The Quakers have expressed their delight at the imminent introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales.
After receiving Royal Assent last year, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act will take effect on Saturday 29 March.
Speaking of one Quaker couple who married in Canada, and who are now considered legally married in England and Wales, the Religious Society of Friends “rejoiced”.
“We’re thrilled that marriage for same-sex couples is here at last,” said Rob and Owen Claxton-Ingham.
The couple married in Canada because they weren’t able to in Britain. They met in 1992 at a gathering for young Quakers and ten years later they adopted two children, Mark and Rebecca. They married in Canada in 2006 and live in Yorkshire. For them, marriage is a spiritual and emotional experience.
“It was important for us to make that commitment within an act of worship,” continued Rob.
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain said many Quakers had been looking forward to same-sex marriage, as a step forward for equality.
“Quakers see God in everyone and that leads us to say we’re all born equal and our love is of equal worth too,” he said.
“Quakers have been discussing sexuality for fifty years,” he continued.
“That led our Yearly Meeting in 2009 to seek a change in the law so that same-sex marriages can be prepared, celebrated, witnessed, reported to the state, and recognised as legally valid, without further process, in the same way as opposite-sex marriages are celebrated in Quaker meetings. We are delighted the law has caught up.”
Noting the longer wait for those couples already in civil partnerships, Parker said: “While looking forward to marrying same-sex couples in our meeting houses this summer, we keep in mind those couples who must wait for secondary legislation to come in before they can convert their civil partnerships to marriage.”
According to the Government, those in civil partnerships should be able to convert to marriage by the end of 2014.