Quakers in Britain have warmly welcomed the overwhelming support given yesterday (20 November) by MSPs to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.
This will allow marriages and civil partnerships of same-sex and opposite-sex couples in Scotland.
Scottish MSPs listened to public opinion despite organised opposition. The MSPs agreed the motion with 98 voting for, 15 against, with five abstentions.
Under the Bill, religious bodies would opt in to perform same-sex ceremonies. The Bill will allow Quakers in Scotland to marry same-sex couples in Quaker meeting houses.
Following yesterday's vote, the Bill will return to Holyrood’s equal opportunities committee, for stage two scrutiny, to consider any amendments which need to be made before a final vote at some point early next year. Securing approval ‘in principle’ is likely to end any doubts about the legislation being passed.
Welcoming the move, Scottish Quaker Phil Lucas said: “It’s a matter of justice and equality. We want this because Quakers have a longstanding commitment to equality and we wish to express our belief in the right of all committed couples who love each other to be treated equally.”
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain said: “Quakers have recognised same-sex marriage since 2009 because we see God in everyone and believe all committed couples should be treated equally. We’ve been waiting for the law to catch up and it is good to see legislation making progress in Scotland.”
Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Some 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.
* Follow Quaker comment on same-sex marriage: www.quaker.org.uk/equal-marriage