a peership or let him become a commissioner or something and let stonewall go into damage control….

    “On a seperate note” didn’t PN remove an artilce and over 150 comments on the request of Stonewall or somebody last week…

  63. Vulgar, but this phrase sprang to mind when I read this:

    “Sh*t or get off the pot”.

    If BS can’t/won’t support full equality, then he should resign and let someone else do the job. All this faffing about, avoiding questions, making up excuses is becoming tedious in the extreme. Does he really think we believe any of this?

    There are a “wide range of viewpoints” on opposite sex marriage, but we still have it, don’t we? We’re not asking you to support compulsory marriage for gay people, so what’s your problem? We’re being denied entry into a recognised legal contract solely because of our sexuality – what part of that do you need to ‘consider’?

    Ben, please, for your OWN sake aswell as ours, resign before you lose all face.

  64. HelenWilson 28 Sep 2010, 12:34pm

    How can any political party engage with Stonewall now they have admitted:

    * They are not run on democratic principals.

    * Not representative of the opinions of its own membership or LGB people.

    Stonewall are a group of people who think they know what’s best for LGB people more than LGB people do themselves. Its very similar to the apartheid government of South Africa who thought the knew what’s best for black people.

    I call on all political parties to disengage with stonewall until the reform along democratic lines and are representative of the community they claim to represent.

  65. Yes, we know a time wasting troll post when we see it Marcus.

    We are talking about a gender neutral amended version of the legal definition of civil marriage here. One man and one woman are two persons just as two men or two women are two persons, For trans or intersex persons a gender neutral definition of marriage does not exclude them either.

    Gender neutral definition of marriage for civil purposes:
    “Marriage is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.”

  66. If you were a pressure group with strong ties to one political party, and then found the other party in power, and you had no influence with them, what would you do? Would you support reform from the sidelines as you watch the party in power deliver reform, and in doing so loosen the allegiance of your supporters with the former political party? Or would you drag your heels and filibuster, and try to make it look like the party in power are resistant to reform in the hope you could hold off reform until the former party got back into power? And would you collude with that former party to keep it off the agenda within that party (except when trying garner votes in a leadership contest).

    Of course it would depend on whether your allegiance to the cause was deeper than your allegiance to the political party.

    If he won’t jump, he’ll need to be pushed.

  67. No 67: Harkavy: “However, this one issue does not detract from the incredible work Stonewall has done over the past 20 years or so”

    This one issue absolutely DOES detract from the work Stonewall have done over the last 20 years.

    The achievements in gay rights over the past 20 years are not the achievements of Stonewall. They are the achievement of the LGBT commuunity working through Stonewall and other pressure groups; as well as a growing acceptance of gay people by the wider society.

    When Stonewall then turns around in the year 2010 and spits in the face of the community to whom they owe their existence (even though they are now claiming that they don’t represent anyone except their corporate donors) then it calls the entire organisation into disrepute.

    If their refusal to support LGBT equality can be bought; then how else will they be willing to betray us.

    I do not want Stonewall involved in discussions about LGBT rights – irrespective of whether Summerskill heads them up or not.

    They admit themselves that they do not represent the LGBT community.

    therefore they are not welcome or wanted at discussions concerning our rights.

  68. another John….you assume that gay people adopt a lifestyle? By the same token, one must deduce that heterosexuals choose their orientation. Sexual orientation, straight or gay is not a lifestyle, not a choice as you seem to infer regarding the latter. Your opposition to same-sex marriage is obviously based on religious interpretation although I’ve no doubt you will deny it. Marriage has evolved for millenia and continues to evolve and adapts to the times in which we live. Civil marriage is a totally different vehicle than the religious. There is no expectation or mandate in the civil model to procreate and if there were, religious bigots would have to support a ban on heterosexual couples marrying who choose not to or cannot procreate. Religion does not own civil marriage, it never has and never will. Many in the religious cults who oppose same-sex civil marriage maintain that allowing it would undermine “traditional” marriage but have not produced one shred of evidence to support their claim. The only threat to marriage are the heterosexual adulterers and philanderers among others who knowingly choose their own destructive behaviour without any help of gay people marrying or not. A red herring is a red herring. Its nothing more than religious bigotry and hypocrisy.

