Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Ben Summerskill's Webb Ellis Moment

Image used with permission from

Last week Ben Summerskill warned the LGB community (Stonewall doesn't do T) to beware of politicians playing political football with the issue of equal marriage.

Over the last week the tweets and comments have been coming thicker and faster from all political parties and those with none. There is uproar from a broad section of the LGBT community that hasn't been since 1969 and the original Stonewall riots. I think we have noticed that Ben Summerskill is like a poor confused pupil standing on the playing fields of Rugby unsure of what to make of William Webb Ellis's innovation. For those of you who don't know Webb Ellis was the pupil credited with picking up a football on the playing fields of Rugby and creating a whole new game which bears the school's name.

To me that is the ideal analogy of what has happened to Stonewall and Ben Summerskill over the last few months/years. Other groups and even the mainstream political parties have picked up the ball of equality and are running with it in hand. They are holding unto equality tightly, not controlling its passage with taps from their feet. For them equality is not just equalising LGB rights it is about inclusiveness of SLGBTQ* (Staight, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) rights, something that while Stonewall say they stand for equality they seem unable to support.

The right of heterosexuals to have equal access to Civil Partnerships was part of the Lib Dem Policy passed last week. It was also part of the original CP legislation going through Parliament, which Stonewall say they were championing, yet now they (or is it just Ben) say they are not standing for heterosexual equality.

The policy also included Humanist celebrants in the right to marry or civil partner couples in England and Wales. Something that they had only been able to do in Scotland before. An equality of beliefs which Stonewall probably don't want to recognise or support.

The fact is that the equality that is left to fight for has to be fair to heterosexual, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people. That is the whole new ball game. It is the ironing out of the little things that were once thought separate is okay as long as we step along the right path. It's time to smooth those out, being equal need to be just that, equal opportunities for all.

If Summerskill can't see that maybe it is time for Team Stonewall to select a new captain. Or if Stonewall really cannot see them, maybe they should get out of the game. 86% of the recent PinkNews poll were in favour of equal marriage, 61% of the general public in a recent poll said the same.

It truly is time to work out how to do, not work out the issues for why 'society' can't.

* May even have to add AP
to that for Asexual or Polyamorous.


  1. It is time for S onewall to get out of the game. Somersault has lost the plot.

  2. Polyamorous marriage is, of course, still illegal.

    Sucks to be me...