Here in the UK, there has not been a big push for same sex marriage, as the civil partnership regulations provide virtually the same benefits as full marriage This includes national benefits (unlike Washington’s proposal),and really is “marriage in all but name” (an important qualification). Now, according to the BBC, the British Quakers are to take up the issue.
The proposal to begin performing marriage ceremonies for same -sex couples is expected to pass by consensus, without opposition, at their annual gathering in York “on Friday”, even though this could bring them into conflict with the law. They are also expected to ask for the law to be changed. (Is “Friday” today…..or next week? I don’t yet know, but will investigate).
(UPDATE: This has now been approved. See the TIMES ONLINE)
This is the first time that I know of that a church group is taking a lead on the issue – anywhere.
From the BBC, 30th July 2009:
“Quakers ‘to allow gay marriages’
One of the UK‘s oldest Christian denominations – the Quakers – looks set to extend marriage services to same-sex couples at their yearly meeting later.
The society has already held religious blessings for same-sex couples who have had a civil partnership ceremony.
But agreeing to perform gay marriages, which are currently not allowed under civil law, could bring the Quakers into conflict with the government.
…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.”
The full report from the BBC is here.
From TIMES ONLINE, July 31st:
“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.”
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