Quakers back gay marriage and call for reform
The Quakers sanctioned gay marriage today and decided to call on the Government to give same-sex couples the same standing as married couples.
Other Christian churches and religious denominations have approved blessings for civil same-sex partnerships but the Quakers have now become Britain's first mainstream religious group to approve gay marriage. It will be welcomed by gay and lesbian Christian groups worldwide as a breakthrough in what they regard as a campaign for justice and equality.
More than 1,600 Quakers, meeting in York this week for their annual gathering, agreed "to treat same sex committed relationships in the same way as opposite sex marriages, reaffirming our central insight that marriage is the Lord’s work and we are but witnesses".
But they also decided that "the question of legal recognition by the state is secondary" and will not be urging Quaker registrars to break the law and "marry" gay couples.
The Government allows couples to register their civil partnerships but stops short of counting them as married couples, even though the civil ceremony gives them almost exactly the same rights in law over property, pension and inheritance.
Quakers, officially the Religious Society of Friends, have acknowledged same-sex partnerships since the 1960s.
Michael Hutchinson, of Quakers in Britain, said: "We recognise that many homosexual people play a full part in the life of the Society of Friends. Many of our meetings have told us that there are homosexual couples who consider themselves to be married and believe this is as much a testimony of divine grace as a heterosexual marriage. They miss the public recognition of this in a religious ceremony.
"We hope our discussions this week will help us recognise, in love, the friend whose experience is not our own and will lead us forward in exploring what true equality means"More at Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6734687.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1