Three Cheers: UK Quakers ‘to Allow Gay Marriages’

For two decades, Quakers in the UK — I’m not sure about the US, since individual Quaker congregations can set their own rules — have held religious blessings for same-sex couples. Now they’re poised to both begin performing actual marriage ceremonies and to petition the UK government to allow same-sex marriage, as opposed to the civil unions currently allowed.

The BBC’s religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said the Quakers had been more prepared than other groups to reinterpret the Bible in the light of contemporary life.

The Quakers – also known as The Religious Society of Friends – are likely to reach consensus on the issue of gay marriage without a vote at their annual gathering in York on Friday.

They will also formally ask the government to change the law to allow gay people to marry.

Quaker registrars, like rabbis and Church of England priests, have the authority to marry heterosexual couples on behalf of the state.

But many British Quakers feel it is wrong to exclude a religious commitment from civil partnerships and want the right to marriage extended to same-sex couples too.

This wonderfully forward move on the part of the Quakers may put them at odds with the government. Good, I say. Small pockets of acceptance eventually lead to wider acceptance. And the way the Quakers frame their support of same-sex marriage is just so lovely. For example, the Quakers of Westminster Meeting in the UK published this statement:

We affirm the love of God for all people, whatever their sexual orientation, and our conviction that sexuality is an important part of human beings as created by God, so that to reject people on the grounds of their sexual behaviour is a denial of God’s creation.

3 Responses to “Three Cheers: UK Quakers ‘to Allow Gay Marriages’”

  1. Twistie says:

    Quakers have often been in the forefront of social justice causes. They were also an important part of the abolitionist and civil rights movement. Once again, they are making a stand for equality. I applaud that.

  2. blablover5 says:

    “Quaker oats for you, it’s the right thing to do.”

    Quakers have always been an interesting denomination compared to some of the super conservative puritan ones in American history always backing basic human rights and fighting against the rigid status quo.

    I still remember about 10 years ago or so when a Methodist minister tried to bless a same sex marriage, and oh boy was there a shit storm. But I hold out hope that in a few years time, more ministers will start to do what they think is right and take the risks.

  3. Dawn says:

    That’s great news! Thanks for posting 🙂