Quakers in Britain, Unitarians and Liberal Jews are urging the prime minister to stand firm on his commitment to change marriage laws to enable same-sex couples to marry.
British Quakers are being encouraged to respond to the government consultation on equal marriage when they gather in London this weekend for their Yearly Meeting to discern the way forward for Quakers in Britain.
Quaker recording clerk, Paul Parker said: “Fifty years’ careful thinking led Quakers in 2009 to work for a change in the law to allow equal marriage and so we welcome the prime minister’s personal commitment to allow this. However, we are concerned the tone of the debate is changing, even before the consultation is complete.”
There has been talk of Conservatives having a free vote on the plan to allow same-sex couples in England and Wales to marry and one cabinet minister has said he will not vote for it.
The Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Jews have sent a letter expressing their concerns to prime minister David Cameron. The full text of the joint letter reads:
“We welcome your commitment to change marriage laws to enable same-sex partners to marry and offer you our prayerful support at this time. We know that you are hearing strong views about this from all around you.
Quakers in Britain, Unitarians and Liberal Judaism are all committed to equality of marriage and ask that any legislation will mean we are free to conduct same-sex marriages in our places of worship.
This is about religious liberty for us, so we don’t expect parliament to force others, who may disagree with us, to marry same-sex couples if they do not wish.
We urge you to stand firm and show moral leadership on this issue, which affects the lives of many real people in this country. If, as you have said, same-sex marriage is the right thing to do, then it’s right to do it properly, and it’s right to do it now.
We would welcome your assurance that this issue remains a priority of the coalition government.”
The letter was signed by Derek McAuley, chief officer of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches; Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain; and Danny Rich, chief executive for Liberal Judaism.
Paul Parker took to youtube this week with his message for British Quakers to respond to the government consultation.
“Our faith tells us that all people – gay or straight – are fundamentally equal in the eyes of God,” says Paul in the video, continuing: “same sex couples have waited for long enough.”
See http://www.quaker.org.uk/take-action-equal-marriage for more information about making a submission to the consultation.