It's well known that some people within Stonewall (such as well-known actor Ian McKellen) are not happy with same-sex partnership rights, and are for full opening up of marriage to same-sex couples.
Look at Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Norway - most of them had same-sex partnership laws first, before actually cancelling them in favour of opening up regular marriage to same-sex couples. There is a possibility that they did it in order to preserve social/civic consensus, in the end that step ended up being revolutionary, as Lutherans (Swedish state church) agreed to follow suit and open up religious marriage ceremony to same-sex couples.
But considering that apart from the Netherlands and Canada, staunchly Catholic countries such as Belgium and Spain, and now even Portugal, which never stood at the vanguard of lesbian and gay equality in Europe, had opened marriage to same-sex couples, it looks as if multi-speed Europe has somehow emerged. In case of Belgium and Portugal, they are smaller countries eclipsed by powerful neighbours, which they now have culturally copied as if saying - look, we are modern and can do it as well.
Which way now for the UK - are we going to be happy with "separate but equal" doctrine for much longer, or are we going to demand full equality (99.5% equality not being full equality) without any caveats? A hundred-odd years ago, it was women who fought for full franchise (no taxation without representation) -- now it's our turn to learn some lessons from them and not settle for anything less but full, complete equality.
See Gnosis Arts Multimedia Press Release
GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) is informing and briefing the one; but all stated judgments would surely apply to the other as well.
High profile Chicago attorney - and politician, human rights advocate, and playwright - Jay Paul Deratany is advising the Mangus case on a pro bono basis.
Both cases involve gay teen males who had to leave upstate New York public school districts (respectively, Mohawk and North Tonawanda) because of bullying and death threats.
In the North Tonawanda case, parent Rhonda Mangus was placed in the state's data base of offenders for having removed the teen from the school in which is life was threatened in 2005.
Gnosis Arts Multimedia press release
DERATANY'S TOUR DE FORCE: HARAM IRAN
Haram Iran made its debut in the Chicago theater district in 2008, and in March 2010 makes its west coast premier at the Celebration theater in Los Angeles.
Based on the true story of two Iranian youth executed by hanging for the 'crime 'of male homosexuality in 2005 Tehran, the play speaks poignantly to the issues of a shifting global community, in which postmodern values and essential humanism collide with residual morality from antiquity.
The play speaks to multiple layers of social and cultural conflict on an international scale, and in addition to the sinister bigotry still prevalent regarding male homosexuality, it addresses the light which must never be allowed to go out as it shines into the darkness of the universal human psyche.
One would hope that the play will make its way to Provincetown, that bastillion of gay male honor, and to New York, because Deratany has written a play for everyman everywhere.
A significant % of ticket proceeds will go to Amnesty International.
Watch a preview of Haram Iran on YouTube:
Rhonda Mangus removed her son Michael - then 13 - from the school after he had become the target of bullying and a death threat, due to his gay identity. She later become embroiled in difficulties with the Niagara County Department of Social Services and the New York State Office of Family and Child Services.
Mangus took her argument to the Supreme Court this winter, but failed to have the charge of "educational neglect " against her remanded.
Deratany has offered to advise her about filing a postponement with the Appellate court, and to generally be there to answer questions, on a pro bono basis.
Because Deratany is also a Chicago politician and plawright (see story about his play here), Mangus believes he is a rare multi-talented individual, and views him as a sort of 'avenging angel' in her battle.
Deratany is also representing the Duckett family in the pending lawsuit against CNN's Nancy Grace.
Nick Clegg has stated his strong support for full same-sex marriage, for ending the blood ban, for providing asylum for LGBT people fleeing persecution, for ensuring good education about LGBT people in all schools, and even reviewing Uganda’s membership of the Commonwealth.
In short – its the entire progressive gay agenda in Britain today. All these policies we have activley campaigned on, and as one of the most progressive LGBT organisation in Britain, we endorse these policies as good news.
However, they must be backed up with action. They should be up on the Lib Dem website, they should appear in the manifesto, and action should begin immediately to try and enact these policies. Telling gay people what they want to hear is easy.
The Lib Dems should offer an amendment in the Lords to the
current Equality Bill to legalise same-sex marriage, to push the
debate further. Lord Alli has already offered an amendment for a
sideways step to legalise religious civil partnerships, something
that Stonewall has strongly backed.
Even if the amendment fails, we at least deserve the right to hear why we are not allowed to get married. Something that the Government has never really explained, and for too long we have been happy not to hear it.
