Quakers in Britain say that they are very much looking forward to the celebration of same-sex marriages in their places of worship, as a result of government moves formally announced today (11 December 2012).
Paul Parker, recording clerk for the Quakers, formally known as the Religious Society of Friends, commented: “The day the first same-sex couple can marry in their Quaker meeting will be a wonderful day for marriage, and a great day for religious freedom in Britain. Quakers greet the news we can ‘opt in’ to equal marriage with enthusiasm, but await the details of how this will work in practice.”
He continued: “Quakers have been discussing sexuality for fifty years. We see God in everyone and believe all committed loving relationships are of equal worth and should be celebrated in the same way. That is why, since 2009, we’ve been asking for the law to allow our same-sex Quaker couples to have a spiritual celebration within their worshipping community; not just a civil partnership which is a legal contract.”
While looking forward to examining the detail of legislation for England and Wales to be published this week, the recording clerk added that Quakers see this as an issue of religious freedom and do not seek to impose it on others.
Around 23,000 people attend nearly 475 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth "challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change," they say.
* The full Quaker submission to the government consultation on equal marriage and a briefing, “We are but Witnesses”, setting out Quaker thinking on equal marriage can be read here http://www.quaker.org.uk/equalsubmission