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Peter Tatchell: Stonewall ‘selfish and self-centred’ for not supporting straight civil partnerships

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  1. Robert in S. Kensington 30 Oct 2013, 4:41pm

    And it was StonewallUK that didn’t exactly lead in the debate for equal marriage when the consultation began, coming very late to support it. None of us forget just how it was strongly opposed to it before Cameron announced it shortly before the 2010 election.

    1. Stonewall was wrong to come round so late in supporting same sex marriage, however it is an organisation whose focussed aim is supposedly to further gay rights, fighting for rights for heterosexuals is outside of Stonewall’s remit.

  2. Since Stonewall wasn’t initially in favour of equality for the group it’s supposed to represent, is anyone surprised that it wasn’t interested in equality for heterosexual people? For all of their crowing of success in the fight for marriage equality, let’s not forget that Stonewall didn’t support marriage equality for gay people until momentum had already gathered. Given that Stonewall is self appointed protector of rights for gay people, this handed plenty of ammo to the “even gay people don’t want it” opponents of marriage equality. Their conduct over the issue of marriage equality has seriously undermined their credibility.

    1. It’s worse than that – Stonewall was actively campaigning AGAINST same sex marriage until it was revealed that it was doing so and faced a furious backlash.

      The only reason they supported same sex marriage was because they were losing money from donors because of Ben Summerskill’s disgraceful behaviour at the Lib Dem party conference.

      1. I knew Summerskill had effectively campaigned against it by saying it would cost the economy billions – quite revealing that he can put a £ price on equality. Hadn’t realised its Stonewall’s policy. It’s a shame that the good work they are doing in schools is undermined by his continued presence.

  3. Well, given Stonewall didn’t support same sex marriage until major sponsors started mumbling, it’s not a surprise.

    I feel for Peter – he’s messed with the wrong lot this time. Unfortunately Stonewall have established themselves as an LGBT oracle, and no doubt have the power to cause his funding to be removed.

    1. Indeed Peter has been campaigning for marriage equality for over 21 years – few can claimed such dedication and he does not receive any funding – he relies entirely on private donations

    2. Peter has been campaigning for marriage equality for over 21 years and he does not receive any funding- relies entirely on private donations

  4. I think Stonewall have moved mountains over the years. They do a fantastic job. Peter Tatchell is an attention seeking malcontent.

    1. They were a very effective 20th century campaigning group.

      Sadly since 2005 they have been unaccountable and increasingly irrelevant.

    2. They do a fantastic job of not supporting trans* people, maybe.

  5. They can’t help, were is the H in LGB so is unable to move with this.

  6. Why don’t we just abolish civil partnerships now that we have SSM? They’re just marriage-lite anyway, and I think the argument could be made that civil unions actually devalue marriage. Scrap them.

    1. I think there is also a problem with people being unaware of the practical shortcomings of civil partnerships. Even Western countries that recognise same-sex couples themselves have at times failed to recognise British same-sex civil partnerships – just about every country will recognise a British opposite-sex marriage, but how many will give any recognition to opposite-sex civil partnerships?

    2. Harry Underwood 30 Oct 2013, 5:42pm

      Because, as shown in France with PACS since 1999, opposite-sex couples are more likely to apply for civil unions because of the numerous expenses and red tape attached to civil marriage; 94% of PACS in France are between opposite-sex couples. The argument can be made that marriage’s value is increased by civil unions while, at the same time, marriage’s viability is visibly reduced: marriages are intended to be “til death do you part”, while more people are likely to say “F that” and keep the option for an easier divorce/separation through civil unions if things don’t work out.

      This is why I think civil unions and civil marriages should both be kept. They’re for different levels of engagement, and most opposite-sex couples even here in the United States would be, I’m pretty sure, more likely to apply for civil unions. I don’t buy the libertarian “argument” for marriage privatization, I want for families to legally choose their level of commitment. It’s about choice under law.

      1. So just “shack up”, you don’t want to get married, then don’t. But you certainly don’t need official recognition of “not wanting to commit to a relationship”.

        Civil partnerships definitely SHOULD be done away with.

        When slavery was abolished, you didn’t see white people complaining that they wanted to partake of slavery too, and that it was unfair that they couldn’t have it.

        My god, talk about a non-argument.

  7. Bit ironic Tatchell accusing someone else of being “selfish and self-centred”.
    Presume he sent you a press release about this, yes?

