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Peter Tatchell accuses Stonewall of carrying out ‘flawed’ gay marriage survey

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  1. Stonewall is a bigotted, homophobic organisation.

    They claimed to have no position on marriage equality, but send their leader Ben Summerskill to the Lib Dem party conference to actively campaign against legal equality for LGBT people.

    Their refusal to support LGBT equality means that they need to disband.

    Do not donate money to the homophobic Stonewall organisation.
    Do not rely on Stonewall to argue for your rights.

    Stonewall is not interested in LGBT equality.

    Even if they sack the homophobic Ben Summerskill, as an equality organisation they are not fit for purpose.

    Stonewall are having their annual rubber chicken and lumpy mashed potatoes awards dinner on November 5th at the V+A Museum in London.

    This event will be picketed by those in the LGBT community who believe that LGBT people deserve legal equality.

    It is time to send an unequiviocal message to the media and politicians that Stonewall has no legitimacy or credibility in the LGBT community.

    They must be stopped from campaigning against LGBT equality

  2. Some questions about Stonewall’s survey:

    1. Who is conducting it?
    2. Is it an in-house Stonewall survey
    3. Who is tabulating the results. Is it an independent 3rd party company.
    4. Why should we trust the results of Stonewall’s survey? Their whole agenda making process is shrouded in mystery.

    We do not even know who Stonewall is answerable to.

    I don’t care what the results of the Stonewall survey are.

    I simply want them to disband.

    The damage they have done to marriage equality for LGBT people is inexcusable and unforgiveable.

  3. I did this survey and it is true; it seemed to be designed to play down any question of marriage equality. The only question that could be interpreted as relating to marriage equality was titled ‘civil partnerships’, so that people would not mark it as a priority because civil partnerships have already been brought in. No question actually positively addressed marriage equality. If this is the sum total their consultation process which has apparently taken years to carry out then I am disgusted. They should have been ready to comapiagn for marriage equality two years ago. They should have been at the cutting edge and leading the community. This is a serious failing and they have let down the community they seek to represent.

  4. Rob Hedley 18 Oct 2010, 5:03pm

    I wonder if Stonewall put the priorities of its corporate sponsors and board members ahead of the views of everyone else. Big business has an interest in keeping us different, Stonewall have argued already that it would cost £5bn over 10 years because of the differences in pension and tax entitlements. What affect would this have on pension pots, I wonder if Aviva had a hand in coming up with this figure. Who knows, i’m not sure but when it comes to shelling out more cash businesses tend not to agree!

  5. So why is that a measly 20,000 members get to decide who gets full equality in our country. The non-members out number them hugely, two to three million of us. StonewallUK needs to get rid of Summerskill once and for all. He’s the roadblock to getting marriage equality and is working against the majority of us. I hope the demonstration outside the V&A will be huge and vocal. Summerskill MUST go, NOW!

  6. Stephen Kay 18 Oct 2010, 5:08pm

    What we need is an organized protest outside of the awards dinner. We also need to get the message over to business that this organization doesnt represent us.

  7. I can only agree with Tatchell. it seemed to me to be clearly designed to reduce the yes vote for marriage equality.

    I have done my bit. no expensive ticket purchases for the Stonewall awards from us this year!

  8. George Broadhead 18 Oct 2010, 5:12pm

    “Stonewall’s chief executive, Ben Summerskill, has said he will not be “jumped into” a position on changing the law before the charity’s 20,000 supporters are consulted.2

    One wonders whether Stonewall has consulted its supporters on other issues pertaining to equality and if not, why this one is so controversial to warrant it.

  9. This email “survey” has all the hallmarks of being thrown together in a last minute attempt to justify their spurious claims of “consultation”.

    What a joke.


  10. I don’t trust Stonewall

  11. Andrew Godfrey 18 Oct 2010, 6:07pm

    The full text of the survey is available here:

    I’ve also explained just why the survey is inadequate. But frankly, even if Stonewall do suddenly come out in favour of marriage equality once the survey results are announced, their absurd behaviour over recent months means I won’t be satisfied until they apologise and make some big changes – which may have to include the resignation of Ben Summerskill (and David Isaac, from whom I have just received an incredibly insulting email).

  12. and continuing to build the ‘Diversity Champions’ programme.

    do you mean their sponsors ? oh yeah logical route to equality – better not have straight access for partnerships – it could cost someone !?

  13. Peter & Michael 18 Oct 2010, 6:20pm

    Unfortunately Pink News did not publish our comment on this issue, the piece of paper that we signed on our Civil Partnership is not worth the paper it was wriitn on. We found this out when we visited NHS hospital because of being diagnosed with Cancer, and that the Equality Bill had not yet been implemented in the UK healthcare system. We believe that Ben Summerskill must go and Stonewall disbanded because they have opted to have Same-Sex Civil Marriage which is a fundamental right within Equality consigned to their out tray. We are in the process of complaining to our Conservative MP.

