Stonewall, #equalmarriageni, and trading names – a reminder about #moreBS

Marriage Equality USA logo
Marriage Equality USA logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So Stonewall is now campaigning for Equal Marriage – according to the feed on Twitter and its website.

But let’s be honest, this wasn’t always the case:

Stonewall initially refused to change their position or engage with critics and even appeared to argue that marriage equality would be too expensive. However, shortly before a planned demonstration by marriage equality campaigners was due to take place outside the 2010 Stonewall Awards, Stonewall announced that they would campaign for same-sex marriage. (whythesilencestonewall.wordpress.com)

Stonewall keeps telling us that it is working for LGBT equality across the UK. Indeed, its name on Twitter suggests this. I thought I’d take a little look again at this. Stonewall is a charity registered with the Charity Commission (England and Wales) with Charity number 1101255. It is also registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator with number SC039681.

On the Charity Commission website, it is stated that its areas of operation are ‘England and Wales’ and ‘Scotland’. This changes on the OSCR website to ‘Scotland and other parts of the UK’.

Stonewall in Northern Ireland

Some LGBT activists here in Northern Ireland remember a delegation from Stonewall coming over to help the LGBT sector here work better. It was thought that the best campaign that we should have was to abolish section 28 as had been done in England & Wales. Sadly, someone hadn’t done his homework. Section 28 never applied in Northern Ireland.

Stonewall gets muddled about its name…

Oh, and by the way. the charity’s registered name is actually Stonewall Equality UK.Which leads me to a worrying statement on Stonewall’s website.

The trading name of Stonewall is Stonewall Equality Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 02412299.

It seems that an organisation that wants to lobby our parliamentarians and to work with others to change the law and uphold LGBT rights can’t quite get their own legal status the right way round. The charity is called ‘Stonewall Equality Limited’. It is known as ‘Stonewall’. Stonewall is not alone in not using its full legal name as its operating name. The Guide Association is known as ‘Girlguiding UK’ but the name in its governing document, its Royal Charter is quite clearly ‘The Guide Association’.

I hope that Stonewall Equality Ltd operating as Stonewall can fix this mistake on its website. Perhaps then I will have more confidence in it. But, perhaps not.

In a conversation on Twitter with my husband,

Stonewall is suggesting that it has secured legal protections for us here in Northern Ireland other than Civil Partnerships. I’d like to know what. A link is given to help Andrew…

The Equality Act (doesn’t extend to NI)

Sexual Orientation regulations 2007 (the NI ones are different!)

Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act 2008 (does extend to Northern Ireland)

Incitement to Hatred (does not extend to N.I.)

So that appears  to be two pieces of legislation that Stonewall claim to have had a hand in getting passed. I know that there was major work done here by the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association to ensure that NI was included in the Civil Partnerships Act, which was founded on work done on the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in which I was rather involved.

Will Stonewall (GB) work with the local campaign for Equal Marriage here in Northern Ireland?

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