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UK Quakers Sanction Same-Sex Marriages

British Quakers, or the Religious Society of Friends, have decided to perform same-sex marriages. During their annual meeting in York the Quakers came to a consensus, according to the Times Online, to “to treat same sex committed relationships in the same way as opposite sex marriages, reaffirming our central insight that marriage is the Lord’s work and we are but witnesses.”

The Quakers will formally challenge the UK laws which prohibit same-sex marriage. Britain allows for civil partnerships but falls short of allowing full marriage rights for homosexuals. Quakers have allowed same-sex couples to celebrate civil partnerships with a religious commitment ceremony for more than two decades, reports the BBC.

Gay marriage has been a divisive issue in the religious community. Most recently, according to the BBC, the Bishop of Rochester released a statement stating that homosexuals should “repent and be changed.” Despite the Church of England’s restrictive views on gay marriage, the Quakers, in their meeting minutes say, “there was a clear, visible path to celebration and recognition for opposite sex couples,” according to the Press Association.

Sources:

Times Online 7/31/09; BBC 7/30/09; Press Association 7/31/09