A few faces of FLGC

Collected Marriage Minutes

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ACADIA FRIENDS MEETING (ME)
March 1994
Minute on marriages and committed relationships under the care of Acadia Friends Meeting

We believe that couples, regardless of gender, can make the spiritual and social commitments necessary to found a family. We consider the commitments undertaken in these relationships by both the couple and the meetings to be those of marriage. As individuals we are not united as to whether such a union should be called a "marriage." As a meeting, we welcome applications from couples who unite with Quaker faith and practice, and choose to go through our usual process of clearness for marriage. We also believe the law should recognize same-gender relationships as having the same legal status as heterosexual marriages.

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ACTON (MA) November 2003

Given the importance of long-term committed relationships to the lives of the individuals involved and to society in general, and given Acton Monthly Meeting's 1982 affirmation that the overall quality of a relationship I more important than the genders of those involved, we support marriage under the care of the meeting for all couples, irrespective of gender. Same-gender marriages, lacking the support of civil law and custom, are in particular need of the meeting's ongoing, loving support.

[On Nov. 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same- and opposite-sex couples must be given equal marriage rights under the state constitution.]

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ADELPHI FRIENDS MEETING
5/12/1991

Our understanding of the spirit of Christ, reflected in the Gospels, leads us to affirm one another and our loving responsible relationships. To do so strengthens our community, opens us to the full richness of the diverse loving relationships in our Meeting, and gives persons in such relationships the support of a loving community.

We accept and appreciate diversity in our community and welcome all who share our search for Truth. Just as a marriage between a man and a woman may provide mutual nurture to both the couple and the Meeting, committed same-gender relationships may also be a source of spiritual growth. We recognize the Light in all sincere, loving, supportive relationships, which are characterized by growth and in which faith, hope, love and truth abide.

Upon request by a couple, Adelphi Friends Meeting will recognize same-gender relationships through the same careful process we customarily use to arrive at clearness for all couples who wish to unite under our care. We consider the obligations undertaken in these relationships by both the couple and the Meeting to be those of marriage. We expect the couple to become each other’s next of kin, to care of one another and for any children brought into the union, and to share equitably their worldly goods. The oversight committee will work with the couple in securing appropriate legal arrangements to protect the relationship.

We recognize our responsibility to provide continuing nurture to all unions under the care of the Meeting. Jesus calls us to a life of love.

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ALBANY MONTHLY MEETING
Albany NY; NYYM
March 30, 1996

Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another, but praying for one another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.
--Isaac Pennington, 1667

Acknowledging that Albany Friends Meeting has struggled for many years to find unity, we recognize that each of us brings different personal experiences to the search. We affirm the need for continued healing of those who have been hurt in the process and of the Meeting community as a whole.

We value that of God in all people. We honor each person's spiritual search. We welcome each person's search as part of the Meeting's search for divine truth. Albany Friends Meeting, following its normal clearness processes, welcomes all persons, including gays and lesbians, as full members of the Meeting, with all the responsibilities and rights, including marriage under the care of the Meeting.

We affirm the need for continuing discernment about family and relationships.

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ALBUQUERQUE MONTHLY MEETING
Albuquerque, New Mexico; Intermountain Yearly Meeting
5/6/1990

The essence of intimacy between persons is a matter of love, tenderness, fidelity, and commitment. AS a Monthly Meeting we reach out in loving support to those who ask for help in achieving and maintaining these qualities in their relationships.

We believe it is consistent with Friends’ historical faith and testimonies to adopt and practice a single standard for all committed relationships that are under our care. We are mindful that it is the Spirit which unites a couple, and we are the witnesses thereof.

We affirm our willingness as a Monthly Meeting to hold appointed meetings to celebrate and acknowledge couples’ relationships. We will hold them in accordance with our traditional procedures, for both opposite-gender and same-gender couples, when one or both of the partners participate in our community as members or attenders. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for all couples who should wish to unite under our care, following Faith and Practice.

We affirm the traditional Quaker concept of marriage as a committed relationship between two people who share their lives as equal partners. We believe that because such a partnership is a spiritual union, it is appropriately recognized at an appointed meeting for worship among Friends and within the presence and the moving of the Spirit. It is our belief that both the Meeting and the partners are nourished by this celebration.

We understand that both opposite-gender and same-gender couples may prefer words other than marriage to describe their union. We leave it to the couple to name their union.

We recognize this meeting for the couple, and the certificate signed during that meeting, as the only necessary public expression of the union. The event shall be recorded in Meeting records as is customary. The meeting will assist the couple with legal recording requirements if requested. For all couples, advice will be available regarding legal arrangements for care of each other, of family, and of property.

[Please note: in the event this minute is read aloud, it is our wish that the first paragraph be repeated here.]

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ALEXANDRIA MONTHLY MEETING (VA)


October, 2004.

We are convinced that faithful, loving, committed relationships, whether same-sex or heterosexual, give evidence of divine guidance and support. Quakers hold that marriage is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses. We in Alexandria Monthly Meeting affirm our willingness to hold under the care of our meeting same-sex as well as heterosexual marriages among our members and attenders.

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AMESBURY (MA)
November, 1992

All loving relationships are sacred and should be accepted and honored by the Meeting. All couples are entitled to the ceremony of marriage following Friends' practices. The Meeting supports those marriages under its care.

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ANN ARBOR (MI)

The following statement was approved at the meeting for business of February 16, 1992:

The Meeting recognizes in the unique traditional manner of Friends that no official of the Meeting marries a couple, but that the Meeting witnesses and celebrates the vows of the couple to each other.

It is therefore the sense of the Meeting that Ann Arbor Friends Meeting provides a clearness and oversight process for couples in the Meeting, whether of different sex or the same sex. If it is so recommended by the clearness committee and approved by the meeting for business, the Meeting witnesses and celebrates the couple's commitment to each other, takes their relationship under its care, and gives its ongoing support. Couples have some lati≠tude in the words they choose to use in their vows to each other; they may use the word marriage if they choose to do so. The Clerk or his/her representative signs appropriate legal documents certifying that the commitment has been witnessed after the manner of Friends.

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ANNAPOLIS FRIENDS MEETING(MD)


May 01, 2011

Annapolis Friends Meeting affirms marriage of two loving committed individuals regardless of gender.

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ARGENTA MONTHLY MEETING
Argenta, British Columbia; Canadian Yearly Meeting [FGC & FUM]
7/2/1989

Argenta Monthly Meeting wants to provide homosexual couples the same corporate recognition and loving support of their commitment that we provide heterosexual couples in marriage, by using the same procedures now in place.

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ATLANTA MONTHLY MEETING
Atlanta Georgia; SAYMA [FGC]
6/1990 and 3/2004

Atlanta Friends Meeting affirms our willingness as a Meeting to hold celebrations of loving commitment under our care. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for any couple who should wish to unite under our care, regardless of sexual orientation, when one or both of these partners participate in our community.

We are aware of the diversity of attitudes toward the term marriage and leave to the couple the characterization of their relationship – whether a celebration of marriage, commitment, or joining.

The Meeting acknowledges the certificate signed by the couple and those present at the ceremony as the witness of Friends to the couple’s spiritual union. Mindful that only the heterosexual couples among us have the right to legally sanctioned marriage and its privileges, the Meeting asks Friends, and particularly couples preparing for marriage, to examine how best to respond and bear witness to the inequalities still present in the legal system.

The Atlanta Friends Meeting approved the following Minute on legal marriage for same-sex and transgendered couples (as a supplement to our previous Minute on marrige)on Eleventh Month 21, 2004:

Minute: Atlanta Friends Meeting re-affirms our willingness as a Meeting to hold celebrations of loving commitment, including marriage, under our care for any couple who should wish to unite under our care, regardless of sexual orientation and gender, when one or both of these partners participate in our community. Mindful that only the heterosexual couples among us have the right to legally sanctioned marriage and its privileges, the Atlanta Friends Meeting opposes efforts to further limit the legal rights of same-sex and transgendered couples and families. The Atlanta Friends Meeting also supports their efforts to gain increased legal protections, including the option of choosing the benefits of civil marriage on the same basis as heterosexual couples.

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AUSTRALIA YEARLY MEETING
1984

Friends recognise that spiritually enriching relationships are those that are enduring and unselfish and provide mutual support and tenderness. There is a particular need to offer loving support to those who are sharers in relationships other than marriage, as they do not always receive the support and approval of the community as a whole. Such relationships include unmarried couples and homosexual pairs.

If the meeting feels that a relationship is stable and loving, a suitable opportunity might be found when Friends could express their love and support for the individuals. Such support may be helpful in improving the quality of the relationship and also in encouraging openness and candor.

Friends need to respect the rights of those concerned to make their own decisions about a lifestyle congenial to them.

Meetings need to recognise that not all Friends feel able to support these relationships, and there is a need for sensitivity to those who have a conscientiously held belief that heterosexual marriage is the appropriate commitment.

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BALTIMORE MONTHLY MEETING (HOMEWOOD)

First Minute, 1985:

Baltimore Monthly Meeting [Homewood] wants to provide homosexual couples the same corporate recognition and loving support of their commitment that we provide heterosexual couples in marriage. Celebrations of Commitment to be held under the care of the Meeting will be available to homosexual couples who are in the Meeting upon Ministry and Counsel and the Monthly Meeting finding clearness.

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BARTON-GLOVER (VT)
2008

Barton-Glover Friends Meeting supports committed, loving relationships that are based in mutual respect and caring.

