Stonewall Chief Ben Summerskill: We Don’t Support Gay Marriage Because It’s Too Expensive

Ben Summerskill, the head of gay activist group Stonewall in Britain, is about to make HRC’s Joe Solmonese look competent: He’s defending his organization’s refusal to support marriage equality by explaining how expensive the whole thing will be. Speaking at a meeting of the Liberal Democrats’s queer caucus, which favor marriage equality, Summerskill reportedly told his audience the effort was “too expensive” (five billion pounds over ten years) and would give heterosexuals access to precious civil partnerships. Which apparently are something magical worth protecting from evil breeder trolls?

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #activists #bensummerskill #britain stories and more


  • Cam

    Expensive for whom? That is like saying “Gee, it costs more if we have to print up all the extra ballots to allow women and minorities to vote so we should save money and not give them their rights.”

  • Bobby in Seattle

    Utter Bullsh*t.

    As a gay male in a 9 year relationship, my partner and I have subsidized heterosexual breeders through our taxes, school levies, health care costs, etc.

    I’m tired of subsidizing their right to privileges we are not afforded. It’s time for the guy in my office with a wife and three kids on his health insurance plan to pony up some of those privileges so I can add my partner without my being penalized as a taxable benefit for doing so.

  • ROB

    @ Bobby

    Fair enough, but you live in Seattle. In the UK, civiil partnerships offer *exactly* the same rights and benefits of straight marriage…

  • Kev C

    He’s just saying the real reason why it’s been so difficult to pass. Because business interests (ie, big insurance) are against it. So they put up a smoke screen of moral issues and bullshit to get the public riled up.

  • Mike

    If British CP’s offer ‘exactly’ the same rights as civil marriage then clearly this Summerskill guy is lying if he’s claiming that allowing gay people to get married will cost 5 billion. How? Where does he get his information from? What is his job? Does he work for the Treasury department of the British government or for an alleged LGB Group (Stonewall UK refuse to represent T people).

    In any case British CP’s are not recognised in all countries the way British marriages are so to say they are exactly like marriage is incorrect.

    The UK should move towards the Dutch model where CP’s and marriage are allowed to gay and straight couples. Summerskill is a homophobic disgrace. His attitude makes my skin crawl.


    Guess the queens across the pond really have no clue what “Stonewall” actually means and represents……..


  • Mike

    “He’s just saying the real reason why it’s been so difficult to pass.”

    Actually it would be remarkably easy for the UK to introduce full equality. The revolting Stonewall UK is actively undermining equality through their scummy antics. The Labour Party in Britain are on the verge of declaring itself in favour of equality. The Lib Dems already do. The Tories are not in favour, but they are not actively opposed to it.

    Summerskill needs to go. His time is up!

  • Kev C

    @Mike: I didn’t say he wasn’t a douche. Where’s the fun in stating the obvious?

  • Mike

    HRC will be happy.
    At least they’ll be able to now say ‘Well we’re not as shit as Stonewall UK’.

  • Anyway

    @ Rob – his can the benefits be “exact” if it would cost all that money. Flip the argument on its head: the lack of civil marriage amounts to tax on being gay. Hell, if it’s a tax cut maybe the Tories and Republicans could get behind marriage equality!

  • robert


    “In any case British CP’s are not recognised in all countries the way British marriages are so to say they are exactly like marriage is incorrect.”

    I think it would be rather naive to assume that renaming civil partnerships to marriage (which is all that would really happen, as they are otherwise practically identical) meant other countries would automatically recognise them. I would hazard a guess at, maybe, NO predominantly islamic countries recognising them.

  • Adam Jones

    @robert: @robert:

    It’s not only “predominately islamic countries” that would not recognise them, the USA on a federal level (say for immigration or taxes) wouldn’t either. Don’t demonise islamic countries when your own would do the exact same thing.

  • Adam Jones

    @Mike: except there worse. I don’t see civil unions on a federal level in the US yet

  • Adam Jones

    @Mike: *they’re

  • robert in nyc

    Rob, No. 3….civil partnership are not identical to marriage in the UK. There is a disparity in pension distributions for both opposite sex married couples and same-sex partnered couples, definitely not identical, if they were, the discrepancy wouldn’t exist nor would they be called civil partnerships.

    The fact that the Liberal Democratic party endorses full civil marriage equality and CPs for straights as part of its official policy as of yesterday (it is part of the coalition government of David Cameron), and the two contenders for the leadership of the Labour party now support it, its going to become increasingly difficult for the Tories under Cameron to ignore it if they want to hang on to power. Don’t forget, the Tories did not win by a majority and do not have a mandate. They are in power by the grace of the Liberal Democrats. My gut feeling is Cameron will be pragmatic and support it, otherwise, the Liberal Democrats will not be supporting him for re-election. Absent them and alienating any gay votes he can get will signify his defeat. He can’t afford that. The UK will get full marriage equality sooner than we think. Pay no attention to Summerskill, he does NOT speak for the majority of LGBT people in the UK, in fact he’s galvanized those of us who support full equality via marriage. Its going to come whether he likes it or not. StonewallUK is losing donations as a result of his jackass statement. He’ll pay dearly for that and in fact is making the organization more and more irrelevant. As one Liberal Democrat in the party, Stephen Gilbert, who proposed marriage equality policy commented after the party endorsed it yesterday,”It should not be for me as an MP to lobby Stonewall to support gay equality, it should be for Stonewall to lobby me.” Enough said, Summerskill just doesn’t get it, time for him to go.

Comments are closed.