Chapter 16 » 16.08

The meaning of marriage

Part of a minute of Britain Yearly Meeting held in York, 2009, reads: . . . a session was held . . . at which speakers shared personal experiences of the celebration and recognition of their committed relationships. These Friends had felt upheld by their meetings in these relationships but regretted that whereas there was a clear, visible path to celebration and recognition for opposite-sex couples, the options available for couples of the same sex were not clear and could vary widely between meetings. Friends who feel theirs to be an ordinary and private rather than an exotic and public relationship have had to be visible pioneers to get their relationship acknowledged and recorded.

This open sharing of personal experience has moved us and added to our clear sense that, 22 years after the prospect was first raised at Meeting for Sufferings, we are being led 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. . .

We have heard dissenting voices during the threshing process which has led us to this decision, and we have been reminded of the need for tenderness to those who are not with us who will find this change difficult.

Britain Yearly Meeting, 2009

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