As Nick Clegg has just reminded us, a Civil Partnership is not a marriage, whether it's in a church or not. We must come to terms with the fact that we don't have it all yet. We are denied one of the most fundamental rights of free people; that of choosing who we wish to marry.
Our campaign for marriage equality in Scotland has said this repeatedly. We deserve nothing less than equality, real, meaningful equality. Not a half measure or a compromise. The Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament must prove that they back this progressive agenda too, and work with us and the other pro marriage groups on getting legislation passed in Scotland as soon as possible.
Nick Clegg has told us what we want to hear, so now let's see the beef.
Nick Henderson is director of the LGBT Network, a charity that campaigns for same-sex marriage in Scotland.
If PR guru Max Clifford is to be believed then it is highly unlikely that one of these players would brave leaving the sanctuary of the closet, at least during their active playing career. Indeed, many people involved in the game at the highest level agree, citing the pitfalls of fan hostility, fear of homophobia among other players and staff, and the subsequent negative impact on career aspirations and ambitions that being out might incur.
Yet, as David Beckham has proven there could be a big commercial advantage in coming out whilst still playing professionally. Although of course David isn't gay, he has actively and successfully exploited his gay appeal to his own financial advantage. Regardless of the player's attributes on the pitch, the subsequent increase in public profile arising by coming out could only bring increased fame and fortune; recent history indicates that a raised public profile rarely leads to loss of potential earnings. The first openly gay footballer would achieve an iconic status within the gay community, and would inevitably attract a greater premium from sponsors eager to market themselves as gay friendly.
Furthermore, the backing for an openly gay footballer would be overwhelming. Imagine for a moment how politicians, broadcasters, celebrities and journalists would be clambering over themselves to endorse and publicly state their support for the first player to come out. Prime ministers, members of parliament, actors, musicians and indeed any and all of those whose careers reside to some extent in the public eye, would be queuing up for the photo op!
But would the first openly gay footballer have to pay the price in regard to his playing career? No chance. In the open is where a gay player would receive the greatest level of protection. It is clear that neither the FA or FIFA would stand idly by if an openly gay player was subject to homophobic taunts from fans, just in the same way that racism from the stands is not tolerated; clubs would be subject to severe penalties in regard to homophobia, as they are with racism. Hence, a closeted player puts himself at a greater disadvantage in dealing with homophobia in the work place. For example, if it is known among staff that a player is gay, which given the article by David James is reasonable to assume, then it follows that the player cannot feasibly make a complaint with regard to any discrimination that he may receive. To make a complaint would be to expose his sexuality, in that such an action would be highly likely to attract media attention; the player would be considered fair game for outing by the press. Thus by being publicly open about his sexuality, a player would be greatly empowered rather than hindered in his career. There is no advantage in residing in the prison of the closet.
I guess time will tell whether or not a gay or bisexual footballer will have the courage to be open about their sexuality. However, the excuses for remaining in the closet are not as valid as many followers of football believe. This is a truth that has yet to permeate into the thinking of sport, in the same way it has in other high profile industries, and until a gay or bisexual player has the courage to make the first brave steps, it is a mode of thinking that will persist.
Last week Pink News had an exclusive that Stonewall had decided to fight for religious civil partnerships. On its face it sounds like good news, right? That’s a significant difference between marriage and civil partnership, and with many faith groups fully inclusive of LGBT people, it seems there is no reason to disallow a ceremony in a church or synagogue that is willing to conduct it.
But take a look at the comments left on this story, or almost any other story predominantly featuring Stonewall, and what is immediately obvious is the depth of anger, the feelings of so much disappointment with Stonewall, with their policies and their actions. I don’t think that the critics are only from a disgruntled minority, I think there is widespread and growing disillusion with Stonewall, a feeling that they are getting it wrong too many times, that they no longer speak for the everyday LGBT person.
On the issue of marriage, Stonewall are certainly getting it wrong. One comment from last weeks’ story sums it up for me;
What is it that Stonewall doesn't get about this?
Many of us aren't interested in civil partnerships – WE WANT FULL EQUAL ACCESS TO MARRIAGE.
That's what Stonewall should be campaigning on, not entrenching this second-class status we have now. Get a grip, Stonewall.
Comment by David — November 19, 2009 @ 2:25
What campaigning for religious civil partnerships does is undermine one of the strongest arguments for overturning the ban on same sex marriage. Article 9, Section 1 of the Human Rights Act guarantees the freedom of thought, conscience and religion; and for individuals to manifest that religion or belief in worship, practice, teaching and observance.
