Australian Quakers have agreed to lobby their government for a change in the law so that same-sex couples can marry on an equal basis to mixed-sex couples. The news follows a similar decision by British Quakers last year.
Quakers – known more formally as the Religious Society of Friends – also resolved to practise “full marriage equality” throughout Australia. They want an amendment to the federal Marriage Act to allow such ceremonies to have legal status.
“Seeking legal recognition of such unions is consistent with our long-held spiritual belief in the equality of all people” said Lyndsay Farrall, Presiding Clerk of Australia Yearly Meeting of Friends.
She added that “Ongoing discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender under Australian law is a matter of growing disquiet for Quakers”.
Friends in Australia have celebrated same-sex and mixed-sex commitment ceremonies since 1994. The country’s first Quaker same-sex marriage took place in 2007.
Australian Quakers emphasised that their decision was consistent with their other work, including campaigns for the equality of women and for the rights of refugees and indigenous people.
British Quakers took a similar decision last July, resolving to “prepare, celebrate, witness, record and report same-sex marriages to the state in the same way as opposite-sex marriages”.