Comment: Stonewall should distance itself from Ben Summerskill’s Lib Dem equal marriage comments

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Lib Dem councillor Mathew Hulbert reacts to comments by former Stonewall boss Ben Summerskill, to defend his party’s support for same-sex marriage, and urge Stonewall to distance itself from the comments.

For Ben Summerskill to suggest that the Liberal Democrats somehow only supported Equal Marriage out of cynical opportunism is deeply offensive to me and to my colleagues.

I believe in Equal Marriage with all my heart, as do my friends in LGBT+Lib Dems and, indeed, in the Party as a whole.

I’d go so far as to say that although it’s true Prime Minister David Cameron and many Conservatives supported it, had they been governing alone it’s very unlikely the Party’s right-wing would have allowed them to introduce same-sex marriage legislation.

We now have it on the statute books and will be seeing the first equal marriages later this month thanks, in no small part, to the Liberal Democrats and to our Ministers, including Lynn Featherstone.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to also be amazed by Mr Summerskill’s brass-necked hypocrisy, given how late to the (Equal Marriage) Party Stonewall was.

They only gave it their official backing very late in the day, so how he dare attack my Party that’s had a long-held belief in Equal Marriage when he led an organisation which, some claim, for a period, actively discouraged it becoming a reality is beyond me.

Maybe Mr Summerskill is embarrassed by this record and is trying to deflect away criticism from himself.

Let us not forget, as well, that Stonewall continues to only represent the LGB parts of our community, seemingly unmoved by the issues concerning transgender people. This includes ‘equal’ marriage not being open to them.

For a number of years now I’ve regularly donated money to Stonewall, having supported its anti homophobic bullying work and so on.

But unless they issue a statement wholly disassociating themselves with the comments of their former Chief Executive I shall be stopping my donations.

Whether in Opposition or in Government, the Liberal Democrats have always been there for the LGBT+ community… and we always will be.

Mathew Hulbert is a Liberal Democrat Borough and Parish Councillor in Leicestershire and a LGBT Rights Campaigner.

As with all comment, this does not necessarily reflect the views of PinkNews.