When couples ask to be married under our care, we will offer them a process of clearness and, if appropriate, provide oversight for a ceremony which celebrates and confirms their relationship in Spiritual Light and within the community.

In deciding whether to take a marriage under our care, we will consider whether the relationship supports the personal and spiritual unfolding of both partners, and whether both people understand and are prepared to make this major life commitment. As part of our clearness process we will review our minute on marriage as well as Faith and Practice with each couple. We will also consider the relationship between the couple and this Meeting. We will not base this decision on the genders of the individuals involved.

We recognize the perils involved in blending secular and sacred matters. We fully support equal rights for marriage regardless of sexual orientation."

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BEACON HILL (MA)
April, 1988

We, the members and attenders of Beacon Hill Monthly Meeting, affirm our belief in that of God in every person. Furthermore, we attest that this belief embraces all persons regardless of sexual orientation.

Beacon Hill affirms that all couples, including those of the same sex, have equal opportunity to be married within the framework of the meeting process. The love between these couples, as it grows, will enrich their relationship, the Meeting, and the world at large. The Meeting is committed to supporting these couples according to their needs.

Beacon Hill acknowledges the Certificate of Marriage signed by the couple and those present at the ceremony as the witness of Friends to the couples' spiritual union. Mindful that only the heterosexual couples among us currently have the right to legally sanctioned marriage and its privileges, the Meeting asks Friends, and particularly couples preparing for marriage, to examine how best to respond and bear witness to the inequalities still present in the system.

March 2004
A Minute in Support of Same-Sex Marriage

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have celebrated weddings in Massachusetts for more than 300 years. Our form is different, for we have no clergy. But Massachusetts has acknowledged the marriages celebrated and witnessed by Friends Meetings (i.e., congregations), nonetheless.

Friends see weddings as the affirmation and celebration of a permanent spiritual union between two adults. When a couple asks to be married under the care of a Friends Meeting, the Meeting, as a community, considers whether the couple is truly spiritually united and ready to be a married couple within the Meeting community and the world at large. A Meeting that celebrates a couple's marriage commits to the spiritual and practical support of that marriage.

Believing that there is that of God in everyone, Beacon Hill Monthly Meeting has since 1988 considered all couples who come to us asking to be married under our care regardless of sexual orientation. The gift of spiritual union is as strong and valuable to our community in same-sex couples as it is in opposite-sex couples.

We are not comfortable seeing rights denied to some of our families, which are freely granted to others. This challenges our long-term witness to equality. It also places a burden on the affected couples and on our community as a whole as we support them, especially with end of life and parenting issues.

We feel that the state should leave the question of determining which couples are spiritually united to each denomination or religion, as it is a religious issue. Respecting our right as a religious institution to discern which couples should be married under our care, we are led by the Spirit to witness that the state should extend marriage with all its privileges, rights, and responsibilities to all those couples.

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BELFAST (ME)
February 7, 1993

Minute on Same Sex Marriage and Commitment

Mindful that the spiritual growth of each member of a couple sometimes may best proceed, and the love between them may best ripen and mature, in the context of a marriage which takes place in a community of faith and with the support and tender regard of that community; mindful that Friends who prefer to establish lasting bonds with someone of the same gender are excluded from marriage by law and by custom; and mindful that such exclusion does violence to the spirit of those Friends, we are clear that applications by couples, whether of the same or opposite gender, to be married under the care of this meeting, shall all be given the same tender, careful consideration. Whether the couple calls their relationship a marriage or a commitment, we honor the covenant. Further, we look forward to the day when all couple who so wish can enjoy the full recognition and entitlements of marriage from the society at large.

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BELFAST AREA MONTHLY MEETING
3/6/1988

Whereas a discussion of human sexuality at the Meeting’s semi-monthly First-Day discussion session, held on the twenty-first day of Second month, 1988, led to a concern about the place of gay and lesbian sexuality in our Meeting, and in the Religious Society of Friends, the following Minute was brought to Monthly Meeting for Business for Consideration and Adoption and Dissemination within the larger Society of Friends:

Our Meeting holds in the light all gifts from God, primary of these being the potential for love. As a meeting, we make no distinction between heterosexual and same-sex expressions of love and human sexuality. We affirm all relationships that are non-exploitive and non-abusive and so not believe it is for us to judge another person’s choice of his or her sexual orientation or expression.

We recognize that these are troubled times for gay men and lesbian women and abhor all forms of discrimination—social, political, religious—that exist against them and commit ourselves to strive to rid our society and ourselves of such discrimination wherever it exists. We commit ourselves to actively educating ourselves and our Meeting on issues related to their condition and treatment in our society. Because of the possibility that our own Meeting might contribute tot the victimization of gay and lesbian people, through our own subtle and unintentioned forms of homophobia, we feel compelled to speak out to clarify our own relationship to gay and lesbian people and specifically endorse the following principles:

We recognize and affirm the dignity and worth of gay men and lesbian women, as we strive to find that of God in all people;

We welcome and embrace gay men and lesbian women as full and equal Members of the Meeting;

We recognize and affirm gay and lesbian expression of affection and sexuality, just as we affirm the heterosexual expression of love and affection;

We recognize and affirm the commitment of persons of the same sex who wish to have their relationship celebrated in the same or similar forms as provided for heterosexual couples, though some of our members have problems naming this Celebration a Marriage. In the spirit of love and acceptance, should any same sex couple wish their Celebration of Commitment to be named a Marriage, we will endeavor to see if we can find a way to embrace that naming.

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BETHESDA FRIENDS MEETING

December 1, 1996

Bethesda Friends Meeting is committed to giving its loving support to all couples who seek clearness and Divine guidance as they consider the solemn act of entering into a life-long commitment to each other in the presence of God and the Meeting. Our support is in part manifested by the appointment of a Committee for Clearness to meet with the couple in a spirit of loving concern to consider honestly and frankly the duties and responsibilities they propose to assume. This support continues as their commitment is solemnized in the Meeting for Worship. Thereafter, as couples encounter opportunities for growth and challenges in their spiritual journeys, we offer our continued support and hope that they will draw on the wisdom and strength of the Meeting, at the same time that the Meeting is enriched by their presence.

Since its establishment, Bethesda Friends Meeting has followed this process for marriages under its care. As same-sex couples have begun publicly to declare and celebrate their relationships, we recognize the need to include such relationships in our loving care. Couples of the same gender, who face particular difficulties in a less than accepting world, require a special measure of our continuing support. Bethesda Friends Meeting wishes to record that we accept such unions with the same expectations of seriousness and life-long commitment, applying the same procedures and standards for clearness and oversight, as we do for other couples.

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BRITAIN YEARLY MEETING
31 July 2009

Minute 23

Further to minute 17, (attached) a session was held on Tuesday afternoon 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. The question of legal recognition by the state is secondary.

We therefore ask Meeting for Sufferings to take steps to put this leading into practice and to arrange for a draft revision of the relevant sections of Quaker faith and practice, so that same sex marriages can be prepared, celebrated, witnessed, recorded and reported to the state, as opposite sex marriages are. We also ask Meeting for Sufferings to engage with our governments to seek a change in the relevant laws so that same sex marriages notified in this way can be recognised as legally valid, without further process, in the same way as opposite sex marriages celebrated in our meetings. We will not at this time require our registering officers to act contrary to the law, but understand that the law does not preclude them from playing a central role in the celebration and recording of same sex marriages.

We have heard dissenting voices during the threshing process which has led to us 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. We also need to remember, including in our revision of Quaker faith and practice, those Friends who live singly, whether or not by choice.

We will need to explain our decision to other Christian bodies, other faith communities, and, indeed to other Yearly Meetings, and pray for a continuing loving dialogue, even with those who might disagree strongly with what we affirm as our discernment of God's will for us at this time.

Minute 17: Committed relationships: introduction

The report ‘Exploring our attitudes to committed partnerships' (pages 61-64 of Documents in advance) has been introduced to us through a personal account of one Friend's experience of the varied committed relationships in his family and his Quaker community.

We receive minute S/08/11/3 of Meeting for Sufferings held 1 November 2008 on the recognition of partnerships under the auspices of Britain Yearly Meeting. In the light of our testimony to equality we are asked by Meeting for Sufferings to consider how we should celebrate and recognise committed relationships within our Quaker community and what revisions of Quaker faith & practice would follow from this to include same sex partnerships.

We have opportunity at an open session on Tuesday afternoon to hear speakers who will share their personal experiences of commitment, to be followed by response groups, and, on Wednesday evening, special interest groups. We will return to this matter on Thursday afternoon, and to the two requests which Meeting for Sufferings has put to us to:

i) Endorse the conclusions of the Quaker Life minute that it would not be right at this time either to lobby government for further changes in the law on committed partnerships nor to surrender our legal authority to conduct heterosexual marriages;

ii) Explore the issue and give broad guidance on how changes suggested in the Quaker life minute might be expressed in chapter 16 of Quaker faith & practice.

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BROOKLYN MONTHLY MEETING
1989:

We continue to respect the desire of homosexual couples within the meeting to formalize their feelings of mutual commitment , to enter into relationships under divine guidance in a spirit of reverence and love, and to bear witness to their commitment before God, to the meeting community and to the public.

1 April 2007:

Recognizing that of God in all persons, we continue to respect the desire of all loving couples, however they may define themselves as to sexuality and gender, to celebrate their love and commitment by entering into marriage under divine guidance in a spirit of reverence and love. When one or both of the partners are members of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting, we will bear witness to their love as they bear witness, in the manner of Friends, to their commitment before God, the meeting community, and the public.