  14. Peter Tatchell 18 Oct 2010, 6:27pm

    Contrary to the impression given by Stonewall, it is not surveying its supporters specifically on the issue of gay marriage. It is conducting a general survey encompassing 12 different lesbian and gay issues.

    The questionnaire is headed: ‘Supporters Survey – October 2010’. There is no indication from the title or introduction that it is a survey on gay marriage.

    The question on gay marriage is buried near the end of the survey, as issue number eight.

    The question is not even called gay marriage. It is entitled ‘Civil Partnerships’, which is very confusing and misleading.

    The Stonewall survey question reads:

    “Civil Partnerships – Work to extend the legal form of marriage to gay people.”

    The wording and methodology of the survey appear biased. I doubt that a reputable polling organisation would regard it as an acceptable way to survey people.

    This does not strike me as a genuine, impartial survey. It seems designed to minimise support for marriage equality.

    Stonewall is out of touch. The vast majority of the gay community and the British public support the right of same-sex couples to get married in a registry office.

    Surveys by the Pink Paper and Pink News have found that 70% to 98% of LGBT people oppose the ban on gay marriage and want equal marriage rights.

    Every major LGBT organisation in Britain, apart from Stonewall, supports marriage equality.

    A Populus poll in June 2009 found that 61% of the public believe that: ‘Gay couples should have an equal right to get married, not just to have civil partnerships.’ Only 33% disagreed.

    See here:

    Stonewall has done a lot of valuable important work. I salute its efforts to tackle homophobic bullying in schools. But on the issue of gay marriage it is seriously mistaken. It’s refusal to support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples is shameful.

    The ban on gay marriage is homophobic discrimination. Every gay rights organisation should be campaigning to overturn it

  15. Stonewall used to have better public relations than they’ve got now. I think there was someone there called Helen Ward but I guess she’s left them now.

  16. Why are you all planning on demonstrating outside stonewall awards? but no one demonstrated outside the tory party conference, who are the people who would put the marriage law through and are the ones who are responsible for not putting the law through. Why does no one demonstrate outside parliament where the law literally would be put through. Why does no one go and demonstrate outside churches and mosques that every week preach homophobic bull to their congregation and influence the leaders who could put gay marriage laws through. Why not demonstrate against……..the list of homophobic organisations is endless.
    No, instead you lot suggest we all go and demonstrate outside a gay rights organisation. That’s pathetic, weak, stupid – protesting an organisation who has done so much for gay rights, when there are so many organisations that have done so much harm to gay rights, and yet none of you ever go on about demonstrating against them. I think there’s a homophobe behind all this anti-stonewall sentiment. Probably some tranny who can’t stand that they’re not included in stonewall’s agenda.
    Instead of blaming stonewall for not bringing in gay marriage equality, blame those who are responsible – David Cameron and his cabinet. (who must be laughing his head off that you’re all taking your lack of freedom and equality out on a gay rights organisation instead of the tory party)
    What a joke.

  17. Paul Cann Said – “Probably some tranny who can’t stand that they’re not included in stonewall’s agenda.

    Watch your language idiot! I’m transsexual and the use of that word is derogatory! For your information transsexuals should be just as bothered about this as anyone and not just because Stonewall refuse to accept the ‘T’, in LGBT, but because being transsexual isn’t anything to do with our sexuality!

    We can be Gay, Straight or Bi just like anyone. We’re also forced at this point in time to have our marriages dissolved and converted to civil partnerships before we can obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (which recognises us legally as our identified gender), and all because same sex marriage is illegal. This causes distress and upset to couples who are staying together through a transition.

    Emma –

  18. Steve King 18 Oct 2010, 7:48pm

    “Instead of blaming stonewall for not bringing in gay marriage equality, blame those who are responsible – David Cameron and his cabinet. (who must be laughing his head off that you’re all taking your lack of freedom and equality out on a gay rights organisation instead of the tory party)”

    I see. No-one is saying that Stonewall is to blame for ´not bringing in marriage equality´. Of course they are not the ones to do it…. that would be the role of the government. The role of Stonewall though is to represent US… (or disband and stop claiming to represent us.)

    It´s really rather simple as far as I can see… Run a very easy poll on their website and see what the results tell them! I think they will get a firm and clear answer as to what GLBT people want!

    The point is that if they claim to represent us, then represent us they should. That should start by finding out what WE want. They are unlikely to do that with this self-loaded ´poll´.

    So THATS why their ´award ceremony´ should be demonstrated at… They are purporting to speak for us, but they only speak for themselves.

  19. Do you think you earn the £1,730.77 per week Stonewall contributors pay you Mr Summerskill? Just how do you represent LGB interests?

