Back2Stonewall.com reader Andy Godfrey sent me an email today alerting me to the fact that Stonewall UK, the largest gay equality organization in Europe has been surprising silent about full marriage equality in the United Kingdom and that many of our LGBT brothers and sisters across the Atlantic are extremely frustrated about this.
Now I know those of you who live in America might think that at least they have legally recognized civil partnerships in the UK and we have almost nothing. here. But that’s not the point. Time after time we always say “Separate is not Equal” and that’s not only true for us. But also for our LGBT brothers and sisters in the UK, Europe, and everywhere around the globe and we should stand with them and help them in anyway that we can. And who knows maybe KARMA will come back to us and they will publicly stand for us.
I find it APPALLING that EVERY UK Gay Rights Group EXCEPT for Stonewall UK has set out positions on gay marriage equality. This coming from the largest LGBT Equality Organization that has the nerve to name itself after the most defining event in LGBT Movement is not only unacceptable but also circumspect. They should be not only be supporting marriage equality but should be a leader in the marriage equality cause.
I am asking EVERYONE, NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY THAT YOU LIVE IN to take a minute and go join the “Why The Silence, Stonewall? Marriage Equality Now!” Facebook page and in doing so attaching your name and supporting an open letter to Stonewall.UK to get off their asses and actively support and push for Marriage Equality in the United Kingdom. Aside from the obvious inequality of having separate institutions for straight and LGBT people, the current situation is detrimental for married trans people undergoing gender reassignment (as they are legally obliged to divorce their partner), for foreign married same-sex couples (whose marriages are not recognised as such by the UK government) and also for opposite-sex couples who would prefer a civil partnership without the baggage of marriage.
We must all start to stand together and help each other when it comes to LGBT Equality and Rights issues. Whether it be in the next city, in the next state, or in a different country.
We are writing to ask you to end your silence and openly support full marriage equality.
A recent PinkNews survey found overwhelming support (98%) for full marriage equality. Other LGB&T organisations, including the LGB&T groups of the three main political parties, have also professed their support. However, Stonewall have declined to do so.
At present, there is segregation between the institution of marriage for opposite-sex couples and the institution of civil partnerships for same-sex couples. “Separate but equal” is not equal, and many couples who wish to have their relationship recognised as a marriage are denied this right (conversely, there are also opposite-sex couples who are denied the right to a civil partnership).
Although civil partnerships were a huge step forward and you are to be commended on your work to bring them about, they do not have the same status as marriage. They confer the same legal rights, but there are nonetheless still some significant differences. For example, transgender individuals must divorce their partner if they wish to undergo gender reassignment. Furthermore, at present revealing one’s status as a civil partner (for instance, on forms) is tantamount to revealing one’s sexuality – often in wholly irrelevant contexts. Finally, civil partnerships are not recognised internationally in the same way as marriages – and it is demeaning that the UK does not recognise the marriages of foreign same-sex couples.
At present, your website contains no mention of your position on marriage equality and you have repeatedly declined to respond to questions on the subject (including an invitation from PinkNews to clarify your stance). If Britain’s largest and most influential LGB rights organisation refuses even to support the principle of marriage equality, calls for marriage equality from the LGB&T community (and its allies) will be undermined.
You have a duty to the people you represent and we urge you to make your voice heard on marriage equality.