“Despite being founded to secure gay equality, the gay lobby group Stonewall is refusing to campaign against the ban on gay civil marriage. It is not committed to full equal rights for lesbian and gay people,” according to human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
“Stonewall seems content with civil partnerships. The vast majority of gay people are not content. They want the legal right to get married in a civil ceremony in a registry office, on the same basis as heterosexual couples.
“Now, in an attempt to deflect criticism, Stonewall has announced a survey on whether its supporters want gay marriage legalised.
“But the survey method and process are flawed and unfair.
“Contrary to the impression given by Stonewall, it is not surveying its supporters specifically on the issue of gay marriage. It is conducting a general survey encompassing 12 different lesbian and gay issues.
“The questionnaire is headed: ‘Supporters Survey – October 2010’. There is no indication from the title or introduction that it is a survey on gay marriage.
“The question on gay marriage is buried near the end of the survey, as issue number eight.
“The question is not even called gay marriage. It is entitled ‘Civil Partnerships’, which is very confusing and misleading.”
The Stonewall survey question reads:
“Civil Partnerships – Work to extend the legal form of marriage to gay people.”
“The wording and methodology of the survey appear biased. I doubt that a reputable polling organisation would regard it as an acceptable way to survey people,” added Mr Tatchell.
“This does not strike me as a genuine, impartial survey. It seems designed to minimise support for marriage equality.
“Stonewall is out of touch. The vast majority of the gay community and the British public support the right of same-sex couples to get married in a registry office.
“Surveys by the Pink Paper and Pink News have found that 70% to 98% of LGBT people oppose the ban on gay marriage and want equal marriage rights.
“Every major LGBT organisation in Britain, apart from Stonewall, supports marriage equality.
“A Populus poll in June 2009 found that 61% of the public believe that: ‘Gay couples should have an equal right to get married, not just to have civil partnerships.’ Only 33% disagreed.
“Stonewall has done a lot of valuable important work. I salute its efforts to tackle homophobic bullying in schools. But on the issue of gay marriage it is seriously mistaken. It’s refusal to support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples is shameful.
“The ban on gay marriage is homophobic discrimination. Every gay rights organisation should be campaigning to overturn it,” urged Mr Tatchell.