  20. Steve King 18 Oct 2010, 7:55pm

    ´David Cameron and his cabinet. (who must be laughing his head off that you’re all taking your lack of freedom and equality out on a gay rights organisation instead of the tory party)
    What a joke.´

    …And no, the only ´joke´ that Cameron and the tories will be laughing at is that one of our own, one of our ´leading gay rights organizations´ is campaigning AGAINST full equality for GLBT people..

    Now, THATS the joke!

  21. Marriage equality is overwhelmingly supported by LGBT people.

    Stonewall is the ONLY LGB organisation in the country which does not support it.

    Yet Stonewall is the ‘go-to’ group for the government and media.

    However they clearly do NOT represent LGBT opinion.

    A clear message needs to be sent to the government and media that Stonewall represents nobody but themselves and their corporate sponsors.

    Stonewall cannot be allowed to continue pretending to represent the LGBT community. They don’t.

    Nobody knows who Stonewall represents. That is unsustainable. As an organisation Stonewall needs to be sidelined.

  22. Wim in Holland 18 Oct 2010, 8:35pm

    Is it possible to let a judge decide, that in this survey the questioning isn’t fair and that Stonewall will be forced to ask the right question.

  23. And irrespective of the results of Stonewal’s clearly biased survey, what is indisputable is the fact that because LGBT are denied access to civil marriage because of our sexual orientation, this is homophobic discrimination.

    Stonewall cannot pretend to be an equality organisation if it refuses to support legal equality for LGBT people.

  24. “Is it possible to let a judge decide, that in this survey the questioning isn’t fair and that Stonewall will be forced to ask the right question.”

    No. Stonewall is a private organisation which is answerable to their board.

    They are not answerable to the community they pretend to represent – the LGBT community.

  25. Andrew Godfrey 18 Oct 2010, 8:41pm

    Oh one other thing – I believe Lisa Power challenged Ben Summerskill at the Conservative fringe meeting. Which means *three* of Stonewall’s four co-founders have called on them to support marriage equality.

  26. @ dave. If you think summerskill is homophobic you need to come to where I live and i’ll introduce you to some of the local scum, real homophobes. Then you’ll see that summerskill isn’t homophobic, he just doesn’t think gay marriage rights are important. Even heterosexuals don’t get married anymore.
    @ helen. Your idea that I am Ben Summerskill is a bit paranoid. Do you really think he would waste his time coming on here leaving comments? He’d probably be a lot more eloquent than me anyway – so I’ll leave that up to him to represent himself. But, you think with marriage rights we will not be seen as the other? Minorities are the other, always have been, always will be. And we’ll always be a minority. Do you seriously think if we all say ‘I’m married’, then homophobia will stop? That’s not going to happen.
    @ EmmaB. How is tranny derogatory? it’s short for transexual. That would be like saying homo is derogatory. Calling someone an idiot however is offensive. But don’t worry about it, I’m not offended even though you called me a derogatory word, I couldn’t give a damn what you thought of me.
    @ Steven King. Stonewall do represent gay men, they represent me, and they have done a lot of work for equality since their creation. It’s pathetic that everyone thinks they should disband because of this issue. Talk about stabbing people in the back? And it’s you lot who are stabbing a brilliant organisation in the back. And Steven, been on any good UK anti-homophobia demonstrations recently? No, thought not, too busy bumming brazilian twinks. (which is great, but don’t pretend to be bothered about gay marriage rights in the UK because of some knee jerk reaction to my comment)

    Point is, you all go on about stonewall as if they’re the most homophobic organisation in the country, seeing as this is the only call for a demonstration I’ve ever read on these forums (except for the pope – but even the pope wasn’t spoken about as viciously as ben summerskill) and yet you don’t do anything against the organisations who are truly homophobic.

    I’ll ask again, why did none of you demonstrate outside the tory conference, or the labour conference, or the catholic cathedral, or st pauls, or any other homophobic organistion? why demonstrate outside a gay rights organisation award ceremony when you don’t demonstrate outside any other organisation which is truly homophobic? I smell hypocrites.

  27. Hang on a minute…..the coalition govt have just got into office and its all their fault gay marriage isnt in place ?? Last I read, Nick Clegg, Boris Johnson and several others (whose names I forget!) are all in favour of its probably – almost certainly – on the cards.

  28. I wouldn’t use the word ‘homophobe’ to describe BS but I despise his attitude towards equal marriage rights. Fine if he personally doesn’t want to get married. I don’t know anything about his private life and I don’t want to, but to try to enforce his own personal view on everyone else by pretending that gay people don’t want the right to get married is highly offensive to me.

    The wording of the survey is stupid – why word it in that way unless you want to be purposely vague? Why not just ask a straight question? I’ll answer that for him – it’s because he’s afraid we’ll give the ‘wrong’ answer. Pathetic and cowardly.