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BLOOMINGTON FRIENDS MEETING (IN) (Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting)

At Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business on Twelfth Month 8, 2002, Bloomington Friends Meeting, Bloomington, IN (Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting) approved the following minute:

Bloomington Friends Meeting has been led by the Light of the Living Christ to understand that God's love extends with equality to all people regardless of sexual orientation. This application of the traditional Quaker Testimony of Equality is part of a continuing revelation that began within the Religious Society of Friends over forty years ago with the publication of Towards a Quaker View of Sex. With the understanding that Christ has given us as Quakers today, we cannot accept actions or attitudes that diminish the humanity of lesbians, gay men, or bisexual persons, assign to them an inferior status within the Religious Society of Friends or the wider world, or suggest that their covenant relationships are in any way less sacred, less valid, or the cause for less joy than those of other persons.

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BURLINGTON (VT)
May, 1990

We affirm our willingness as a Meeting to participate in celebrations of marriage for both opposite sex and same sex couples. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for all couples who wish to unite under our care in accordance with our traditional procedures. At every stage we intend to treat all couples with respect, care, and love.

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BRUNSWICK (ME)
April 1997

We joyfully affirm our willingness as a Meeting to sanctify celebrations of marriage for both same and opposite gender couples. We intend to follow the good order of Friends in arriving at clearness for all couples who are led to unite under our loving care. We call upon the state to give the same legal recognition to same and opposite gender marriages.

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BUTTERNUTS MONTHLY MEETING
Oneonta, New York
New York YM
1993

The essence of intimacy between persons is a matter of love, tenderness, fidelity and commitment. As a Monthly Meeting, we lovingly support and affirm those who ask for help in achieving these qualities in their relationships

We believe it is consistent with Friends historical faith and testimonies to adopt and practice a single standard for all committed relationships that are under our care. We are mindful that it is the Spirit that unites a couple, and we are witnesses thereof.

WE affirm our willingness as a monthly Meeting to hold appointed meetings to celebrate and acknowledge couples’ relationships. We will hold them in accordance with our traditional procedures, for both opposite-gender and same gender couples, when one or both of the partners participate in our community as members or attenders. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for all couples who wish to unite under our care.

Because we believe that a committed relationship between two people who share their lives as equal partners is a spiritual union, it is appropriate to recognize this spiritual union at an appointed meeting for worship among friends and within the presence and moving of the Spirit. It is our belief that both the Meeting and the partners are nourished by this celebration.

We recognize this meeting for the couple, and certificate signed during that meeting, as the only necessary public expression of the union. The event shall be recorded in Meeting records as is customary. The Meeting will assist the couple with legal recording requirements if requested. For all couples, advice will be available regarding legal arrangements for care of each other, of family and of property.

[Please note: In the event that this minute is read aloud, it is our wish that the first paragraph be repeated here.]

Approved May 9, 1993

-adapted from the minute of Albuquerque MM, Fifth month 6, 1990 Weddings

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CAMBRIDGE MONTHLY MEETING
Cambridge, MA; New England Yearly Meeting [FGC & FUM]
2/11/1990

Friends Meeting at Cambridge affirms that relationships between persons of the same sex can be as committed and holy as the heterosexual relationships that Friends have called marriage can be. Friends intend to give the same loving care and consideration to both same-sex and heterosexual relationships. We therefore welcome the opportunity to celebrate God’s love made manifest in the love of a couple at a meeting for worship appointed to celebrate their union, according to the good order of Friends, whether the couple is of the same of different sex. We are not yet clear whether same-sex unions should have a different name than heterosexual union.

We recognize that our explorations of the nature of marriage have raised certain issues with respect to our clearness process, and to the Meeting’s oversight for all couples under its care, including the care of a partnership dissolution. We direct the Meeting on Ministry and Counsel and the Marriage and Family Life Committee, together with concerned Friends, to explore these issues, and as needed, to bring recommendations for action to the Meeting.

September 1994

Friends Meeting at Cambridge approved the use of the word marriage in relationships of loving committed adult couples who have been found clear for marriage, and who desire to use that term.

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CANADIAN YEARLY MEETING
August 8, 2003

A Minute of Record by Canadian Yearly Meeting

Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has laboured for many years over the issue of the recognition of the marriage of same-sex couples. Friends have a long history of supporting human rights and witnessing against injustice. Individual Quakers have often provided leadership in movements for social change such as the abolition of slavery, civil rights movements, and equality for women. Many religious groups have already declared strong positions on this issue on both sides of the public debate.

For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests or magistrates; for it is God s ordinance and not Man s; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together; for we marry none; it is the Lord s work, and we are but witnesses. [George Fox (1669)]

In a Quaker Meeting, couples whose marriages have been approved by a local Meeting marry each other in the presence of the community without officiating clergy. Our usual practice is only to approve the marriage of those couples where at least one of the partners has membership in our Religious Society.

Whether or not to support same-sex marriages is decided at the local Meeting level. Some Meetings have chosen to recognize marriage as open to both opposite and same-sex couples, and several have taken same-sex marriages under their care, even when these relationships were not recognized in law as marriages.

Our experiences and discernment on this issue have been partly shaped by the presence in our community of wonderful, loving, committed same-sex relationships.

We have experience of couples in same-sex relationships that are bringing up children in the same loving way we would expect any family we know to do. Love makes a family. We strongly object to statements by some religious groups that it is harmful to children to be brought up in same-sex families.

Whether a family is a loving and supportive place, or is a harmful place to bring up children, does not depend upon the gender of the parents. We support the right of religious groups (including individual Quaker Meetings) and clergy, to consent to or to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. We also support the right of same-sex couples to a civil marriage and the extension of the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

Approved by Canadian Yearly Meeting in session, August 8, 2003.

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CELO MONTHLY MEETING
Burnsville, North Carolina
Southern Appalachian YM and Association
1993

We believe Friends testimony of equality requires a single standard of treatment for all human beings and that all people share equally in the Light. We joyfully affirm our willingness as a Meeting to sanctify celebrations of marriage for both same and opposite gender couples. We intend to follow the order of Friends in arriving at clearness for all couples who are led to unite under our loving care.

March 28, 1993

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CENTRAL PHILADELPHIA MONTHLY MEETING
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia Yearly Meeting [FGC]
Minute for Same-Sex Marriage
January 1993

From our belief that there is that of God in everyone, flows our testimony on the equality of all persons. Thus, Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting affirms our willingness to celebrate marriages of all couples, including lesbian and gay, who have a substantial relationship with our meeting. In each case we will follow the same careful process of arriving at clearness in accordance with our traditional procedures. At every stage we intend to treat all couples with respect, care and love.

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CHAMISA PREPARATIVE MEETING
Preparative to Santa Fe MM, New Mexico; Intermountain Yearly Meeting
1/19/1989

We believe that Friends testimony of equality requires a single standard of treatment for all human beings and that all people share equally in the Light.

We acknowledge, uphold and witness relationships centered in love and recognize marriage as a holy covenant of commitment and unity between committed persons, including members of the same sex.

We believe that it is consistent with Friends’ historical faith and testimonies to adopt a single standard of treatment and care for all committed relationships in the meeting. We intend to follow the same traditional, careful process for all who wish to unite under our care. Relationships grow and change and we recognize our responsibility to offer tender care and support to the union as well as the individuals involved in it as they continue to grow in understanding and in the Light.

There exits in law an unequal practice which allows benefits to those labeled as heterosexual (married or not) that are denied to those labeled as homosexuals. Friends historically have counseled and followed a higher law.

Chamisa Friends Meeting (preparative) recognizes the certificate of marriage signed by those united and those present at the ceremony as the only public expression necessary to certify the marriage. We leave to those joined to register their marriage in a court of law with the Meeting’s support and witness.

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CHATHAM-SUMMIT MEETING

Minute on the Recognition and Celebration of Committed Relationships
Approved January 11, 2004
Summit Monthly Meeting (now Chatham-Summit Meeting)

"Just as there is that of God in every person, there is that of God in every relationship that calls upon God." New York Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice. It is our direct experience that the gifts of the Spirit are bestowed without consideration of gender, race, age, disability or sexual orientation--that there is "that of God" in everyone.

It is also our direct experience that committed, loving and spiritual relationships that are enduring, unselfish, mutually tender and supportive are greatly beneficial to individuals, to our Meeting community, and to society as a whole.

Quakers have traditionally recognized and celebrated such committed relationships in a religious ceremony under the care of the Meeting, in which the couple solemnly commits to a lifelong relationship based on love and faithfulness and relying on God's assistance.

This recognition and celebration is based on Friends' experience that these relationships are the work of the Spirit to which we are simply witnesses, and not of human ordinance.

We therefore affirm that we will hold meetings for worship to recognize and celebrate such commitments under the care of the Meeting, for couples (at least one of whom is a member of the Meeting) irrespective of gender, race, age, disability or sexual orientation.

Requests for such celebrations of commitment or marriage will be considered individually in the manner of Friends (including a process for clearness) and according to the principles and procedures as set down from time to time in Faith and Practice, the Book of Discipline of the New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, as applicable.

The Meeting acknowledges, and will make clear to any couple seeking to be joined under the care of the Meeting, that certain spiritual relationships recognized by Friends may not be recognized by secular authorities.

"For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests' or magistrates'; for it is God's ordinance and not man's; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together; for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses." George Fox, 1669

Summit Monthly Meeting 11th day, First Month, 2004

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CHESTNUT HILL MONTHLY MEETING of the Religious Society of Friends
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Adopted: April 1991

Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends holds itself ready to welcome requests for ceremonies of commitment to be held under the care and oversight of the meeting. Such ceremonies, following the traditional practices and procedures of Quakers, will affirm the union of a couple "before God and these our friends" without regard for the gender of the partners and with no requirement for state recognition or sanction of the unit.

