the friend online
21 August 2009


Moving forward for all - preview
I was not at Yearly Meeting (YM) but have read minute 23 and the commentary on the relevant session published in the Friend
  • I am far from convinced that the minute offers the most effective way of achieving what Yearly Meeting wished to see, namely to treat same-sex relationships in the same way as opposite-sex relationships
  • Quaker registering officers are servants of two masters: the Meeting and the state
  • They are responsible for the right ordering of Meetings for Worship to celebrate marriages and also for completing the paperwork required by the state to fulfil the civil aspect of marriage
  • YM can decide to change the rules governing the former but not the latter
  • The way forward agreed by YM is implicitly confrontational
  • In effect, the minute seeks to force a change in the law to bring civil marriage into line with Quaker views
  • It conceives that registering officers may in due course be required to act contrary to the law
  • If pursued, the end result, I suspect, will be that Friends will lose the privilege of being responsible for marriage on behalf of the state, which we have had since Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753

  • Angus Winchester

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