  29. @ Paul – “How is tranny derogatory? it’s short for transexual”. Firstly it’s ‘Transsexual’ and ‘Tranny is not short for anything. It’s a word reserved for those who are not transsexual. It gives a sense that what we go through is not genuine and is some sort of sexual fetish.

    As for Stonewall….. try reading what I actually put. How can marriage equality not be important when it’s not only denying rights to some, but has the possibility to split others up.

    My partner was distraught at the thought of having her marriage dissolved and having to enter into a civil partnership. Stonewall may have done other good things, but if they want to claim to represent a community, then they should actually listen to that community and not pander to big business and a few members here and there (which as was pointed out before are insignificant number wise as far as the true levels of LGBT people in this country)

    They do not represent the LGBT community in the country as far as marriage equality is concerned and that is clearly not good enough. For your information, I will be at neither protest, so a hypocrite, I’m not! I take my concerns up with them more directly!

    Hugs, Emma

  30. “Stonewall do represent gay men, they represent me”

    Actually they don’t represent you. Their charter clearly states that they represent only their own group, and not the LGBT community. Fair enough. But I want the politicians and the media to realise this, and to realise that Stonewall is a tiny group representing about 1% of the LGBT population.

    “It’s pathetic that everyone thinks they should disband because of this issue. Talk about stabbing people in the back? And it’s you lot who are stabbing a brilliant organisation in the back.”

    Ben Summerskill stabbed the LGBT community in the back by pretending to have no opinion on marriage equality in public, but then actively campaigning against equality at the LibDem conference. That is contemptible hypocrisy.

    “you all go on about stonewall as if they’re the most homophobic organisation in the country”

    Well Stonewall is certainly the most homophobic LGBT organisation in the country – in that they do not think that fighting for legal equality for LGBT people, is an issue worth fighting for. That position is bizarre and offensive.

    “why demonstrate outside a gay rights organisation award ceremony”

    To send a clear message to the politicians and media that Stonewall are out of touch with the LGBT population and that their opinions do not represent the LGBT community. They position themselves as an equality organisation, even though they do not support marriage equality.

    Stonewall can survive as either a charity focussing solely on the issue of bullying, or alternatively replace Ben Summerskill and start representing the LGBT population in a manner which shows a lot more transparency in how they decide their agenda.

    But it is crystal clear that unless they start to support marriage equality then they are doomed. Their reputation has already been thrashed by Summerskill’s duplicity at the LibDem conference.

  31. I can’t think of a single valid reason why Stonewall refuses to support marriage equality.

    Unless the rumours about them being instructed not to, by their corporate donors are true.

  32. Paul said If you think summerskill is homophobic you need to come to where I live and i’ll introduce you to some of the local scum, real homophobes.

    I don’t want to meet them. Just let me know what they do and say.

  33. Stonewall homophobic? Get a grip! They’re out of touch on this issue but are a great organisation.

  34. Thank you Peter Tatchell for challenging Stonewall on this, I wonder do you have a theory about why Stonewall are so very obviousloy reluctant to support marriage equality.

  35. I’ve defended Stonewall in the past but this f*ckery re: gay marriage is B.S of the highest order. Peter Tatchell has more integrity in his little finger then this shower put together. It’s clear that their agenda is tied squarely to whoever is in political power and their corporate sponsors. Such a disappointment…

  36. Who besides Corporations are funding this stonewalling group?

    I hope no one here, and not gay individuals ANYWHERE are still sending them money.

    Of course the more their funding comes from corporations the more they will promote the interests of those corporations.

    I think it’s time that people in the UK defund Stonewall, TARGET the corporations that are funding it with boycotts and dismantle the anti-gay equality group.

    It’s really time to start over with a gay rights organization that reflects the 21st and not the 20th century.

  37. How the Hell can we protest the Tories or homophobes if even our own organisations don’t support our rights??? We must first get them on board (or out of the way) so we can then present a united front. Otherwise the Tories will rip us apart with Ben Summerskill’s help.

  38. Jock S. Trap 19 Oct 2010, 8:09am

    I don’t understand why they feel the need to ‘consult’ on equality when that is supposed to be what they are about!

    Am I the only one to think that they are deliberately stalling for a purpose? ie that after the equality of marriage they will perhaps feel they will be redundant? The fear of becoming not needed? Perhaps in an ideal world they wouldn’t but I guess sadly they will be needed as there is still plenty of work they can do. Homophobic bullying for one.

    I guess it’s time Stonewall decided if they stand for full equality or if they don’t. Ironically, if it is the latter then I feel they will become redundant as people won’t trust them.

  39. Jock S Trap said “I don’t understand why they feel the need to ‘consult’ on equality when that is supposed to be what they are about!”

    I know!