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CLAREMONT FRIENDS MEETING
Claremont, California; Pacific Yearly Meeting
2/1990

Claremont Friends stated in their annual State of the Meeting Report that they had in the past year “attempted to increase our understanding of lesbian and gay persons” resulting in two minutes. (1) In October 1989 they minuted that gay and lesbian persons should enjoy equal opportunity and protection under law, and they seek to become more supportive of non-exploitive, loving relationships. (2) In February 1990, they “will consider requests for marriage and for other forms of solemn commitment under the care of the Meeting without discrimination based on gender. Procedures for clearness are described in Faith and Practice.

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COBSCOOK (ME)
July 18, 1993

Minute 93:43 The meeting addressed the issue of same gender marriages as New England Yearly Meeting requested we do. The meeting would apply the same guidelines and standards to such marriage as we would to a heterosexual marriage as outlined in New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice. We recognize that there are additional concerns (legal, economic, and social) involved in same gender marriages, but we have faith that the clearness committee overseeing such a marriage would thoughtfully address those both for the individuals involved and the meeting as a whole. This minute is the result of our beginning attempts to address this issue and we suspect it will evolve as we further pursue the matter.

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COLORADO SPRINGS MONTHLY MEETING
12/8/1991

Friends recognize that spiritually enriching relationships are those that are enduring and unselfish and provide mutual support and tenderness. We also recognize the particular need to offer loving support to those people who share same-sex relationships.

We believe that all people are equal in the sight of God and that committed relationships are founded on a spiritual bondedness and unity among ourselves and with God. Hence, it is consistant with Friend’s beliefs and testimonies to practice a single standard as outlined in our Faith and Practice for joining committed relationships under the care of the Meeting.

cc: IMYM Continuing Committee
Utah Friends Fellowship

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COLUMBIA (MO) MONTHLY MEETING
02/2008.

Columbia Friends Meeting affirms that everyone is welcome to attend and to participate in the activities of our meeting. Our intent is to practice no discrimination. We are here to worship God on the basis of silent waiting upon the word of God and to love God and to love and serve all peoples.

Columbia Friends Meeting welcomes all couples that request that Meeting take their proposed marriage, relationship, or commitment under its care. All couples approaching the Meeting with such a request will be expected to take on the same responsibilities and will be given the same privileges. Among these responsibilities is the requirement that at least one of the couple be well known to this Meeting and a member of the Religious Society of Friends. Another such responsibility is working with a Clearness Committee to determine whether there are any impediments to Meeting's care of this marriage. The Clearness Committee will then bring a recommendation about caring for this marriage to Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business for final approval. Columbia Friends Meeting is guided by the current Illinois Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice section on marriage.

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COLUMBIA (SC) MONTHLY MEETING
2/13/2000

The same term, marriage, will be used to designate the celebrations of commitment under the care of Columbia Monthly Meeting for both heterosexual couples and homosexual couples. The procedure of marriage under the care of the Meeting outlined in Faith and Practice shall be followed for all couples seeking clearness for marriage under the care of the Meeting. Ministry and Oversight is asked to recommend a series of queries for all couples concerning such topics as legal commitments, guardianship of child/parents, and inheritance issues.

Inherent rights afforded heterosexual couples are accepted by society at large and are provided for by the institution of marriage. Such unquestioned privileges include kinship and legal rights, shared health benefits, medical rights, rights of survivorship, child custody, contractual rights, and others. The Meeting looks to the day when every married couple will enjoy the full range of legal privileges and social acceptance, regardless of the respective genders of the members of the couple.

The meeting takes seriously its commitment to couples under its care and encourages them to turn to the Meeting for support and counsel.

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CONCORD FRIENDS MEETING (NH)
April 2002
Minute of Support for Gay, Lesbian & Transgendered Seekers:

Friends Meeting welcomes all seekers of God's Truth and Will. We recognize that of God in each person and cherish each person who joins our faith community. Diversity in experience and orientation enriches and strengthens us. We extend the hand of friendship to all those who desire to share in our worship. We are united as a faith community in welcoming individual seekers, whether heterosexual, homosexual or transgender. We will celebrate marriage for all couples after the manner of Friends if we find them clear in their commitment to be faithful to each other.

Concord Meeting has studied and prayed over this issue for a long time. Many have watched in gratitude as other meetings in the Quarter and the Yearly meeting struggled with this and concluded that they must support same gender relationships as lovingly and tenderly as those between a man and a woman. Others have struggled to understand how this could accord with their own understanding of scripture and the leadings of the Holy Spirit. While deeply concerned about the divisions that this issue is causing in the world-wide body of the Society of Friends, Concord Meeting feels drawn by the Spirit to move forward.

We have come to this leading through study of Scripture and Quaker writings as well as through spiritual experiences of many among us. Friends have never accepted the primacy of the written word over religious experience and, while the weight of tradition cannot be ignored, it cannot rule. Profound experiences of divine love moved early Friends to oppose slavery and the subjugation of women to their husbands, even though these practices were supported by Scripture and ancient tradition. This same divine love shared with our gay, lesbian and transgendered Friends moves us to declare this Truth.

We are in agreement that sexuality is a gift from God that should not be used for exploitation. We acknowledge that, for many, homosexuality is an unacceptable perversion. But our experience tells us otherwise. We have watched our brothers and sisters and children and ourselves blossom into fruitful lives only after accepting that being gay, lesbian or transgendered is the way some of us were created. We cannot cut these precious members of our congregation out of our hearts. We are concerned about the agonies caused to them, as they are unable to change their sexual attraction or gender identity. The lack of acceptance by our beloved Society, as well as by the society at large, contributes to their pain. This bias has caused some to pretend to be who they are not and caused immense pain and grief for themselves and others. Friends can no longer remain silent on this issue.

We recognize and lament that the wider society does not accord our sisters and brothers this same acceptance. We pray that we can find ways to help overcome these prejudices. As we work towards acceptance and celebration of gay, lesbian and transgendered individuals in the wider society, we will continue to pray and labor within the Religious Society of Friends to ensure that our loved ones are welcomed as whole and contributing members in our spiritual communities.

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CONNECTICUT VALLEY QUARTERLY MEETING
May 1, 2005

Support of Same-Gender Marriage The Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting of New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) supports the right of all adult couples to join in marriage and to enjoy its full legal benefits. We base our stand on our long held testimony of equality, that there is "that of God in every one" and in our understanding of marriage, that marriage is a spiritual union not imposed or defined by us. "For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests' or magistrates'; for it is God's ordinance and not man's; ... for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses," as George Fox, one of the first generation of Friends, wrote in 1669.

Six of the Quarter's nine Monthly Meetings have seen many gay and lesbian couples among them live out their commitment to one another in ways that have enriched the Meeting. Four Meetings have had the opportunity to take ten marriages under their care in the same manner as for heterosexual couples. It has been a gift to us to see how love is evident in the strength of these unions and families, despite the lack of legal support until recently. Indeed, such discrimination places a burden on the affected couples and on our community as a whole as we support them, especially in adoption, parenting, and end-of-life issues.

We will continue to work for equal rights, and strongly oppose denying rights to some of our families that are freely granted to others. We are heartened by the current existence of same-gender legal marriage in Massachusetts and by the state of Connecticut's decision to recognize civil unions. We oppose any law or constitutional amendment that restricts the right of gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. We feel the institution of marriage can only be strengthened when states extend the privileges, rights, and responsibilities of marriage to same-gender couples.

minute forwarded to New England Yearly Meeting
by CONNECTICUT VALLEY QUARTERLY MEETING
as approved at its session May 3rd, 1987

At the direction of the Quarter, Meetings in Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting have given attention to a minute on same-gender marriage approved by Hartford Meeting in March, 1986: The Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship based upon it. By tradition, the Meeting recognizes committedunion in a celebration of marriage under the care of the Meeting. The same loving care and consideration will be given to both same-sex and heterosexual applicants as outlined in Faith and Practice.

While some Meetings in the Quarter have endorsed the Hartford minute, the Quarter as a whole is not in unity on any minute concerning spiritual unions under the care of the Meeting for those who cannot have a legal marriage. We are in unity, however, that this consideration has led us to deep questioning of some important spiritual matters, and we wish to share our process with the Yearly Meeting, encouraging any other Meetings who feel so led to join us in our continuing seeking.

1.We have a concern for relationships of any status, whether officially under the care of the Meeting or not.
How do we nurture commitment among us?
How is it possible to recognize the spiritual union of souls at all?

2.We have separated legal union from spiritual union in our discussions, aware of early Friends practice of marriage under the care of Meetings which had no legal status. What is the Meeting's appropriate role in legal matters relating to marriage and divorce? Do we need to reexamine this role?

3.The larger question raised among us in considering this minute was: "What does marriage under the care of the Meeting mean?"

4.We are aware that there is an unequal legal practice which allows benefits to heterosexuals (whether or not they choose to be legally married) which are denied to homosexuals. We are aware that disabled persons and older persons may lose their social security benefits if they legally marry.

Among the questions raised by these realities are:

How does the law nurture committed relationships and of what concern is this to us?

How are we prepared to recognize and support what we discern as spiritual commitment when that commitment cannot be legally recognized?

What is the relationship of the Spirit and the law in questions of marriage?

In what ways are we as Meetings comfortable being "agents of the State?"

