Reader comments · Government is ‘painfully slow’ on gay marriage says Stonewall’s Ben Summerskill · PinkNews

Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.


Government is ‘painfully slow’ on gay marriage says Stonewall’s Ben Summerskill

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. Stonewall are “painfully slow” on gay marriage, should say the Lib Dems who had to lobby them to support LGBT equality!

    If people want to support LGBT equality in this country (and not just the LGB claimed by Stonewall, or the LG practiced by them), and equality for all LGBT people and not just well-off white middle-class ones, then they should support LGBT Lib Dems, and take the money out of Stonewall’s pockets that buys them the influence they no longer deserve!

  2. What would Ben Summerskill know about the fight for full equal marriage? He actively campaigned against marriage equality until Stonewall was forced to change its position!

    The man’s a hypocrite who is now jumping onto the bandwagon as marriage equality finally comes into sight.

    Most people who support this supports full marriage equality for everybody gay, straight, bisexual or trans.

  3. James Incer 17 Feb 2011, 12:19am

    And the seven years it took for Summerskill’s beloved Labour to do anything about gay marriage was fast, was it?

  4. Next headline “Government is ‘painfully slow’ on allowing horseless carriages on our roads says Ben Sumerskill

  5. When Summerskill was so swift on the subject of campaigning for gay marriage that… oh, wait a minute.

  6. saynotommmmm 17 Feb 2011, 12:54am

    stonewall piss off

  7. I guess if ANYONE would know what “painfully slow on gay marriage” looks like it would be Ben.

  8. Don’t care about Stonewall’s previous attitute towards gay marriage, if they’re going to pour some money, energy, enthusiam and some publicity into this , then better late than never!

    If the lib dems/Greens want some credibility before the next election then they better had start the consultation process now and not when everbody has come disillusioned with them!!!

  9. Protest Stonewall on March 18th 17 Feb 2011, 5:01am

    Dave Page: please drop the blatant political point- scoring.

    The facts are – the Lib Dems aren’t much better than Stonewall.

    Your party has only just caught up with bandwagon a few months ago, along with Labour.

    How long have the Liberal Democrats *actually* fully supported Equal Same-Sex Marriage? It is such a priority there’s no mention of it in their manifesto…. why did it take so long? Where have they been?

    This true battle for equality but social liberation has been going on for decades, the Lib Dems refused to support ANY of the campaigns for EQUAL marriage in 2003 led by people like Peter Tatchell and OutRage! the Humanists and others, preferring to side with yet-another miserable compromise apartheid that is Civil Partnerships. DELGA -the Lib Dem “LGBT” equality group still hasn’t changed it’s name to reflect it’s recent token inclusion of Trans and Bi people (and still ignore Intersex & Queer folks).

    Nothings really changed… just deceitful politicians seeking media profiles.

    Ben Summerskill’s main objective is to appease religious conformers, it is disgusting he feels the need for a “separate” system of equality just for same-sex couples.

    If you want to REAL support LGBT equality then back the Equal Love Campaign.

    Lib Dems and Stonewall’s bread and butter are the bankers, the corporate dependant middle Englanders not to mention dozens of Tory/Lib Dem coalition councils which are bankrolling Stonewall’s dazzling “equality champion” pay-and-display champagne parties.

    Bent-copper turned Lib Dem Mayor wannabe Brain Paddick’s the star attraction at all the Stonewall balls!… as you say, rich, white and middle class to the core.

    Ben Summerskill’s interests are in the pockets of the same people the Lib Dems now shamefully prop-up.

    Save your lies about social and economic equality and try spewing them at the disabled, the poor, the young LGBT people who are being made to pay for a crisis they didn’t create, about to loose vital frontline services, benefits, support groups and who are condemned to a future of poverty like we have never seen thanks to this government’s CUTS.

    Equality? Depends how much your vote is worth.

    How can we really expect any kind of “fair” society given how other marginalised groups are being shafted?

    Down with the two-faced sham coalition, and take Stonewall and their tax-avoiding rich mates with you.

  10. The audacity of this statement makes my head hurt.

    The sensible part wants to congratulate Summerskill on finally finding some guts.

    But the rest of brain is very much of the opinion that he can rot. What a hypocrite. What an absolute hypocrite.

  11. So … nothing new …
    Dave Scameron and gay marriage…
    “we will consider” … 2011
    “we will consider” … 2012
    “we will consider” … 2013
    “we will consider” … 2014
    “we will consider” … 2015 …
    as promised …

  12. Why is it political figures always seem to make the most hypocritical remarks? I want to support them, but they just make it so painful to do so.