    Summerskill must GO!


  70. Sacking Summerskill is 100% necessary. We can all agree on that.

    However it won’t resolve the serious problems surrounding Stonewall which the marriage fiasco has exposed.

    1. Stonewall is not a democratic organisation and openly aclnowledges that it does not represent the LGBT community.
    2. Stonewall refuse to admit on whose behalf they are working
    3. Stonewall refuses to acknowledge how their agenda is set.

    They are blatantly unsuitabhle to be an organisation working in the arene of LGBT rights.

    They have absolutely no mandate to be involved in such discussions.

    They need to disband.

    Can someone tell me if they have cancelled their ridiculous Stonewall Awards yet. I hope not. I think the protests and pickets outside that even by the LGBT community would send a clear message to the media that Stonewall is finished.

  71. Perhpas PN can poll us again and ask:

    Who wants BS to remin head of Stonewall?

    Who wants Stonewall to represent us on any marriage equality discussions?

    and then shove the result under the nose of any govt minister who starts talking to him!

  72. Self-aggrandising jumped-up Ben Summerskill is not representing us. Instead he is prescribing what HE thinks is best for us. As the playwright David Bond so suitably put it, “into the fire” with him! (At least, let’s rid Stonewall of his presence.)

  73. Dr Robin Guthrie 28 Sep 2010, 2:57pm


    You do not represent me.

    I’m a f!cking Gay Surgeon.


  74. Derek Northcote 28 Sep 2010, 3:02pm

    It’s not too dissimilar from Cancer research “charities” stating that they will NOT be “JUMPED” into finding cancer cures.

    This organisation servers no purpose other than it’s own perpetuation.

    Time to go, Ben.

  75. another john ignores that even if youa re religious you can still be homophobic and that Judeo-Christians are homophobes all-too-often! Marriage has been redefined many times and it was (at first) inclusive of same-sex marriage! Stonewall needs to work to do the best by the people it supposedly represents and not it’s political agenda

  76. Gino Meriano 28 Sep 2010, 3:08pm

    Maybe its finally time to stand up against people like BS, I have said this for years – take Stonewall back and make it what it was and not a corporate organization that enjoys the benefits of making money out of us and allowing companies to tap into the LGBT community, because they say so

    I was railroaded out by Stonewall when i spoke out about BS and Stonewall in the Guardian, I asked for a meeting to allow BS to explain himself surrounding Civil Partnerships, marriages and more – then their emails stopped

    Stand up united and take back Stonewall, get rid of those who want to profit from inequality, something I never thought I would say about Stonewall. I had such high regard and respect for Stonewall

    Just a real shame, to everyone that has worked hard for gay rights in the UK. They are a disgrace – he is a disgrace and should be removed from his position once and for all

  77. Why are political bodies treating this man as if he were a leader of the LGBT community? He doesn’t even claim to represent anyone or anything in particular except his own need for status and power.

    It’s time to tell the political organizations and civil institutions that Stonewall does not speak for anyone.
    And it’s not as if nobody else can take over.

  78. Derek Northcote 28 Sep 2010, 3:43pm

    Just sent the following to their Wales Branch:


    Dear Sirs,

    As a 44 year old gay medical professional man having been subjected to the usual social abuse and homophobic violence over my life.

    I submit this query to your organisation.

    Your leader, Ben Summerskill has stated quite categorically
    that he will not be “Jumped” into Gay Marriage.

    This seems to me as not too dissimilar from Cancer research “charities” stating that they will NOT be “JUMPED” into finding cancer cures.

    Your organisation does not represent me and most of the gay people I know.

    Having lived with my partner for 15 years, I refuse to enter into a pretend marriage as espoused by your disgrace of an LGBT organisation.