At the direction of New England Yearly Meeting session August 16, 1987, this minute is to be placed with the draft chapter on human sexuality for Living With Oneself and Others being sent by Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel to monthly meetings this year for their response.

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CROTON VALLEY MEETING
NYYM, Purchase Quarter
January 20, 2008

Friends considered the Scarsdale Monthly Meeting's minute regarding Friends United Meeting.

Croton Valley Meeting unites with this minute.

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DES MOINES VALLEY FRIENDS MEETING
Des Moines Iowa; Iowa Yearly Meeting [Conservative]
10/1989

We affirm our willingness as a meeting to participate in celebrations of marriage or celebrations of commitment in accordance with our traditional procedures, for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples, when one or both of the partners is a member or regular attender of our meeting. WE intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness and confirming the commitment for all couples who wish to unite under our care. At every stage we intend to treat all couples with the same respect, the same care, and the same status. Because relationships are growing and living entities, we recognize also our responsibility to continue to provide care and support for each relationship for both partners as individuals, in the same way that we strive to care for all individuals in the meeting.

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DETROIT MONTHLY MEETING
Lake Erie YM (FGC)
January 12, 1986

We believe it is a sacrament when two souls are united by love and wish to make a public commitment. A Friends Meeting can provide guidance, support and consecration. The Detroit Friends Meeting, therefore, offers to a couple – whether heterosexual or same sex couple – a marriage, or a “celebration of commitment,” wherein we give community recognition to a loving relationship. This is accomplished by following procedures outlined in Faith and Practice of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

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DOVER FRIENDS MEETING (NH)
January, 1996

Dover Friends Meeting commits itself to promoting acceptance and respect for the dignity of all loving couples (heterosexual and homosexual) whose relationship honors the sacredness of each partner's life and spirit as important to the life of the Meeting. We wish to support all individuals in such relationships and stand ready to take such relationships within our Meeting under our care.

Upon receiving an application, Dover Friends Meeting will provide a clearness process. If the couple is found clear, and if Meeting approves, members of the meeting will be invited to witness prayerfully to the couple's speaking their vows to each other in a designated meeting for worship, provide oversight for putting that relationship into as secure a legal foundation as possible, and seek to provide encouragement and guidance throughout the life of this couple.

In the case of a heterosexual couple, the legal foundation is provided through the state by the marriage license. In the case of a gay or lesbian couple, or a heterosexual couple not desiring a state license, Dover Friends Meeting will appoint an oversight committee to work with the couple to put into place the legal documents regarding the care of children, sharing and stewardship of material resources, separation agreement and wills, that approximate as much as possible the legal responsibilities and privileges of a heterosexual marriage.

The naming of the celebration will be left up to the couple with the help of the clearness committee appointed by the meeting. A couple may choose to call it a celebration of commitment, a celebration of union, or a celebration of marriage, keeping in mind that some members may not be comfortable with using the term "marriage" in this way.

We recognize that within our own meeting and within the larger Religious Society of Friends there are differences, even after many years of sincere search and prayer, in how each of us perceives the Truth. We have wrestled long and hard on this issue, holding fast to patience, good will, and a love for each other. We give thanks for the care and guidance of the Holy Spirit, for it is the Presence of Divine Love which transcends our differences to hold us in a deeper unity.

In April 1998, Dover Meeting approved removing the words in italics above from the minute. The remainder of the minute stands as approved in 1996.

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EASTON MONTHLY MEETING (NYYM)

Our experience has been that spiritual gifts are not distributed with regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. Our experience has been that our Gatherings and Central Committee work have been immeasurably enriched over the years by the full participation and Spirit-guided leadership of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer Friends. We will never go back to silencing those voices or suppressing those gifts. Our experience confirms that we are all equal before God, as God made us, and we feel blessed to be engaged in the work of FGC together.

We will continue to labor with our concerns about Friends United Meeting's staffing policy and hope to respond to it more directly in the future, as we see our way clear. Below is Easton Meeting's minute on marriage which we approved at our June 2003 Meeting for Business:

Easton Monthly Meeting affirms its willingness to solemnize celebrations of marriage for both same gender and opposite gender couples. It is the intent of Easton Meeting to follow the order of Friends as set forth in Faith & Practice of New York Yearly Meeting in arriving at clearness for all couples who are led to unite under the loving care of the Meeting.

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EGGEMOGGIN REACH FRIENDS MEETING (ME)
August 1994

As Friends we are lead to acknowledge and respect That of God within each individual and we have historically been lead to take action in support of the basic dignity and equality of all people.

Recently New England Yearly Meeting has asked us to consider our response to the issue of same-gender marriage. Following careful consideration we approve the following:

Upon request by a couple, Eggemoggin Reach Friends Meeting will recognize same-gender relationships through the same careful process we would use to arrive at clearness for all couples who wish to unite under our care, following Friends traditions and practices. Similarly, we recognize our responsibility to provide continuing nurture to such couples in the same manner as that accorded to heterosexual couples.

Acknowledging that there is as yet no legal recognition of marriage for same-gender couples and that there are many unique difficulties that such couples will face in society, it is our feeling that this action affirms the spiritual nature of a life-long commitment between partners. Further, we wish to affirm and celebrate the integrity and inner light of couples who make such a commitment, and to act lovingly, holding open our spiritual community in offering nurture and support to those who may have felt oppression by the prejudices of larger society.

We are aware that taking this step also calls us to deepen our understanding of marriage under the care of meeting and of support for all married and committed couples within our meeting.

EUGENE MONTHLY MEETING
Eugene, Oregon
North Pacific Yearly Meeting
1987

Among basic human rights, the freedom to love and marry is surely one of the dearest to the human heart. While many take this freedom for granted, those who love and marry persons of their own sex are often persecuted and encounter discrimination and violence. As a community of faith, dedicated to ideals of harmony and social justice and the inestimable worth of every child of God, we abhor this persecution, the prejudice and this violence.

Eugene Monthly Meeting of Friends therefore extends its loving care, and support to all individuals and couples in our community regardless of sexual orientation. We acknowledge and appreciate all relationships centered in love, and we recognize marriage as a covenant between God and two persons, regardless of gender.

May 31, 1987

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FARMINGTON (ME)
October 8, 1993

Farmington Friends Meeting honors commitments to be loving and faithful partners made in the presence of God. We honor such commitment in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Our Meeting endeavors to support such commitments between loving partners with respect and with sensitivity.

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FIFTEENTH STREET MEETING
NY Yearly Meeting
Inclusive Marriage Minute
(no date given)

This Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving covenant relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into such a relationship. By tradition, 15th Street recognizes committed union in a celebration of marriage under the care of the meeting. Loving care and consideration will be given to all couples in this process.

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FLOYD FRIENDS
Baltimore Yearly Meeting
November, 2010

Marriage is regarded by Friends as a spiritual commitment, a solemn covenant made in the presence of God and the Meeting between two people of any gender. Couples wishing to be married under the care of Floyd Friends must have the approval of the meeting. One member of the couple must be a member of Floyd Friends and must present written request at least 3 months prior to the wedding date, asking for oversight of the marriage. A small committee of Floyd Friends is appointed to inquire into the clearness of the couple for marriage.

Although marriage between same gender couples is not yet recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Floyd Friends consider this part of the law to be unjust. Each time the wedding of same gender couples occurs at Floyd Friends Meeting, with the permission of the couple, the Clerk of the Court in Floyd, VA is notified, as is the procedure with the marriage of any other couple. Our meeting offers suggestions and support for same gender couples who wish to make legal arrangements which will secure their rights as a couple.

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FORT LAUDERDALE FRIENDS MEETING (FL)
FLFM 2005-02-01:

Ft. Lauderdale Friends Meeting joyfully recognizes the diversity of sexual orientation within our religious community and affirms our support for all types of loving relationships. We affirm our willingness as a Meeting to hold celebrations of living commitment under our care, in accordance with our traditional procedures. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for all couples, regardless of gender, when one or both parties participates in our community as members or attenders. We acknowledge such unions to be committed, under the care of the Meeting, and in accordance with the Spirit, no matter what a couple may choose to name their union. We leave to the couple the characterization of their relationship. In cases where the laws of the State of Florida permit, the oversight committee will assist with arrangements to certify a union legally, upon request.

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FRAMINGHAM (MA)
February, 1996:

Framingham Monthly Meeting affirms our belief in that of God in every person. Furthermore, we attest that this belief embraces all persons regardless of sexual orientation. Framingham affirms that all couples, including those of the same gender, have equal opportunity to be married in the manner of Friends, under the care of the Meeting. The love between these couples, as it grows, will enrich their relationship, the Meeting and the World at large. The Meeting is committed to supporting these couples according to their need.

Framingham Meeting acknowledges the Certificate of Marriage signed by the couple and those present at the ceremony as the witness of Friends to the couple's spiritual union. Mindful that only mixed gender couples among us currently have the rights to legally sanctioned marriage and its privileges, the Meetings asks Friends and particularly couples preparing for marriage, to examine how best to respond and bear witness to the inequalities still present in the legal system.

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FRANKFORD MONTHLY MEETING (PA)
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Minute for Same-Sex Marriage
Approved November 17, 2002

"While most Friends' marriage ceremonies conform to civil law, couples who do not want, or are not eligible to contract, a legal marriage occasionally ask for a ceremony of commitment or wedding under the care of the Meeting. The Religious Society of Friends has long asserted its freedom to conduct under divine leading marriage ceremonies not conforming to civil law." Faith and Practice 1997, p 50.

