Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Stonewall Now On The Road To Equality. I Hope.

I desperately want to be nice to Stonewall. They've got rid of Bill Leckie from their award nominations and have now climbed down on their marriage equality position. These are good things.

But I can't help thinking Stonewall hasn't learnt it's lessons. First it continues to crow about it's film "Fit", despite it containing some transphobic elements. And it's new support for marriage equality seems half-hearted. Did they write their press release in a rush?

Stonewall is pleased to be widening its campaigning objectives to include extending the legal form of marriage to gay people. Our policy position on this is as below:

‘We seek to secure marriage for gay people as a civil vehicle on the same basis as heterosexual marriage, available in a registry office but without a mandate on religious organisations to celebrate it. We seek to retain civil partnerships for lesbian and gay people recognising their special and unique status.’

The review of Stonewall’s position followed its biennial supporter survey in October 2010. Stonewall supporter surveys are carried out at the beginning of the charity’s financial year and are part of Stonewall’s commitment to charity best practice.

Last February, Stonewall secured a permissive amendment to the Equality Act 2010 to allow the celebration of civil partnerships in religious premises. We look forward to the government implementing this important next step.
A "civil vehicle"? Civil partnerships have a "special and unique status"? 1) So they don't support religious marriage but do support religious civil partnerships? 2) They don't support civil partnership equality and instead want to stop those dastardly heterosexuals have the same rights as LGBT people?

No apology for their slow uptake on equality either?

I think this is a start. But I don't think it even begins to go far enough. I don't think Stonewall have learnt anything and are instead trying desperately to dig themselves out of a very large public relations hole and trying to appease it's less observant supporters and make them think Stonewall's now "down with the kids".

Personally, I think Stonewall is beyond saving but I live in hope that I am wrong.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist


Paul Brownsey said...

"1) So they don't support religious marriage but do support religious civil partnerships? "

As I read the statement, the point is simply that religious organizations shouldn't be legally *compelled* to stage gay weddings; I think that is what is meant by "without a mandate..." That is not inconsistent with religious organizations being legally *allowed* to stage gay weddings if they want to, and that, I think, is Stonewall's not-very-well expressed position. I'm inclined to agree with it. If it's wrong, what's wrong with it? After all, I don't think religious organizations are legally required to offer straight weddings - are they? - though most do.


Jae said...

I agree it could be a poorly constructed statement that I'm misreading but most seem to have read it in the same way as I have.

My position is we should support the rights of religious organisations to carry out same sex marriage if they so wish. Of course, as you rightly state, supporting that right in no way compels religious organisations to hold weddings that don't fit within their beliefs (such as divorcee 2nd marriages in Catholic churches).

I hope they meant to state in the way you read it!