Chapter 16 » 16.40
Civil law requirements
Action by area and local meetings
Area meetings should be sympathetic to and understanding of those who wish to be joined in marriage in a Friends’ meeting and who have been divorced or who have had a civil partnership dissolved (see 16.13). Many in this situation may regret that they have not been able to keep solemn promises they have made in the past. We should all be able to share these feelings, realising the occasions when we have not been able to fulfil the promises we have made. Whilst in no way departing from our corporate testimony as to the sanctity and lifelong nature of marriage, area meetings are given discretion whether or not to grant permission to those who wish to be re-married in a Friends’ meeting.
In exercising such discretion, area meetings will need to be fully satisfied that those who wish to be remarried share this testimony and, except in rare cases, are well known to and associated with the meeting. Area meetings should appoint certain Friends of sound judgment and discretion to serve as a meeting for clearness (see 16.37–16.39 & 12.22–12.25) to consider each application and so assist the meeting in reaching a decision without undesirable discussion of details in the meeting itself.