"For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priest's or magistrates'; for it is God's ordinance and not man's; and therefore Friend's cannot consent that they should join them together: for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses." George Fox, 1669

Frankford Monthly Meeting wishes to affirm that we extend to all members of our community, whatever their sexual orientation, the same quality of love and support. We are one community of faith; we experience the varieties of love in our community as gifts of God. We affirm that we are all children of God and that we all have the same potential to reflect the Divine Light in our lives.

The Meeting is committed to nurturing all of the families within its community. We recognize that families composed of gay, lesbian, or bisexual parents and their children face additional difficulties in our society. The Meeting hopes to be a safe haven for these families and commits itself to providing special support to both the children and the parents. We strive to help all the Meeting's children learn to value and respect all individuals whatever their sexual orientation. For children who grow to understand their own sexual orientation or who believe themselves to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual, the Meeting wishes to offer support and affirmation.

Minute

Frankford Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship based upon it. By tradition the Meeting recognizes committed unions in a celebration of marriage under the care of the Meeting. The same loving care and consideration should be given to both same-sex and heterosexual applicants as outlined in Faith and Practice.

*****

In addition to the words from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's Faith and Practice, 1997 ed. and the quote from George Fox, we have borrowed liberally from the writings of other Meetings, including Northampton MM, Purchase MM, and Hartford (CT) MM, all in New England Yearly Meeting.

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FRESH POND (MA)
January 9, 1994

A couple marries in response to their love for each other and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. True marriage represents the spiritual union of two hearts and is not dependent upon outward forms or legal recognition. The meeting cares for and celebrates the marriage relationship but it is God who sanctifies the marriage. We believe that the Divine Light illuminates all loving and committed relationships. We therefore affirm that we will take under our care the marriage of gay and lesbian couples in the same manner that we do for heterosexual couples. We further undertake to support and nurture all families within our meeting whatever form they may take. We realize that this support will entail educating ourselves about the diverse needs of the families that comprise our community. We recognize that the unity we have found on this issue is not shared by Friends everywhere. We cherish God's spirit in others even if they are not in unity with us on this matter. We hope that Friends' continued search for guidance on this issue will not be a source of division but will lead to a deeper unity and love among all of us.

April 2004

Minute In Response To The Current Dialogue About Same-Gender Marriage

God dwells within and speaks to every individual, and enlivens every relationship. A resting place in the Spirit is both a feature and a requirement for all committed relationships. The love shared in such true relationships is a gift from God, and cannot be legislated.

We are deeply saddened as some of our lawmakers attempt to define marriage as a union only of a man and a woman. Equally, the public debate on the civil rights of gay and lesbian individuals and couples, which is important and necessary, feels deeply hurtful to all of us. It is especially painful to those among us whose rights, equality, and very humanity are being questioned so widely.

We pray that God will awaken in all of us an awareness of the privileges and responsibilities of God's love. We are cognizant of the work to be done among Christians and the wider world to support and ensure that the rights taken for granted among heterosexual couples are provided to same-gender couples. We are challenged to speak up clearly to counter the language and assumptions of those who would limit these rights.

We acknowledge that there are those in our community who are feeling marginalized and hurt, and give them our love, prayers, and support to them.

We also extend our prayers, too, to those who have been speaking and working against same-gender marriage. We have faith that an earnest seeking of Divine Guidance will yield a closer experience of God and the love therein.

Our community has been deeply enriched by our process of discernment about same gender marriage. We continue to be enriched by openness to all individuals and couples: gay, lesbian, and heterosexual. Our 1994 minute (see above) supporting same-gender marriage speaks to us now as it did then.

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FRIENDS HOUSE PREPARATIVE MEETING
London, England
London Yearly Meeting
Minute of the joint meeting of Elders and Overseers
1987

This minute results from discussion begun in March 1987, which considered documents from the USA and Australia, and follows minutes from Mount Street Preparative Meeting (November 15, 1986) and Hardshaw East MM (March 23, 1987)

We are united in believing that committed relationships are to be encouraged; that meetings have a responsibility for loving, careful support in helping such relationships to succeed.

Bearing in mind consideration of public offence and the possibility of division within the Society, we are nevertheless, sure that we must begin with people with where they are. Where a committed couple (gay, lesbian or heterosexual) apply to their Preparative Meeting for a meeting for Worship to recognise and make public their commitment to one another, we believe that Friends already have the means whereby such a Meeting could be held.

We hope that it might possible to make this more widely known and understood. By this, we believe, we may come to see our way forward in this matter by responding to expressed needs.

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FRIENDS MEETING OF WASHINGTON (DC)
Baltimore YM
12/13/1998

All unions of two persons that have received approval of the Worship and Family Committee and the Meeting for Business, as outlined in our Handbook, could be called “Marriages” without regard to the gender of the person involved. Friends recognize that some couples, regardless of their gender, may wish to call their union held under the care of the Meeting “a union of commitment,” and the Meeting will allow that nomenclature. Any couple whose union under the Meeting’s care had been called a “unon of commitment,” because the Meeting was not yet open to calling all unions under its care “marriages,” could at the request of the couple, be recorded in the records of the Meeting as a marriage.

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GERMANTOWN MONTHLY MEETING
Philadelphia; Philadelphia Yearly Meeting [FGC]
12/1988

A Confirmation of Commitment for same sex couples may be held under the care of the Monthly Meeting as evidence of a serious, committed, and enduring relationship which provides the framework within which spiritual growth can occur. The same loving care and consideration should be given to both same-sec and heterosexual applicants, drawing on the customary procedures as outlined in Faith and Practice.

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GREEN COUNTRY FRIENDS MEETING Tulsa, Oklahoma
South Central Yearly Meeting (FGC)
2002

Minute on same-gender marriage approved by Meeting: The Green Country Friends Meeting, along with the South Central Yearly Meeting, endorses the marriages of individuals under the care of the Monthly Meeting without regard to gender.

February 9, 2002

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GREEN STREET MONTHLY MEETING (PA)
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Statement on Same-Sex Marriage
Approved by Green Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends during their Meeting for Worship for Business on 10/17/04

We, the members of Green Street Monthly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), support the right of gay people to marry and to obtain the same legal rights through marriage as heterosexual couples. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's Faith and Practice defines marriage in this way: "Marriage is a sacred commitment of two people to love one another in faithful partnership." When two people, regardless of their sexual orientation, find themselves clear to enter into a lifelong commitment to love and care for each other, they should be encouraged to do so. We have observed among ourselves that same-sex marriage strengthens rather than weakens families. The presence and participation of our members who have formed such unions have enriched our community, and we want for them the same benefits under the law that are conferred upon persons in heterosexual marriages.

In 1994, our Meeting asked itself whether it could allow same-sex couples to marry under its care. In 1995, after active and careful deliberation, our Meeting reached unity on the decision that it could and, in fact, was obligated to do so in order to remain true to our Quaker testimonies deriving from the Christian responsibility to love God and one's neighbor.

Then, in the summer of 2002, two men requested permission to marry under the care of our Meeting. As is our practice, we formed a "clearness committee" and entered into a two-month process to determine whether these two persons were confirmed in their commitment to each other and were ready to undertake all that marriage entails. On October 19th, 2002, they married each other in the tradition of Friends in a called Meeting for Worship with their families and friends attending.

In so doing, these two men, like all married couples, agreed to a lifelong commitment of faithfulness, love and care for each other, subordinating their pursuit of individual gratification to the greater good of family well-being. Like other couples marrying under the care of our Meeting, they received the Meeting's blessings and support.

These two men have spoken about how the marriage clarified their relationship for themselves, their two families, their friends and the Meeting. The wedding provided a venue for them to receive the love and support of their families and community, and it also gave each of them something to rely on, the commitment of each man to watch over the other and to remain in the relationship even in the face of adversity.

Our Meeting's care for these two men and for their marriage has given us another opportunity to extend and share in the acceptance and love that Jesus Christ demonstrated for every person.

Fortunately, these two members of our Meeting can experience the spiritual and emotional aspects of marriage in their relationship to each other, their extended family and their community. They can also replicate several of the contractual arrangements of legal marriage through the use of wills, powers of attorney and so on. However, they still cannot benefit from the hundreds of accommodations made by the various levels of government to married couples. One very material example is that they cannot share in the use of each other's Social Security benefits, despite paying into the system at the same rates as other citizens. They are therefore left with greater uncertainty than other married couples about the circumstances that would arise if one partner died or became disabled.

The exclusion of the gay members of our community from fair treatment under the law demeans them and condemns them to a lesser status relative to our heterosexual members. For our religious society, which values equality as one of its basic testimonies, this condition is intolerable. We look to Jesus as our teacher and guide, and in His work we find the invitation to form an inclusive kingdom of God infused with God's love for all of His creation as well as the advice to love God and our neighbor.

The legal ostracism of gay people furthermore threatens the very ordinary, very established, very sustaining spiritual fellowship of the Green Street Friends Meeting and its Friends school. In our 200-year-old community, we unite to seek the will of God, while encouraging each other's individual spiritual journeys. Each of our members, whether gay or straight, coupled or single, contributes to the well being of every other member as well as to the soundness of the Society of Friends as a whole. Every individual is valued and respected. None is expendable, and none deserves to be deprived of the rights granted others. We cannot assent to a cultural standard that has no meaning in the day-to-day functioning of our sound community and that causes some of our members to suffer needlessly, thereby reducing the well being of us all.

To those who have questions about same sex marriage and how it affects a community, we would invite them to visit with us and see for themselves that the Kingdom of God on earth has a modest outpost in our community.

