Quakers in Britain today (15 July) have greeted with joy the Lords’ overwhelming support for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at Third Reading. Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain said, “This brings us tantalisingly close to legal recognition for same-sex marriages in our Quaker meetings.”
MPs review the Bill tomorrow and Royal Assent could follow shortly. The new law applies in England and Wales; legislation follows in Scotland.
Quakers have been discussing sexuality for fifty years and four years ago agreed to seek a change in the law so that same-sex and opposite-sex couples could marry in Quaker meetings.
Welcoming the historic moment, Paul Parker said: “We relish the freedom to express our faith by treating all our committed couples in the same way. This is because of our deeply held belief that we see the light of God in everyone which leads us to respect the inherent worth of each individual and each loving relationship.”
Quakers have supported moves towards equal marriage, along with Unitarians, Free Christians, and Liberal and Reformed Judaism. “The voice of minority faith groups has been heard on this,” said Paul Parker. “We respect others who do not yet share our view. For Quakers, this is a matter of religious freedom.”