  8. Mihangel apYrs 30 Oct 2013, 5:34pm

    to so what Tatchell proposes would be to confuse the issue and make it more likely to lose marriage equality (as Tebbit and others tried when talking about those two elderly spinster sisters). We get marriage equality then look at civil partnerships and their utility.

    And why stop there? Why not give all the rights of marriage to any 2 people who shack up for a couple of weeks? But then split without any backward glance? (I’m being facetious)

    I know Tatchell has a pan-equality outlook, but we really have to focus on LGBTTxyz because not many other bodies do.

  9. Is he surprised – remember Stonewall only supported same sex marriage after its leader Ben Summerskill was exposed campaigning against same sex marriage at the LibDem party conference.

    Stonewall does not represent the gay community. No-one knows what it stands for or who it represents.

  10. Wayne howard Williams 30 Oct 2013, 6:20pm

    If the LGBT community gets what that by being given same sex marriage, may be we should be polite and give the straight couples equal rights in having civil partnerships

  11. Now that gay marriage is around the corner there is no need for civil partnership, so why exactly is Peter Tatchell supporting any type of CP? This is playing right into the hands of gay-hating enemies of gay marriage. I think that Peter Tatchell has done a great deal for the gay community, but sadly on this issue he is just plain wrong.

  12. Sorry Peter, but I don’t think it’s worth wasting time, effort and resources on this theoretical, academic non-issue. CPs were an inferior, second-class offering, and I doubt very much that many people (gay or straight) will want them when Equal Marriage finally becomes a reality. Just how many straights are clamouring for CPs?

    Even if a few straights want to have CPs, why should Stonewall be expected to campaign on their behalf? Why can’t they speak out for themselves?

    Stonewall didn’t do a very good job on Equal Marriage, and diluting its efforts into distractions like Straight CPs wouldn’t make sense. It’s far more important to make sure that Equal Marriage will really be equal, notably in pensions !

    Governments can multi-task quite happily, but campaigning groups have far fewer resources and media opportunities, so it’s important to not to squander them on distractions like this. Pension reform, homophobia in schools, persecution in Russia, Africa etc should be the focus.

  13. IF Stonewall’s position is that Civil Partnerships should continue for gay couples, then in all consistency they should be available to straight couples too.

    - After all if A = B then necessarily B = A. Gay people cannot logically be equal unless straight people are too.

    IF on the other hand they have no particular view on whether Civil Partnerships should now continue, then the issue of whether they support them for straight couples is moot.

    My own position is that, with equal marriage, Civil Partnerships are essentially obsolete. However I accept that many disagree, in which case IF they are kept for gay couples then there is no equitable reason to deny them to straights.

  14. He said it himself – the gay rights charity. It’s not Stonewall’s place to comment on civil partnerships for straight people. It’s for straight people to demand and fight for if they want it so badly. Perhaps they should set up a charity to fight for the rights of those hard done-by straight minorities who are so cruelly denied the right to the silver medal of relationship status. In any case personally I would prefer civil partnerships phased out as I find them a mere reminder of a time when we were thrown crumbs because we weren’t allowed the same as everyone else. It’s like saying we’ll keep the colored fountain but you can drink from the white ones now too.

  15. Marriage would not have been achieved without the work of Peter Tatchell and the support of a few straight allies who wanted the right to civil partnership. We owe it to these allies to continue to support their cause. Let’s face it, marriage didn’t come about as a result of Stonewall’s efforts.

  16. That was a message from not at all self-centred or egotistical Peter Tatchell, chair of the Peter Tatchell Foundation – named so in honour of the courageous work of Peter Tatchell (he’s been doing it for 40 years, you know).

    “Together we make change.” – Peter Tatchell quoting Peter Tatchell

  17. Paul Brownsey 31 Oct 2013, 10:51am

    A lot–I don’t say “all”–of the agitation to extend civil partnerships to straight couples arises from confusion and silliness.

    A major factor here is that too many people think of marriage as essentially religious. I was astonished that even an activist for the Equality Network said, “I’m not personally interested in equal marriage–my partner and I aren’t religious.” Such people seem to think that even civil marriage–from which religious elements are strictly excluded, my niece being refused to use the Hallelujah Chorus to exit to–are still in some way religious, as though conducted on a sort of franchise agreement with the churches.
    That is just nonsense.

    There are people who oppose marriage because of historical associations with women being owned and handed on from one man to another. But modern civil marriage isn’t like that. To refuse to marry because of what marriage *once * involved is like refusing to go to Oxford U because long ago it excluded women.

