“We want to be able to celebrate same-sex marriages in our community”

“Quakers believe that all committed relationships are equal,” said Paul Parker speaking to BBC Radio Five Live on Saturday morning about the announcement that the UK government will shortly publish its proposals for legalising same-sex marriage. Paul is the recording clerk of Britain Yearly Meeting and therefore often speaks as a representative of Quakers in Britain to the media. “We are talking about real people here,” he continued.  “This is about two people who love one another and who want to declare that commitment in a faith context, in their worshipping community and Quaker have been campaigning since 2009 for the ability to do that and we’ve been waiting really for the law to catch up. I really welcome this recognition by David Cameron and the government that marriage is more than just a civil contract for lots of people of faith and it is something that many people want to be able to celebrate in a religious setting.”

Paul continued: “We’re not trying to impose this on any religious groups who don’t want to do it. Quakers see that of God in everyone. We want to be able to celebrate same-sex marriages in our community and we think there’s a great deal of acceptance for this in wider society so we’re waiting to see the government’s announcement in detail next week and see how this is going to work. I wouldn’t want any more than Dave does to see religious groups compelled to do this or legal action about this and so on but I think it about those of us do want to do it being able to get on and do so.”

Michael Bartlet, Parliamentary Liaison Secretary for Quakers in Britain has also gone on the record to say: “Liberty is a two way street. It means not just that Quakers can conduct same-sex marriages in their meeting houses but that Anglicans and Catholics have the liberty not to do so.”

Addition, Tuesday 11/12/2012: Paul Parker added: “The day the first same-sex couple can marry in their Quaker meeting will be a wonderful day for marriage, and a great day for religious freedom in Britain. Quakers greet the news we can ‘opt in’ to equal marriage with enthusiasm, but await the details of how this will work in practice.”

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