    Listening to them speak, it’s almost as if they believe they are somehow part of government; a “Ministry for LGB”.

    In truth, under the last government, that’s pretty much how they were treated, and it’s gone to Summerskill’s head.

    Trying to get Stonewall to change its ethos is not going to work. Stonewall’s view is Summerskill’s personal view, and that will not change. I can’t see him being sacked, as he has a solid power-base there. And I can’t see him walking aaay from a VERY nice wage packet (did somewhat say over £90,000 a year, plus expenses?) either. After all, who else is going to be dumb enough to pay him that kind of money?

    What we need to do is make sure the present government do not deal with Stonewall. We need to ensure that they know this group does not share the views of the vast majority of LGBT people, and does NOT have a mandate to speak for us or represent us in any way.

    Summerskill’s abysmal performances at the Lib-Dem and Labour party conferences have already brought this home to a lot of politicians, including some at Ministry level. But we need to push the point harder and ensure that the group can do no more damage to our interests.


  40. “What we need to do is make sure the present government do not deal with Stonewall. We need to ensure that they know this group does not share the views of the vast majority of LGBT people, and does NOT have a mandate to speak for us or represent us in any way.”

    I agree, chrissie. I cannot see BS changing his mind and I actually don’t trust him any more. That might be unfair of me but I feel like he’s ablout to stab us in the back. I really, REALLY don’t get him. Why’s he acting like this?

  41. I thought BS had said Stonewall had never pretended to be a democratic, member-based organisation and didn’t represent all LGB people. We don’t know who the “20,000 supporters” are, all we are told is that a person/org that is a donor has been asked about the future of CPs. (We do know that Stonewall gets most of its funding from governments, local authorities and large public companies) Not all donors are GAY, so we’re expecting donors to now come to a decision on marriage equality. Many of the donors are companies who I presume Stonewall are monitoring on LGB issues, many may be religious orgs. Many orgs donate because they believe in parts of what Stonewall does but some of these may think marriage equlity is a step too far. People who donate to Stonewall do not speak for the whole of the LGBT community. I was sent an email by Stonewall recently addressed to me as a supporter but I’m not a donator. My view won’t be taken into account.

    Many of the other options on the survey are already things Stonewall can’t back out of eg diversity champions prog, (many orgs have already paid 2000 pounds annual subscription fees for this, you can’t back out of this) CPs in Quaker meetings etc, (it’s already gone thru the house of lords) Homophobic bullying (who exactly hasn’t been in favour of this and I presume they will get indirect charity funding from local authorities for much of their research and work on it).

    Marriage equality won’t be funded from orgs like AVIVA, IBM and govt and local authorities won’t give any charity donation for this work. Why is this put into a survey as an option/priority?. Surely the question should be : “do you think the current ban on marriage based on sexual orientation is wrong and should we support equality like everyone else?”. As Cashman said, what part of equality does Stonewall not understand? Stonewall can’t continue constantly only to chose the easy options, the options with govt & private organisation support and funding. They are, I thought, the main LGBT campaigning org, the ones pushing for controversial, ground breaking changes in the law. They aren’t the government, they shouldn’t only have the same agenda as the government.

    Marriage equality won’t end homophobic discrimination, nor will Stonewall or any other gay organisation or govt ever end it. They can only improve it and getting rid of any legal inequalities must be the first step…

  42. Iris asked..
    “Why’s he acting like this? ”

    One word.



  43. Ben Summerskill should be a supported of our full rights, not a politically-influenced social engineer!

  44. Chrissie, more than possible. The Greek ‘partner’ of hubris is nemesis…

    BS, by his refusal to support full equality, is sidelining himself and his organisation. Stonewall have done good work in the past, but now they’re undermining their good reputation with this illogical stubbornness, in my opinion.

  45. Can anyone tell me the difference between gay marriage and civil partnerships? I’ve tried to find the difference on the net but can’t see anything that matters to me? Maybe I’ve not searched right? Please help.

  46. Mihangel apYrs 19 Oct 2010, 1:08pm

    no 1. PENSIONS
    no 2. recognition in the EU and elsewhere

  47. Paul, London 19 Oct 2010, 1:16pm

    @Leo – There is very little difference between the two – clearly, the name is different, but also the way they are ended (divorce v dissolution) and the fact that you have to consummate a marriage, but not a civil partnership. There are some issues with recognition around the world, but that won’t go away with gay marriage. That’s about it.

    I don’t think the issue of gay marriage is as easy as some people think. If gay marriage is pursued what should we do with Civil Partnerships? Abolish them, or automatically convert them into marriages (possibly against the wishes of those in them)? If we keep Civil Partnerships should they also be offered to heterosexual people? Should both gay marriage and civil partnerships be allowed to formed on all religious premises, some or none? Do all gay people want marriage or do some prefer a form of partnership which recognises their sexuality? Do gay people want a form of marriage that apes heterosexual marriage, or do they want something different?

