Thursday 19 August 2010

A Solid Stonewall of Silence Over Equal Marriage #Stonewallfail

Next month's Lib Dem conference and Delga's motion on Equal Marriage* has got most LGBT organisations talking about this issue. Indeed we know they are because PinkNews asked the leading ones to respond in 400 words.

They got responses from LGBT Labour, LGBTory, Delga, OutRage!, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, the Lesbian and Gay Foundation and from Scotland the Equality Network and the LGBT Network. There is one noticeable exception that is living up to its name once again in the wrong way STONEWALL.

A Stonewall may to must people's mind be an immovable object, a barrier or a definition of boundaries. However, the context in which Stonewall came by its name is the exact opposite. The Stonewall riots were a time for the LGBT community to stand up against the call for them to conform to what 'society' at the time deemed they should be. Denying themselves, denying that gay people had equal rights, even denying that they were normal.

The silence from Stonewall is stifling.

To be fair the other two political groups seem to be somewhat confused about equal marriage. LGBTory supports the call for Civil Partnership to be carried out in a Religious setting, however a Civil Partnership like a Civil Wedding is not allowed to contain any religious content. Of course a subsequent meeting may be arrange accommodate David Cameron's fear of letting some religious groups desire to carry out same-sex marriage appear equal with what is currently available.

LGBT Labour only talk about civil marriage to be carried out for same-sex couple and totally avoids the issue of religion. Apart from that their stance is similar to the Lib Dems in that civil partnership should be available to mixed-sex couples and marriage available to all (just they don't seem to include all marriage in that only the civil version).

Now I know you shouldn't mix politics and religion, I am from Northern Ireland after all, but in this case politics has to undo a wrong by allowing an enabling. The religious communities who wish to carry out same-sex marriage are barred from doing so by existent legislation. It is time to undo the shackles for those that want to, but not to force those that don't to also comply.

* I'm looking forward to the Federal Party discussing and I trust passing something that I was an interested observer and adviser in helping Liberal Youth Scotland to get the Scottish party to pass their motion.


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  2. I received the following generic reply from Stonewall when I contacted them about marriage equality:

    "Stonewall are not campaigning against same-sex marriage and never have. Our focus in terms of legal recognition of same-sex relationships is on the practical rights and benefits available to couples. Marriage would give no extra legal rights than those currently available.

    Having secured an amendment to the Equality Act we want the Government to implement the legal changes necessary to allow those religious groups who want to conduct ceremonies on their premises to be able to do so. David Cameron stated his support for this recently."

    I find their stance defensive and bizarre, and have told them so in a follow-up email.

  3. Cheers for that Andy, would you mind if I used that in a follow up post?