  13. anti gay stickers
    men get attacked
    no comments from stonewall

  14. Dave, there was not a single mention about gay marriage in the LibDem LGBT manifesto – just 9 months ago

  15. That’s rich, coming from Stonewall.

    Anyway, as others have said, Stonewall should speak out more often when, for exampe, there is a serious homophobic incident.

    They are terrible compared to the Human Rights Campaign in the US.

  16. Jock S. Trap 17 Feb 2011, 9:55am

    As certain phrase which include the words ‘pot’ and ‘kettle’ spring to mind with this story.

    It fails to amaze me that Stonewall couldn’t see that fighting for Full equality esp with the rights of marriage would then go on to helping fight the causes of bullying.

    For a LGB equality group to take so long to get its head round the idea of Equal marriage beggers belief and now they want to talk about others being “painfully slow” on the issue.

    A tad hypocritical.

    Having said that I agree better late than never. Lets just hope they make up for it.

  17. @Jock S Trap – you beat me to it as pots and kettles sprang to mind.
    Summerskill was against this then he slowly got votes going and now he attacks others for being slow!

  18. LGBT Lib Dems have set up a page for people from all political backgrounds to come together and support the consultation. It’s at

  19. “Protest” at 5.01am – hate to spoil a good rant for you but the Lib Dems’ LGBT group changed its name to include B&T years and years ago – round about 1996!

  20. Dwelling on past mistakes will help no one. The LGBT community needs to unite to seize this opportunity to fight for marriage equality. If sniping about who started supporting marriage equality when gets in the way of that united fight then we will fail. This is going to be a tough fight with strong co-ordinated opposition. We all need to focus our energies on the things we can do to make this happen. Summerskill is already doing that by telling the government not to drag their heels, so good for him. What are you doing to do?

  21. @ Dromio

    Stonewall and Ben Summerskill have to admit and apologise for making the mistakes. They actively opposed equal marriage since the introduction of civil partnerships. To do a complete 360 without acknowledging they was wrong is NEVER going to go unchallenged.

    People would drop the criticism if they acknowledge the made mistakes and admit they was wrong. What people wont accept is them pretending they supported equal marriage all along, then trying to take all the glory for its introduction.

    For Stonewall and Ben Summerskill, sorry seems to be the hardest word!

  22. I don’t understand why Stonewall were against it in the first place?

  23. Dave/Helen, As LibDem activists can you confirm that the LibDem LGBT general election manifesto just last May contained no mention whatsoever of gay marriage?

  24. And you weren’t Ben?
    Sit down and shut up, you don’t represent us.

  25. de Villiers 17 Feb 2011, 7:31pm

    People in this country are obsessed with having apologies. Once a person has given an apology, all is forgiven and forgotten. They are now given out like confetti. It’s so hypocritical and typically English.

    Forget about the apologies – cheap words do nothing. The actions are more important.

    As an aside, it’s funny that those on the Left are arguing about who proposed it first, whilst a government led by the Right is about to implement it.

  26. He’s full of crap.

    And so is the govt I think. I’ve been looking at it they say equality but Its voluntary and it’s not looking to address the term partnerships. :(

    I’m worried things are gonna get worse not better as the laws will get all muddled.

  27. What a mealy-mouthed, crow-feet faced hypocrite. Fall on your sword, Ben, and get back to the Fabian network where you belong.

  28. As I’ve said before (on a previous article,) let’s remind ourselves firstly the definition of marriage.

    Marriage is a specific union to join together:
    1) two participants
    2) human beings
    3) adults
    4) of opposite sexes

    (Hence the only relationship model/permutation out of which procreation without medical assistance has been observed.)

    If we open marriage up to same-sex couples (or ‘gender-neutralise’ it), we are removing/eroding away the 4th clause (hence the need for participants in a marriage to be of opposite sexes.) We are denouncing the 4th clause as outdated and discriminatory ‘bigotry’ and hence unnecessary for a marital union. We are however retaining the other 3 clauses, as arbitrarily they are required necessary by societal views and attitudes.

    Surely, as societal attitudes evolve in future, the 1st clause (the requirement for there to be 2 participants in a marriage) will also be removed on the basis that it will then also be considered outdated and discriminatory ‘bigotry.’ Simply put marriage will be ‘number-neutralised’ and any number/permutation of individuals will be permitted to marry.