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Gunpowder Friends Meeting (Sparks, MD)
Approved October 2011

Over the past decade, our Meeting community has engaged in worship, deep listening, learning, and sharing of our experiences on same gender marriage. Members of the Ministry and Counsel committee have held several prayerful meetings this summer to reflect on what we have heard from the Meeting community during these years of discernment. We discern that the Sense of our Meeting is that we are now ready, as a community, to support the marriage of same gender couples. We will honor the traditional processes for clearness and oversight of the marriage of all couples who wish to be married under the care of our Meeting community.

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HALIFAX (Nova Scotia, Canada)
MARRIAGE: the Lord's work . . . we are but witnesses

For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests or magistrates; for it is God's ordinance and not Man's; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together; for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses.
George Fox (1669)

From our earliest days, in the mid seventeenth century, Friends have regarded marriage as a religious, not a mere civil compact. Marriage is a solemn contract made in the presence of God. Early Friends realized the importance of recording marriages which had taken place in Meetings for Worship and requested that the civil authorities recognize these marriages. They fervently maintained, however, that the right joining in marriage is the work of God only; it could not be done by priest, magistrate, or other appointed person, nor is it the act simply of the parties themselves.

Quaker marriages were conducted in Dartmouth in the Quaker whaling community that settled there in the 1780s. In 1972 a bill came before the Nova Scotia House of Assembly permitting the Society of Friends to perform marriages under the Marriage Act.

The decision on whether or not to support same-sex marriages in Canadian Yearly Meeting (the national group of Quakers) is taken at the local Meeting level. Halifax Monthly Meeting took that decision in 1994. As a meeting, after much prayerful consideration, it decided to take same-sex marriages under its care and to witness and perform marriages of same-sex couples. Since then, Halifax Monthly Meeting has taken under its care the marriages of two same-sex couples.

Halifax Monthly Meeting calls for a change to the Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage. We support the right of same-sex couples to a civil marriage and to the extension of the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. We also support the right of religious groups and clergy to consent to or refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

From our belief that there is that of God in every person flows our testimony in the equality of all persons. We believe it is consistent with Friends' history, faith and testimonies to follow a single practice for all those in committed relationships requesting our care, regardless of whether the couples involved are of the same sex or different sexes.

The Society of Friends has established certain procedures for the conduct of a marriage to be solemnized in a Friends' Meeting for Worship. Persons wishing to be married apply to the local congregation (Monthly Meeting) requesting to be married under their care. Usually at least one of the couple is an active participant in the local Quaker community. The Monthly Meeting appoints a committee to visit with the parties, to ascertain that there are no obstacles to the proposed marriage and to ensure that both parties understand the nature of marriage as understood by Friends. If the committee reports that the way seems clear to proceed with the marriage and the Monthly Meeting approves, a Meeting for Worship for Marriage is arranged. During the Meeting for Worship, both parties make their solemn promises. They sign a Certificate of Marriage which is then read to the whole Meeting by a person appointed for this task. At the end of the Meeting for Worship all present are invited to sign the certificate as witnesses. For heterosexual couples who so wish, the provincial marriage certificate may also be completed. Unfortunately at this time, this legal right is extended only to heterosexual couples. It is our belief that changes to legislation in Nova Scotia should be enacted to extend this right to same-sex couples.

As Friends we believe that a committed relationship is best entered into under a sense of Divine leading, with due care to avoid impulsive decisions which later can lead to much hurt. Such relationships are grounded in mutual respect, affection, honesty and commitment. They provide a framework in which spiritual growth can occur. Marriage is a life-long, living process; it is a vocation and a commitment to be loving and nurturing of one another. The wedding celebration is one specific occasion within that lengthy relationship. Notwithstanding the ideal, divorced persons are welcome to apply for marriage in a Friends' Meeting.

Minute of Halifax Monthly Meeting 2004-2 #4a

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HANOVER (NH)
November, 1989

Hanover Friends Meeting affirms our support of committed, loving relationships. We also affirm our willingness, as a Meeting, to celebrate marriages for all couples, whether same sex or opposite sex. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for any couple who wishes to unite under our care in accordance with our traditional procedures. As always, we intend to consider all requests of marriage with respect, care, and love.

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Harrisburg Monthly Meeting (Philadelpha Yearly Meeting)

The Religious Society of Friends, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and Harrisburg Monthly Meeting have a long history of providing a welcoming faith community that is open to all. It is the policy of Harrisburg Monthly Meeting to not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, age, physical or mental challenges, or gender/sexual preference, including through marriage or commitment ceremonies. For marriage and commitment ceremonies under the care of Harrisburg Monthly Meeting, we cherish all committed relationships in which there is an enduring, unselfish, and mutually devoted love between the two people.

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HARTFORD (CT)
March, 1986

The Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship based upon it. By tradition, the Meeting recognizes committed union in a celebration of marriage under the care of the Meeting. The same loving care and consideration should be given to both same-sex and heterosexual applicants as outlined in Faith and Practice.

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HUNTINGDON MEETING Religious Society of Friends
1622 Mifflin Street
Huntingdon, PA 16652
4/6/1997

In recognition of the Truth, which dwells within each one of us, we acknowledge that many kinds of loving relationships grow from Divine Spirit. We uphold the dignity and godliness of all loving relationships regardless of the gender of persons involved. We believe that our sexuality is a gift and recognize in it the potential to share and express pleasure and love.

As a meeting, we affirm and seek to provide spiritual care and nurture for all loving relationships led by the Light and grounded in mutual respect, affection, honesty, and commitment, whether the individuals are of the same or different sex. When any persons request to marry or to affirm their relationship in a ceremony of commitment under the care of the meeting, we will approach the clearness process with tenderness and respect.

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Minutes of ILLINOIS YEARLY MEETING
100th Annual Sessions from July 31st to August 4th, 1974, inclusive

Illinois Yearly Meeting is aware that there is great diversity in the relationships that people develop with one another. The worth of these relationships must not be judged on the basis of conventionality but rather to the degree that the relationship contributes to the growth of love in those affected.

Homosexual and bisexual people in this society are subject to serious discrimination in many areas: in employment, housing, medical care, family life education, parental rights, and the right to worship. We believe sexual acts in private between consenting adults should be removed from all criminal sanctions. Civil rights should be extended to protect homosexual and bisexual people just as they now protect other groups which suffer discrimination. We urge Friends and Friendly organizations to work for appropriate legislation.

Friends encourage everywhere the development of love and trust in human relationships. In this light, we urge Friends to explore and examine their knowledge and assumptions about sexuality, with special reference to homosexuality, with a view to achieving awareness of the possibility and potentials for growth, love, and trust in these and other intimate relationships.

[The minute] was approved, with expressions from Friends that discussion on the topic should continue.

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ITHACA MONTHLY MEETING
NYYM
1995, addition, 2006

Ministry & Oversight requested the following minute be considered in addition to our Marriage: Same Sex Unions Minute passed February 13, 1995: The IMMRSF, in deliberation on the subject of same-sex union, celebrates and supports the diversity of caring human relationships. We accept for Clearness for Marriage under the care of the Meeting any loving, committed relationship between two adults.

200605.3. Consideration of Previously Laid Over Minutes
A. Spiritual Gifts

The Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends agrees that spiritual gifts are distributed without regard to gender identity or to a person being heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgendered, and we affirm that we are all equal before God. Our Quaker testimony guides us to an all-embracing practice of human equality.

Ithaca Monthly Meeting approved this minute.

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KALAMAZOO FRIENDS MEETING

We joyfully affirm our willingness as a Meeting to sanctify celebrations of marriage for couples regardless of gender or sexual orientation.  We intend to follow the good order of Friends in arriving at clearness for all couples who are led to unite under our loving care.

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KENNETT SQUARE MONTHLY MEETING
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
(no date given)

After struggling with the issues, Kennett Square Meeting has approved using the term “marriage” to describe the union Sarah Lanahan and her partner Cate will be having in June. In 1992 the meeting minuted their welcome to members regardless of sexual orientation and their openness to same –sex couples who wish to have unions performed under the meeting’s care, but Sarah and Cate are the first same-sex couple to ask for a ceremony, and they specifically asked to be “married” under the care of the meeting. Their request was initially treated like any other. They went through the clearness process and were approved for marriage. Except that not everyone approved our calling it a marriage. After sincere and centered ministry during Meeting for Business, those who could not unite with using the term “marriage” chose to stand aside, and the marriage was approved.

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KICKAPOO VALLEY (WI) MONTHLY MEETING


Fall 1996

It is fundamental to Friends' faith and practice that we affirm equality and integrity of all human beings. Equally, we hold that the purpose of recognizing and affirming committed relationships is to strengthen our families and communities.

Therefore it is our belief that it is consistent with Friends' historical faith and testimonies that we practice a single standard of treatment for all committed relationships.

Given that the State offers legal recognition of opposite-gender marriage and extends significant privileges to couples who legally marry, we believe that a commitment to equality requires that same-gender couples be granted the same rights and privileges.

Therefore, we believe that the State should permit gay and lesbian couples to marry and share fully and equally in the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

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KITCHENER AREA MONTHLY MEETING
Canada Yearly Meeting
Kitchener, Ontario
Approved June 14, 1998

Minute on Marriage

The Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into permanent relationship based on it. By tradition, the Meeting recognizes commited union in a celebration of Marriage under the Care of the Meeting. The same loving care and consideration should be given to both same sex and heterosexual applicants in accordance with Friends testimonies.