    How dare your organisation prevent equality.

    How dare your leaders sit in the pockets of politicians.

    And how dare you claim to represent a gay lesbian bisexual and indeed transsexual population.

    Do you know what the word STONEWALL actually meant.

    Clearly not.

    Yours Disgustedly.

    A dirty poof.

  79. Jess Conrad 28 Sep 2010, 4:01pm


  80. Can anyone supply the data which states that opening up marriage and civil partnerships to all has a cost? I can’t see the logic.

  81. I’m disgusted disappointed and frustrated with Stonewall. How long is Stonewalls process of alleged consulting with its members going to take? This is proving highly damaging. If marriage equality is not the next step then what is? The pseudo philosophical and faux intellectual and highfaluted feminist critique malarkey argument against gay marriage is distracting. Many do not understand it, find it confusing, and think its unnecessarily and detrimentally diverting from the bigger issues.

    As for cross party support, well the Liberal Democrats and the new Labour leader support gay marriage. Tactics may be one thing but engaging and exposing the bigots is also another. Apparently equality is about money (5 billion) and now it’s about tactics. It all sounds a lot more like stalling tactics from Stonewall if you ask me. If we adopted this approach from the moment of Stonewalls birth, we may as well have not bothered, given up and all gone home. And as for the consensus in the House of Lords issue, the Commons overrode the Lords with the hunting ban. Where there is a will there is a way. Carpe dium Stonewall…

  82. DavidM
    It was a totally made up figure generated in Stomewall’s office. Basically you take the government’s 2005 estimate of the cost of implementing Civil Partnerships and multiply it by about 25. Why 25? Why not. And it’s a big enough number to cause a stir, particularly when you pretend the number was generated by the government.

    Student Union politics…..

  83. HelenWilson 28 Sep 2010, 5:29pm

    When you think about it, equal marriage is the last major step for LGB equality. The longer Stonewall stretch the process out, the longer Stonewall feels it has a purpose and they can keep themselves in jobs.

  84. Wingby – and was that figure calculated on a napkin from the Ritz or on the back of a fag packet ……

  85. Jacob Matthews 28 Sep 2010, 6:12pm

    I think it’s clear that Stonewall doesn’t really need to consult the gay community on whether they want marriage equality. Their efforts would be better spent on recruiting a new Director.

  86. “Mr Summerskill said Stonewall was aiming to build a consensus on whether marriage equality should be the next step for the gay community” What was BS’s actual quote? It sounds like he thinks he has the right to set the agenda for all of us.

  87. Merseymike 28 Sep 2010, 8:42pm

    This is very odd. Surely he can see that the response to their position means that the overwhelming view is that there should be marriage equality.
    Stonewall’s role is then to lobby effectively.

  88. Merseymike 28 Sep 2010, 8:54pm

    On the broader issue of Stonewall itself. To be fair to them, they set up as a lobby group rather than a democratic ‘representative’ organisation. In terms of achieving ends, I think this was generally successful and I generally think they have done a very good job

    However, on the whole, they have generally represented the general consensus of views within the gay community. I think that going for marriage straight away would have been unsuccessful: the UK tends to have incremental politics and there was a very good case for establishing CP status on the marriage template – which could then be transformed into full civil marriage relatively easily. I always thought this would be the logical next step.

    The issue is likely to be passed on a free vote. Most Labour and LibDem MP’s would vote in favour, and I think the number of Tories prepared to do so would be higher than before as well.

  89. I can see why people are upset but I think people are getting slightly hysterical – Stonewall is considered one of the most successful lobby groups in the history of politics. Its them that organised the campaigns that changed our lives – at a time when many gay people couldnt even be bothered to go on a march or send a postcard. i think they deserve better than knee jerk reactions – perhaps we could discuss this – heaven forbid, calmly. There are quite alot of lesbians who hate the word marriage. I disagree with them – maybe we should discuss it. Or, i imagine, people actually want to behave like the Daily Mail and just scream and shout.