    And as for knocking Stonewall, unless there is consensus on all these points there is unlikely to be agreement in Parliament. And Stonewall only have so many resources – perhaps its an issue of priorities – If they actively support this campaign, what do they do about their work on ending bullying in schools, ensuring fair and non-discriminatory access to services and preventing discrimination in the workplace? Or do they just have to do everything? Maybe those withdrawing their support should think about increasing their funding instead? Just a thought…

  48. “Ben Summerskill should be a supported of our full rights, not a politically-influenced social engineer! ”

    But he’s not so we, as an LGBT community should start to try and do something about it.

    And this winds me up:

    In response, a Stonewall spokesperson said: “Mr Tatchell does seem to be seriously underestimating the intelligence of gay people.”

    No pal, it’s you guys that think we’re as thick as s***.

  49. Paul, London……civil partnerships maybe a bit different to marriage but in the long run, they will NOT be the norm for gay people in western society, not going to happen. You have to look at the larger picture. Civil partnerships already ape marriage since a lot of the rights thereof were incorporated into these unions, so that’s a lame argument to make, they do mimic marriage in many ways. Ten countries had varying forms of same-sex legal unions before the UK had civil partnerships. They never really worked. It took ten straight governments to figure out that separate is never equal, no matter the name under which they are conferred. Some of those countries have retained them, so I don’t see why they should be abolished in the UK, none of us are demanding that and they can co-exist alongside marriage and straight couples should also be allowed to enter into such a union. Why should they be forced to marry if they don’t want to and want something different? Yet another thing Stonewall should be fighting for. There are many of us would would prefer to marry and StonewallUK, if its truly sincere about FULL equality, should and must support it as well as campaign for it, even if some don’t personally care about it or want it for themselves. Summerskill does not speak for a lot of us. I for one don’t want to be different and separate from the rest of society under a different name and I don’t want to be treated differently, where is the equality and unity in that? Why should any gay man or woman be prohibited from marrying and why should some gay people be against it and want to deny those of us who want it? Why should 20,000 members of StonewallUK get to decide what we want? They’re a small number compared to the number of gay people living in the country. I think its absurd to waste time trying to get religious denominations participation in these partnerships, most won’t and I don’t think the majority of gay couples would want any religious component. There is none in civil marriage. Ten countries have gender neutral civil marriage for gay couples, no religious denomination is compelled to recognise or perform them.

    Peter and Michael, No. 13, you make an interesting point in regard to the NHS and your predicament. If you were married, that might not have happened. It just highlights how civil partnerships are viewed by society. They are not given the same validation as marriage nor do they convey that your legal union is equal to it. In fact it demonstrates that they are inferior to the majority. That said, I still think they should remain for those who want them, but we most definitely do need civil marriage equality, no question about that.

  50. Some of what Stonewall has done has been progressive. However this issue is clouding and having a negative impact on the reputation of the organisation. The organisation is more than one person and clearly the CEO is overshadowing everthing here.

    Surely the board cannot support the CEO where he is bringing the organisation into disrepute!

    As for Funding well money I am afraid is always present in the background to all these charities. “You don’t bite the hand that feeds you” cliche but true.

  51. Sue Wilkinson 19 Oct 2010, 2:13pm

    ACTION YOU CAN TAKE: Protest Stonewall’s failure to support marriage equality – and to respect trans people. Demonstrate 6.30 p.m., Thursday 4th November, outside the Stonewall Awards at the V&A Museum (Cromwell Road, South Kensington tube). Details:!/event.php?eid=155929787772552

  52. It seems Stinewall may be under religious control.

    Having said that marriage is a religious institution and we can not force them to accept us.

    Civil Partnerships should have equal standing and be open to both gay and straight people.

  53. “I don’t think the issue of gay marriage is as easy as some people think. If gay marriage is pursued what should we do with Civil Partnerships? Abolish them, or automatically convert them into marriages”

    Follow the Dutch example.

    CP’s and civil marriage available to both gay and straight couples.

    The issue of gay marriage is as easy as pie.

    It is unacceptable and offensive that CP’s were invented solely to deny same sex couples access to civil marriage.

    And it is bizarre and offensive that Stonewall refuses to support same sex marriage equality.

    Personally the difference between CP’s and marriage may not be that large (they differ in terms of pension rights, consummation; dissolution; foreign recognition, and if you are trans) but the fact that the existence of CP’s is 100% due to a refusal by the government to recognise same sex marriage equality is gross.

    I personally don’t care if only 25% of same sex couples want to get married (although repeated polls in Scotland; Ireland and by Pink New and the Pink Paper in England how that a large majority of LGBT people support marriage equality)

    While Stonewall refuses to support marriage equality; then they cannot describe themselves as as equality organisation.

