2009 Stonewall ‘stonewalls’ marriage equality

In 2009, Stonewall under the leadership of Ben Summerskill, came under criticism for its continued lack of support for equal marriage.

Stonewall was first notably criticised in 2009, when Ben Summerskill was questioned whether he or not supported same-sex marriage. He said: “Well, someone people do and they’re perfectly entitled to express their views.

“We are one of many, many organisations but at the end of the day, in terms of our priorities, what we’ve always focused on, is absolutely practical hard outcomes which make a real difference to people’s lives…The reality is half the population already call Civil Partnerships marriage anyway.”

Mr Summerskill’s comments were criticised by two of Stonewall’s co-founders: Michael Cashman MEP, wrote an op-ed for PinkNews entitled “What part of ‘equality’ can’t Stonewall understand?”, and Sir Ian McKellen stated that Stonewall should put marriage equality on their agenda.

Mr Summerskill defended his comments at the Labour Party conference a week later after LGBT Labour activists criticised Stonewall’s lack of transparency and democracy, and failure to lobby for marriage.

He stated that “Stonewall has never pretended to be a democratic member organisation. We have never said we speak for all lesbian, gay and bisexual people.”

In the face of pressure from the LGBT community, including the PinkNews survey finding that 98% of the LGBT community wanted the right to marry, Stonewall finally announced in October 2010 their support for same-sex marriage.

2011 New support, new opposition, and the ‘Equal Love’ campaign →