  90. “Stonewall is considered one of the most successful lobby groups in the history of politics.”

    Fair enough. You’re not suggesting I hope that the advances achieved over the last few years would not have happened without Stonewall. They most certainly would have.

    And the world has changed. LGBT people are confident enough and secure enough these days to expect and demand full equality. Stonewall is consigning itself to the dustbin of history if they wilfully ignore the views of the majority of the LGBT population.

    ” i think they deserve better than knee jerk reactions – perhaps we could discuss this – heaven forbid, calmly.”

    It’s not a knee jerk reaction though. Stonewall have been point-blank refusing to discuss marriage equality for several years now. Despite the pressure on them, to form an opinion on the matter, growing over the past few years.

    And then when Summerskill trots off to the LibDem conference and actively undermines the campaign for full equality (despite it being supported by the majority of the LGBT reaction; well I’d say the furious backlash against Summerskill is entirely understandable. And FULLY deserved.

  91. Stonewall claim to be ‘consulting widely’ on the issue of marriage equality.


    With whom?

    When can we expect the results?

    When will they reveal their official position?

    I reckon they could do a survey of their membership; get the results tabulated and revealed in a short space of time (they’ve had 5 years already so they’ve SURELY done some research already?)

    The Stonewall Awards will take place on Thursday November 4th at the V&A museum in London. That gives them PLENTY of time.

    Pink News’s survey lasted about 3 days. If Stonewall want an extra few weeks, well let them have it.

    The results of Stonewall’s survey and the results of their research should be revealed before their awards.

    If they decide to keep sitting on the fence on this equality issue, then that should regarded as a slap in the face against the LGBT population by Stonewall.

    And that will lead to a fascinating Stonewall Awards. ALL the news reports will be about the protests against Stonewall.

  92. gay rights organisation my arse.

  93. Vaguely interesting to see that on Stonewall’s YouTube channel, they have removed ALL the comments that criticise their pathetic lack of action on marriage equality. They really don’t like to be criticised do they. I thought they were looking for feedback?

  94. Merseymike 29 Sep 2010, 1:00am

    I don’t think that we should assume that we can win the argument without having to face our opponents though. There will still need to be some organised lobbying. I think that the most likely scenario will be a free vote in Parliament in the next three years after Labour have made some progress on this in terms of their policy making process

  95. HelenWilson 29 Sep 2010, 2:33am

    “”I don’t think that we should assume that we can win the argument without having to face our opponents though. There will still need to be some organised lobbying. (Merseymike)””

    That’s why hundreds if not a thousand or so LGBT people will be protesting our opponents at Stonewall on Thursday November 4th at the V&A museum in London.

    It will send a clear message to Stonewall its backers and the political establishment what Stonewall really think.

    It should be the biggest disaster in Stonewalls public relations history as they are exposed. I am sure plenty of media will lap it all up.

  96. Stonewall under BS has come to represent the opposition to marrigae equality – it would be hard for me to trust this guy in any negotiations on marriage eqaulity with the government.

    If we have to cave in and be forced to have Stonewall represent us then please choose another CEO!!! Personaly I really have my doubts that Stonewall will serve us well on this issue and I really hope that any protest against Stonewall is successful and gives a clear signal to the govt and to all the parties…

  97. I am incandescent that a campaigning organisation censors polite and respectful comments (such as my own!) that challenge its actions. May I suggest that everyone posts – and keeps posting – complaints about that censorship on the “channel comments” part of their youtube site (youtube/stonewalluk). Let’s make our feelings known!!!!

  98. They should right a book “How to create a complete Public Relations Disaster”.

    Seriously, I’ve read and re-read some of the comments and if I were the head of an organisation such as Stonewall, I’d want to be taking notes and acting on those comments by trying to rectify the damage done.

    But how can gay men and women support an organisation which does not support us?

    I want to marry my partner.

    Ben, I know you or one of your cronies are reading this and here’s what I have to say to you. I really think you are an arsehole.