    To those who support monogamous same-sex marriage yet oppose polyamorous marriage (whether same-sex or mixed sex), why?
    There is no rational or consistent reason to support one, yet oppose the other.

    Additionally, considering the proposal to legalise monogamous same-sex marriage removes the procreative nature of marital law, to also comply with consistency, marriage should be permitted between siblings other mother and daughter?

    Perhaps clause (2) will also be eroded in coming generations, if science progresses and animal consent becomes detectable.

    Finally, let me refute this ridiculous claim by those such as Peter Tatchell that denying same-sex couples marriage is comparable to denying black people/Jewish people to marry.

    It is simply not true that gay people are not allowed to marry. A gay man can marry a woman, however he simply chooses not to.

    Two straight man cannot get married to each other; however this does not make marital law ‘heterophobic!’

  29. Marriage isn’t simply a legal contract with a defined set of rules…marriage is a little bit more complex than that..marriage equality for gay people is simply being allowed the same options as straight people…no-one is asking for what you’re suggesting, no-one is asking for straight people to redefine what they regard themselves as…marriage equality has a precedent is many other countries , the same arguments you put forward are old ones and have in all these countries proved to be baseless…

    The UK wouldn’t be an experiement, the first case senario in gay marriage…..what evidence do you have….we gave women the vote , it didn’t lead to giving the vote to cows and dogs

    Gay men do marry women at the moment, people marry for financial benefits only , 2 straight men could do a CP now – this is all possible but it’s not what CP and marriages are really all about – it’s just get arounds …

    My hope is that if CPs continue to be just a marriage in all by name that there is a 3rd option in the pipeline for domestic partnerships ie contracts!

  30. Tim Hopkins 18 Feb 2011, 5:16am

    Ollie94 – what a silly comment you’ve made. I suppose you’d support the banning of synagogues. According to you, that’s not anti-Jewish because Jewish people can pray in a church – they just choose not to. What a load of nonsense!

  31. Ben Summerskill has been too long in that job. He’s part of the ‘establishment’ now. He tries to ride with the horse and the hounds, rather than remembering what the role of Stonewall actually is. Time for some fresh blood at the top of what was once a great campaigning institution.

  32. de Villiers 18 Feb 2011, 12:06pm

    The definition in marriage is not as Ollie states. Holy matrimony under the common law was the estate into which a man and a woman entered when they consented and contracted to cohabit with each other and each other only: Book of Common Prayer, Form of Solemnization of Matrimony; Harrod v Harrod (1854) 1 K & J 4. The only kind of marriage which English law recognises and has ever recognised is one which is essentially the voluntary union for life of one man with one woman to the exclusion of all others: Nachimson v Nachimson [1930] P 217, CA; Hyde v Hyde and Woodmansee (1866) LR 1 P & D 130; Re Bethell, Bethell v Hildyard (1888) 38 ChD 220; Sowa v Sowa [1961] P 70, [1961] 1 All ER 687, CA.

    Further, according to the doctrine of the Church of England, from which the law on marriage in England and Wales derived, marriage is and was in its nature a union permanent and life-long, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side, for the procreation and nurture of children, for the hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affections, and for the mutual society, help and comfort which the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity: Revised Canons Ecclesiastical, Canon B30 para 1.

    The objectives stated immediately above were and are severable. Save for the words “man” and “woman” being used other than “boy” and “girl” there were no requirement for the persons to be “adults”. Insofar as the words “man” and “woman” were used, the requirement that they be human would be sine qua non and otiose. There was also the requirement, not identified by Ollie, that the marriage be voluntary although this may have been observed more in the breach.

    Insofar as Ollie then states that the rules on marriage could be expanded to allow more than one couple to marry, that is, of course, correct and, if I may so, hardly a revelation. It is for the state to determine the laws and eligibility for marriage according to law. Religion may determine their own rules for marriage according to its canon.

    The suggestion that polygamy may be permitted in marriage in the future is, however, irrelevant at this time. It is considered that human flourishing is best served by marriage consisting of two persons. If, however, this were considered to be otherwise at some point in the future then no doubt the law would be revisited. However, insofar as it is considered that marriage between two persons is a cultural advance upon marriage between many persons, this seems so unlikely as to be fanciful and almost embarrassing grounds on which to make an argument.

  33. Shouldn’t that headline be: Stonewall is ‘painfully slow’ on gay marriage says the LGBT community

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.