Same sex weddings quicker than intended

The Government has brought forward same sex marriage so the first same sex weddings will begin 29th March, in England and Wales.  The Scottish Parliament has voted heavily to introduce same sex marriage and a referendum is planned in the Irish Republic.

Quakers decided in 2009 to recognise same sex marriage and to campaign for a change in the law.  The measure was passed by large majorities in both Houses of Parliament and continues to enjoy a large degree of public support (just as civil partnerships were controversial for about two days after their taking effect.)

The attitude of other churches is also shifting, in some cases.  Pope Francis has not changed the Catholic teaching but has drastically altered the tone and priority of what the leader of that church says.   The Church of Scotland is close to agreeing that ministers can be in same sex commitments, which then opens the question, under their polity, why individual ministers cannot in conscience bless such relationships.  A report for the Church of England says individual parishes could vote, and individual priests could agree to celebrate same sex commitments (but it would not be a marriage and nor would it have a liturgy.)   This is roughly where Quakers were in 1987 and addresses the issue that individual congregrations not only contain disagreements but vary widely on what the majority thinks.

Working through these disagreements was a growth point for Quakers spiritually and we must hope that other faith groups find a way forward.  It is sad to see in India Christians and Muslims lobbying for same sex relationships to be made illegal again.



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