    I am amazed that Ben Summerskill has kept his job.

    Even if Stonewall start to support LGBT marriage equality; through his campaigning against LGBT equality at the LibDem conference, Ben Summerskill has massively damaged Stonewall’s reputation and influence.

    Summerskill needs to go. Stonewall will never recover its shattered reputation with Summerskill at the helm. If Summerskill keeps his job it is a declaration by Stonewall that it does not care about LGBT people.

  54. “Having said that marriage is a religious institution and we can not force them to accept us.”

    The second part of that sentence is right, Mr Quick, but marriage is NOT a religious institution. RELIGIOUS marriage is a religious institution and they can make up their own rules, eg no divorcees, but CIVIL marriage (ie a registry office marriage) is a legal and wholly secular matter.

    We shouldn’t be denied access to this legal contract just because of our sexuality. We should have the same choice to marry or not marry as straight people.

  55. David and Iris, well said! The problem with the religious denominations is that they think they own civil marriage, they don’t and they never will. I’ve been to many registry office weddings and not once was there any invocation of a deity or prayer, it IS totally secular. That said, religious denominations should not and must not get a say in who can enter into a civil marriage contract. It has NOTHING to do with them, nor should they be compelled to marry us let alone recognise any same-sex marriages. I really don’t care that much about what they think, its none of their business to begin with and they should stay out of politics altogether, they have NO place.

  56. Jock S. Trap 19 Oct 2010, 3:47pm

    So let me get this right, we are fighting for equality LGBT charities too….

    So who gave Stonewall to the right to pick and chose what equality rights we should have?

  57. “So who gave Stonewall to the right to pick and chose what equality rights we should have?”

    Nobody did.

    That is why it is so important that it become widely known that Stonewall do not represent the LGBT population of Britain.

  58. Paul, London 19 Oct 2010, 5:17pm

    Well it’s nice to see that there has been some real engagement on the issues that surround the ideal of gay marriage on here today and people are now putting forward their views on what true equality looks like (i.e. I was interested to see some of the posts suggesting that religions should be allowed to continue to discriminate, for example. Not very equal, but hey!). Even referring to it as “gay marriage” could raise questions for some people as to whether that means something different to what we understand as just plain “marriage”. Until there is some consensus on these issues and answers to these type of questions those who oppose gay marriage will use the disagreements and lack of clarity on what it actually wanted as a way to stop changes to legislation. Doing this fact finding will take some time and resources, so I’m not surprised Stonewall is taking its time to ensure it gets its policy position right, exploring the issues, finding the answers, consulting with its members, and decide where it sits in its list of priorities.

    Instead of slagging them off maybe you could just send them your thoughts on some of the issues they want views on and tell them how important it is to you. As a lot of people have said, Stonewall don’t represent all the gay community – but neither does Peter Tatchell – and some people’s views of what gay marriage means don’t match mine, so they don’t speak for me either. I think you’re wasting your time protesting against stonewall – you’d be better off writing to your MP of picketing the Houses of Parliament.

  59. “I’m not surprised Stonewall is taking its time to ensure it gets its policy position right, exploring the issues”

    The problem however is that Stonewall have taken 6 years to even BEGIN to study these issues.

    Until Summerskill was caught arguing against marriage equality at the LibDem conference, Stonewall was wlfully ignoring the calls by the LGBT community for them to support equality.

    Numerous people posting on here have stated that when they contacted Stonewall to ask why they refused to support the wishes of the majority of the LGBT population who support equality, they were ignored or dismissed out of hand.

    Stonewall’s current non-position is unsustainable.

    Stonewall has a choice – either come out in favour and support LGBT equality. Or otherwise they will have irreparably lost the trust and support of the LGBT population and will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

    LGBT equality does not depend on Stonewall. However in order to have any legitimacy Stonewall depends on the trust of the LGBT population.

    The damage that Summerskill inflicted on Stonewall through his horrendous behaviour at the LibDem Conference cannot simply be swept under the carpet.

    Stonewall is meant to support equality. Not oppose it for whatever personal reasons Summerskill or the board of Stonewall have.

  60. Mr. Quick: “Marriage is a religious institution and we can not force them to accept us.”

    Since when? Marriage can be religious, but equally one can have a secular ceremony in a registry office, so why can’t we have one of those? This is all semantic bullsh|t.

    CP’s and marriages performed by the state are identical bar two small caveats. There is no reason to not do this other than politicians are sh|t-scared of the church.

  61. Mr. Quick: “Marriage is a religious institution and we can not force them to accept us.”

    Who do you mean by ‘them’? Religious people? There are plenty of religious people who do accept LGBT people and who emrace same sex marriage, yet these marriages have no legal standing. Stonewall doesn’t care if religious LGBT people’s marriages are meaningless because the majority of their members are secular. They ignore the issue of religious freedom for LGBT people because they buy into the stereotype that LGBT people are all atheists.