  99. I believe that Stonewall has become a “gravy train”, a nice cushy little earner for those who form it. They’ve become complacent. They want to preserve things just as they are. They are fearful of the final steps to the top of the ladder of equality because they perceive it could mean the end of their cushy little salaries.

    Protest against Stonewall!

  100. Much anger here and no dount more broadly. Here is the challenge.

    If we as a community feel Stonewall is now working against our interests it is incumbant on our community to organise a new MEMBER organisation to ensure our issues are on the agenda, political and otherwise, moving forward.

    We may be angry BUT it is within the might of our community to organise itself and marginalise Stonewall.

    Direct the anger to action.


  101. Jump! I say Jump!! Odious cretin.

  102. “I believe that Stonewall has become a “gravy train”, a nice cushy little earner for those who form it. They’ve become complacent. They want to preserve things just as they are. They are fearful of the final steps to the top of the ladder of equality because they perceive it could mean the end of their cushy little salaries.”

    You have nailed it D. It is just like why the Terence Higgins Trust don’t give a toss about HIV prevention and never did. Because their fat cat gravy train is dependent on gay men contracting HIV in ignorance via ads that actively persuade them into risky behaviours and soap powder ads for unproven PEP drugs that the government will give you after a weekend of pre-planned unsafe sex. hey are in hoc to the pharmas just as Stonewall is answerable to their own masters. Stonewall? THT? Pah! With “friends” like these who needs enemies. They’re all the same. Self-important and self-serving, living off the fat of our misery. They don’t give a toss for the communities they were established to serve. They merely act to disempower us so they they can retain their nefarious hold over us, not to mention their cushy perks and smarmy fund-raising knees-up banquets. We really need to petition the likes of Ian McKellan, Stephen Fry and Tracey Emin who believe they are being fashionable in supporting such causes, but whose participation is actively endorsing these quangos’ treasonous behaviour and actions. The day is coming soon when gay men wake up and reclaim what has been stolen from them by these soulless PC apparatchiks.

  103. Another John says:

    “some would see my point about opposing gay marriage as one of pure semantics.”

    NO, it is based on complete disregard for basic natural rights, civil liberties, freedom of expression and association, privacy and intimacy; and at times it is based on complete lunacy.

    Whatever it is you are advocating, it is not marriage in the way I understand the meaning of marriage.

    YOU are right, because what most of us advocate is for LIBERTY to decide on OUR OWN who we can marry and the way said marriage will come about. YOU want government to validate your selfish emotional desires and mandate others to live and speak the WAY YOU WANT THEM TO. What YOU want, JOHN, is to control people’s THOUGHTS and tell them what a “real” marriage is or is not through the iron fist of your GOVERNMENT, instead of convincing people through rational arguments which clearly YOU HAVE REFUSED TO DO. You instead use the FORCE of government to impose your will on others.

  104. Is it just me, or does Bummerskill have the look of Popeye Ratzinger about him? The eyes have it…

  105. Rob Harkavy 30 Sep 2010, 4:08pm

    Re Gravy Train

    Irrespective of the validity of many of the points made on this thread, I must take issue with the ‘Stonewall as a gravy train’ argument. I know a few people who work at Stonewall having come from the private sector and know for a fact that in all cases (that I’m aware of) these people took a significant cut in salary.

    So come on people. Why ruin well-argued points by making statements you can’t back up with facts and figures?

  106. Thanks HW – how frustrating .. hope the protest in Nov is loud!

  107. Andrew Reeves 2 Oct 2010, 2:26pm

    I have blogged that it is time for Ben Summerskill to resign, this is just the icing on the cake.

    Gay marriage is a topic that Stonewall should be campaigning for.

  108. John, No. 101, I totally concur, we most definitely need an alternate marriage equality supportive organisation to counter StonewallUK. Its quite clear its not going to adopt marriage equality in its agenda, so its time to galvanize and take control ourselves. StonewallUK is the roadblock to our full equality, its time for it to move out of the way once and for all.

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