Marriage is fundamental to many faiths, including faiths that are inclusive of LGBT people and same sex couples. The law as it stands separates a congregation by sexual orientation, allowing straight members of that faith to practice their religious teaching and marry, whilst the LGBT section of the congregation can only receive a legally meaningless blessing, being forced to have a secular civil partnership.
If religious civil partnerships were introduced, it would correct that discrepancy, but then what are you left with? Two systems of recognition for couples, with marriage still legally denied to same sex couples. And for what reason? Does Ben Summerskill, OBE, believe that marriage is between one man and one woman? Does he think same sex couples don’t deserve marriage? Does he think that gays can’t handle a marriage?
A real answer would be nice. Stonewall are actively undermining the argument for full marriage equality through their actions, to know why seems the least they could do.
Marriage isn’t just important socially or personally, but still politically. The Conservatives have a policy of granting more tax breaks to married couples. Would this automatically be extended to civil partnerships? No Tory will give you a straight answer on that. And every time the rights or benefits of marriage changes, gay groups will have to spend their precious little time and resources lobbying for that change to be included for civil partners.
And each time the civil partnership act is amended to keep up with marriage, the absurdity of having two separate systems becomes clearer. The gap between commitments to equality and actions that promote equality becomes wider. The unanswered question doesn’t go away, it only gets louder, why can’t we just get married?
But I think the root of their growing dislocation from the everyday gay is not just in the civil partnership issue, but is deeper, yet at the same time the most obvious.
They have forgotten the meaning of the word Stonewall.
June 1969, the gay icon Judy Garland had just died. In the early hours of that morning, the men in drag, the trannies, the screaming fairies, butch dykes, and queens that went to the Stonewall Inn, many mourning her death, were being arrested and dragged out of the bar.
Like the spark of revolutions in other places, an extraordinary set of circumstances produced a moment in time where history turned. For every Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning person alive today, without question we owe where we are right now to those who rebelled at the Stonewall Inn.
The well built drag queen who smacked a policeman over the head with her purse, the flamers and hustlers that uprooted a parking meter and used it as a battering ram to get back into the bar and help their sisters and brothers, the queens and fairies who pushed back after they were pushed too far, they are the ones that let even the most straight acting among us live and work openly.
Yet today, there is no T in Stonewall. ‘Equality’ for Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals yes; Transgender people? All those who don’t quite fit into the L or G or B? Look somewhere else.
I have heard that this is because there are specific Transgender groups; that some Transgender activists wish to advocate for things themselves and want their own organisations.
If we know one thing as LGBT people, it’s that diversity is good. So why does this stop Stonewall doing T? How can there be too many groups advocating for Transgender equality? Why would it be a bad thing for messages of Trans inclusion and rights to come from many diverse and inclusive groups, rather than just a few?
No one can or should ever split up the LGBT community. By doing so, the very genesis of the entire gay rights movement is at a stroke forgotten. It was no straight acting conformists that initiated that rebellion in 1969. It was fags, queers, camp men and butch women that through punches and pushed back.
That’s why Stonewall are getting it wrong. Its not just marriage, civil partnerships or the Equality bill. its that they have compromised one too many times, they have conformed just a little too much, they are dividing the LGBT community just too many times.
They have forgotten the meaning of Stonewall.
[Nick Henderson is director of LGBT Network, which advocates for same sex marriage in Scotland.]
Check it out peeps. My first blog!
Well if I'm going to rant, it
might as well be to a crowd that don't actually like me in the
first place. Mind you, I think this particular case in point
might ring a nerve or strike a bell.
Less than a month ago, PN reported "Indonesian province introduces severe penalties for homosexuality" - I move that had even the staunchest homophobes maybe wondering if some people just take things a bit too far. "OK, he shags men. Stone the dirty sod." Seems a bit extreme even for the BNP.
Well, those that know me will know I am about as unspiritual a person as you are ever likely to find. However, I think there are good lessons to be learned in the Bible, and probably other religious tomes as well, but I really can't be arsed to read. Unfortunately, all these honest and decent messages get confused and mangled amongst all the other theological mumbo-jumbo and personal opinions of ficticious dieties. Shame really.
Anyway, as Ronnie Corbett would
say, "I digress..."
My point is, less than a month after these heathen morons deemed being gay worthy of being pelted with rocks until the person is reduced to a bloody pulp on the pavement, they are now asking for help: Indonesia awaits world quake aid
I'm not sure which religion expouses Karma, (I think it's Hindu), but I think they might know something us athiests don't, because next time some tin-rattling do-gooder comes up to you in the street asking for a donation towards the Indonesian earthquake, why not hand them a nice bit of granite, or maybe some Portland stone?