  62. Paul, London…civil marriage equality I think is a far better term to use for same-sex couples wanting to have access to marriage. Gay marriage in America is used by the right wing religious extremists and other conservatives to marginalise us and it seems to be working.

    My problem with StonewallUK and Summerskill in particular is that this “consultation” nonsense he refers to implies that if the majority of the 20,000 membership doesn’t want full marriage equality, he’ll use it to stop us from getting it, as if he’s speaking for the majority of us. That’ what I strongly object to. If he were competent enough to run StonewallUK, he should declare support for it regardless and include it in the agenda, but he doesn’t. He excludes it and refuses to do it because the opinions of the membership, a very small minority of people, are far more important than the majority. He deserves a drubbing for that, rightfully so. What he did at the Liberal Democratic conference was destructive and unforgiveable, in fact anti-gay. Doesn’t he realise the harm he is doing by alienating far more than 20,000 people who aren’t members, does he think that’s a good strategy for StonewallUK? I don’t. Alienation means less membership and fewer donations. He’s totally out of touch and should be replaced with someone who is serious about full equality. He clearly isn’t.

    Mr. Quick, religious and civil marriage are two different entities. Moreover, the government issues marriage licences, religious denominations do not, nor do they own marriage, least of all civil marriage. As such, they should stay out of politics and mind their own business.

  63. Crusaid staff request a Contract of employment with correct start month & removal of someone else’s AIDS Diagnosis from Staff Appraisal….

    Subject: Crusaid discussions
    Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 13:20:47 +0000

    Dear XXXXXXXX,

    Thank you for the email that Robin has forwarded to me as you have requested. I am fully aware of the issues you have raised and hope that your meeting with Robin in January will resolve these for you.
    I understand that there is an issue with the given start date on your contract of employment. I also know that you have pointed this out to Robin and that he has offered to look at and amend this for you. However you have included this in your formal complaint and under the procedures that we have in place, this must be handled in the meeting. No-one has at any point inferred or indicated as your email suggests that your job is being terminated.

    We are aware of the importance of stress in the management of the HIV virus. However when a formal complaint is lodged, we do have to follow the procedures we have in place. It is the trustees’ view that a speedy meeting according to our procedures that can resolve your concerns is the best way to deal with the current situation. I understand that Robin has made himself available to meet with you at the earliest convenient time.

    Crusaid Head of Dept Charity e-mail to HIV Police Panel Member…..
    “pendantic,uncooperative and causing stress hassle and pain to alot of people” …..If Crusaid is so bad get another Job with a better employer”

    Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 15:12:56 +0000

    I want to see the two of you in the meeting room tomorrow at 10 am. No excuses. I sincerely hope that this email conversation has not been widely distributed.
    Robin Brady
    Chief Executive

    Subject: RE: Thank You Invitation to Crusaid Events
    Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 10:31:55 +0000

    Thank you for the email As you know I am co-chair of Crusaid as
    well as their legal adviser .I am writing this to you in the latter capacity as
    Crusaid’s solicitor . THAT WAS THE END

    Crusaid THEN Sends Letter requesting feedback AND DONATION to HIV Police Panel Member after advising them to “GET ANOTHER JOB WITH A BETTER EMPLOYER !!!!

    To: Crusaid Trustees
    After your high court injunction e-mail which as you can imagine was very distressing,followed by a letter from a Head of Department a few weels later at Crusaid about being “the lifeblood of all we do, we could not go on without you” which is very kind of you all at Crusaid I received a few weeks later a letter from the CEO of Crusaid requesting a small donation and feedback on the running of the Charity with a pre-paid envelope and the CEO in their letter to me advising me in writing that Crusaid values feedback and to use the new e-mail address could I therefore respectfully request you and the Board of Trustees’ clarify to me what sort of feedback on the running of Crusaid you and the CEO would like me to provide you with and I will then give your written request for feedback on the running of Crusaid the attention it deserves.
    From: Laurence Gilmore (
    Sent: 20 November 2006 18:26:10


    What is this about and why is he on circulation lists!!!

    Best as ever,


    Tel: 020 7355 6102
    Fax: 020 7518 9102

    Mon, 26 Mar 2007 17:52:53 +0100

    Dear XXXXXXX

    I have written to you today. We discussed this matter…. An error occurred. I dealt with it swiftly. … you are going on the walk….which is MARVELLOUS!


  64. THATS HOW THE LGBT COMMUNITY TREATS ITS OWN LGBT COMMUNITY IT COVERS UP SCANDAL AFTER SCANDAL AND SPENT £900,000-00 encouraging people living with HIV off their benefits to send them the FILTH above…all covered up from you by YOUR OWN COMMUNITY


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