    1. Equality Network 31 Oct 2013, 6:38pm

      Hi Paul, regardless of what one person may have said, the Equality Network understands very well the differences between religious marriage, civil marriage and civil partnership! Our survey work indicates that one in four LGBT people in Scotland would prefer a same-sex civil partnership to a same-sex civil marriage if both were available (interestingly, the same ratio of same-sex couples who choose each in the Netherlands, where both have been available for 12 years). We want to respect that choice, and to see the same plural choices available to all. Our policy on this is very well-established through years of community consultation, and it is that marriage and CP should be opened up to couples regardless of gender.

      We also know that some mixed-sex couples would prefer a CP to a civil marriage, but we haven’t done the survey work yet to find out the fraction (in the Netherlands it’s around 1/10).

      With reference to some other people’s comments, the Equality Network is an LGBT equality campaign organisation, and so the options available to legally mixed-sex couples certainly fall within our remit.

      1. Paul Brownsey 6 Nov 2013, 12:27pm

        I know very well what EN’s official line is. I cited the activist (whose remark came at a meeting in Glasgow last December; he wasn’t one of the main speakers/facilitators, but spoke as though he had done activist work on behalf of EN) just as an indication of how far the silly idea that marriage is essentially a religious ceremony spreads. It would be interesting if your research could show how many of those who preferred a CP to marriage thought that marriage was essentially religious. In my experience, a great many people get lost amid the complexities of religious marriage and civil marriage, civil partnership and civil partnership+religious blessing. Not so long ago I had to correct someone on a message board who thought civil partnership was the same as civil marriage, so couldn’t understand what the present imminent legislation was about. Respecting all preferences here is underwriting confusion and/or silliness.

  18. Edgar Carpenter 31 Oct 2013, 12:27pm

    Stonewall says: “Stonewall’s charitable objectives are promoting equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people”.

    Equality is when all people are treated equally, isn’t it? We are not equal with non-Gay people if we can enter into civil partnerships but they can’t. How can we tolerate being in the same preferential position in law for which we used to criticise non-gay people? If we get equal marriage, they should get equal civil partnerships – then everyone benefits equally from being able to define their relationship as they choose.

    This IS an issue of LGBT equality, and sniping at Mr. Tatchell does not change the fact that he’s right about it.

  19. Really depressing that Tatchell, Stonewall etc. along with the commenters here are all claiming that “gay marriage” is an LGB / LGBT issue, and “straight civil partnerships” are a heterosexual issue.

    Mixed-sex civil partnerships are particularly appealing to mixed-sex couples who have problems with the institution of marriage, much like a lot of the radical lesbian objections to same-sex marriage. A lot of the people who fit into that category are bisexual. Two bisexuals in a mixed-sex relationship are not “straight” and neither is their relationship. As an organisation which supposedly represents bisexuals, Stonewall should not claim this isn’t part of their remit – of course, it’s well known that Stonewall’s engagement with bisexual people rarely extends beyond asking them for money.

    This is just the typical lesbian & gay juggernaut rolling over the other parts of the LGBT+ community without even noticing. Stonewall and Tatchell are both wrong (but Tatchell is slightly less wrong).

  20. Stonewall claims to support LGB people, but that includes bisexuals. I have heard of bisexual people in mixed-sex relationships who want to be legally joined, but not in marriage, so they want a civil partnership. Legally, they can’t do this because civil partnerships are only allowed for same-sex couples. In failing to support mixed-sex civil partnerships, Stonewall is not supporting bisexual people! So I think Tatchell’s description of Stonewall as “selfish and self-centred” is totally appropriate.

  21. thought Stonewall was only for the LGBT community

    1. It is, Stonewall must focus it’s resources on furthering rights and equality for LGB people and quite right too.
      If same sex civil partnerships are to be maintained then I agree that opposite sex couples should have the option of civil partnerships also but it is not a legitimate battle/distraction for Stonewall to become engage with.

  22. Lmao Stonewall, all they care about is LGB peeps. They leave Transgender people by the wayside. I’ve found more bigotry towards Transsexual women from LGB peeps than I have from cis gender, heterosexual peeps. Stonewall and the LGB community have a lot to answer for.

    1. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Cis white gay dudes were hardly even part of the actual Stonewall riots, it was mostly transwomen of colour who were present. This organisation doesn’t deserve the name.

  23. roderious 5 Nov 2013, 8:25pm

    Pinknews has long been a biased pro tory website, and most Tories have always been opposed to Civil Partnerships ever since they would be created by Labour.

    So it really is no surprise to see that so many commentators here want to see CP’s abolished. It is none the less depressing.

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