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LANCASTER MONTHLY MEETING
Lancaster, PA
Original 1/12/1998

In January of 2008, our meeting approved a revision of our original 1998 minute on committed relationships. Here is the text:

Minute on Committed Relationships
Under the Care of Lancaster Monthly Meeting

Loving relationships undergird a peaceful society for all people and are an essential block in the foundation of the Religious Society of Friends. We believe that God's love is given to all. As Gods love shines out from us, it strengthens all our relationships. We attest to the importance of ones individual search for God's will and to the importance of committed, loving relationships on lifes path.

We of Lancaster Monthly Meeting support all committed relationships wherein is an enduring, unselfish and mutually devoted love between two people regardless of gender. We affirm our willingness to take such committed couples under the care of our Meeting. These committed relationships may have different names: most commonly marriage, but also union or covenant. Although not all committed relationships are presently recognized by the State, we hold all to be sacred commitments in the eyes of God, the couple, and our community. We will witness and celebrate such commitments for any couple in which one or both partners are members of our Meeting, with the recommendation of a Lancaster Monthly Meeting clearness committee and following the procedures outlined in Philadelphia Yearly Meetings Faith and Practice (1997).

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LANSDOWNE PENNSYLVANIA MONTHLY MEETING OF FRIENDS
(no date given)

From our belief that there is that of God in everyone flows our testimony on the equality of all persons. Thus, Lansdowne Friends Meeting affirms our willingness to consider clearness for marriage for all couples, including same sex couples, who have a substantial relationship with our meeting. In each case we will follow the same careful process of arriving at clearness in accordance with our traditional procedures. At every stage we intend to treat all couples with respect and love.

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Lexington Monthly Meeting
December 12, 1992

Lexington Friends Meeting is committed to honoring a request to seek clearness from any member wishing to join with another person in union under the care of the Meeting. Because same-gender couples may desire community affirmation of their relationships, the Meeting offers them its guidance and support. We respect the right of couples to designate their relationship in the terms they wish. As in all unions under the care of the Meeting, the marriage procedure in the OVYM Book of Discipline will serve as a guide. We recognize our responsibility to continue to provide care and support for each relationship, for both partners as individuals, and for children of the relationship.

Minute 92-44
Adopted 12/6/92 by the
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business
Lexington Friends Meeting
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

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LOGAN MONTHLY MEETING
Logan, Utah; Intermountain Yearly Meeting
7/1989

With our meeting’s growing appreciation for the diversity of sexual orientation within our community, we now affirm our willingness to hold marriages for loving partners whether of same or opposite sex. We see this inclusiveness of our love for all people seeking marriage as a growing strength for our meeting. WE intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for any couple, regardless of sexual orientation, which should wish to unite under our care when one or both of those partners participate in our meeting as members or attenders. As Friends, we seek to follow the leading of the Light in our relationships with persons of varying sexual orientation. In so doing, we recognize that the various reflections of the Light all deserve our loving concern.


The following minute was passed by Logan Monthly Meeting in Logan, Utah in September, 2004 and then, after a season of seasoning by Utah Friends Fellowship in January, 2005.

MINUTE ON EQUALITY OF MARRIAGE RIGHTS
It is fundamental to Quaker faith and practice that we honor the equality and integrity of all human beings. Therefore, it is our belief that it is consistent with Quakers' historical faith and testimonies that we practice a single standard of treatment for all couples who wish to be married. Given that the State offers legal recognition of opposite-gender marriage and extends significant privileges to opposite-gender couples who legally marry, we believe that a commitment to equality requires that all couples who wish to be married have the same rights and privileges. Therefore, we believe that the State should extend the rights and responsibilities of marriage to all couples regardless of sex or gender.

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MADISON MONTHLY MEETING
Madison, Wisconsin
Northern Yearly Meeting (FGC)
1987

We affirm our willingness as a Meeting to participate in celebrations of marriage, in accordance with our traditional procedures, for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples when one or both of the partners is a member of our Meeting. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for all couples who wish to unite under our care. At every stage we intend to treat all couples with the same respect, the same care, and the same status. Because relationships are growing and living entities, we recognize also our responsibility to continue to provide care and support for each relationship and both partners as individuals, in the same way that we strive to care for all individuals in the meeting.

December 6, 1987

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MEETING FOR SUFFERINGS
(The executive branch of LONDON YM)
July 4, 1987

Minute 63 of Hardshaw East Special Monthly Meeting, 22 March 1987 has been received, and has been introduced by Susan Hartshome.

We recognise that many homosexual people play a full part in the life of the Society of Friends. This minute asks us whether we accept fully their relationships. There are homosexual couples who consider themselves to be married and believe that this is as much a testimony of divine grace as a heterosexual marriage. They miss the public recognition of this in a religious ceremony even though this could have no legal significance.

We have found the word ‘marriage’ difficult, but we are clear that we have a responsibility to support all members of our meetings and to uphold them in their relationships. We can expect that some homosexual couples will ask their meetings for a celebration of their commitment to each other. Meetings already have the means whereby meetings for worship can be held for this purpose but we recognise that many find this a difficult matter. The acceptance of homosexuality distresses some Friends.

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MEDIA FRIENDS MEETING
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
June 2, 2013

Minute for Marriage Equality

Friends see weddings as the affirmation and celebration of a spiritual union between loving adults. Media Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends offers this minute in support of marriage as a sacred commitment to love one another in faithful partnership. We believe that marriage under the care of the Meeting is a spiritual and communal experience. We consider all requests for marriage by those who have a relationship with our Meeting in the spirit of equality. We do this with care, respect, and love, guided by The Spirit and in the good order of Friends as described in Faith and Practice, honoring how we are all uniquely created in the image of Spirit.

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MEMPHIS MONTHLY MEETING
Southern Appalachian YM and Association
(no date given)

Applications by couples, whether of the same or opposite gender, to be married under the care of meeting, shall be given the same tender, careful consideration. In Friends tradition, marriage takes place in a community of faith. Whether the couple calls their relationship a marriage or a commitment, we affirm the validity of the covenant. We look forward to the day when all couples who so wish enjoy the full recognition and entitlements of marriage.

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MIDCOAST (ME)
April, 1996

Midcoast Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends rejoices in the love between two people as one of the greatest gifts of God. The religious life of the Meeting offers continuing tender support to all couples in our Quaker community who wish to express their love and commitment to one another in a permanent relationship. The same loving care and consideration will be given both to same-gender and heterosexual couples who request marriage under the care of the Meeting. The process for approval will follow the good order of Friends as described in Faith and Practice.

Second Minute, January, 1990:

The same term, marriage, will be utilized to designate the celebrations of commitment for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

The procedure for marriage under the care of the Meeting outlined in Faith and Practice shall be followed for all couples seeking clearness for marriage under the care of the Meeting. Ministry and Counsel is asked to recommend a series of queries for all couples regarding such topics as legal commitments, guardianship of children/parents, and inheritance issues.

The Meeting looks forward to the day when all married couples will enjoy the full range of civil privileges and social acceptance.

The Meeting takes seriously its commitment to couples under its care, and it encourages them to turn to the Meeting for support and counsel.

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MIDDLEBURY FRIENDS MEETING
Middlebury, Vermont; New England Yearly Meeting [FGC & FUM]
6/25/1989

We joyfully affirm our willingness as a Meeting to sanctify celebrations of marriage for both same and opposite gender couples. We intend to follow the good order of Friends in arriving at clearness for all couples who are led to unite under our loving care.

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MIDDLETOWN FRIENDS MEETING
Middletown, CT; New England Yearly Meeting
September 2001

The Middletown Friends Meeting endorses the 1992 Storrs Meeting minute as follows: The Meeting commits itself to promoting acceptance, dignity and respect for people of same-sex orientation. Any loving relationship that honors the sacredness of each partner's life and spirit should be embraced by the Meeting. We affirm that we should support all individuals in such relationships including, but not limited to, an offering of the benefits of a public celebration of mutual commitment. It is the privilege of the couple to call their union by any name they choose. The process for publicly recognizing this union shall follow the customary procedures as outlined in Faith and Practice.

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MILWAUKEE MONTHLY MEETING
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Northern Yearly Meeting (FGC)
1987

Friend’s testimony of equality requires a single standard of treatment for all human beings. We are all equal in the sight of God, and our committed relationships are founded on a spiritual bondedness and unity among ourselves and with God that is not determined by our gender or our sexual orientation. We believe it is consistent with Friends’ historical faith and testimonies to adopt and practice a single standard of treatment for all committed relationships that are under our care.

Therefore, we now affirm our willingness as a meeting to hold celebrations of loving commitment under our care, in accordance with our traditional procedures, for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples, when one or both of those partners participate in our community. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for any couple, regardless of sexual orientation, who should wish to unite under our care.

We are aware of the diversity of attitudes toward the term ‘marriage’ and leave to the couple the characterization of their relationship. The event can be called a ‘celebration of commitment’ or a ‘celebration of marriage.’

September 1987

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MONADNOCK (NH)
October, 1995

Monadnock Monthly Meeting will set up a clearness committee for marriage for any couple which requests it, as long as at least one of the couple is a member or regular attender of this meeting. We will not discriminate on the basis of age, race, or sexual orientation.

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MONTHLY MEETING OF THE FRIENDS OF PHILADELPHIA
Minute for Same-Sex Marriage
Approved December, 2004

Minute 12: From our belief that there is that of God in everyone flows our testimony on the equality of all persons. Thus, Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia affirms its intention to support those couples in our Meeting community, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, who have found a love that has led them to marry. The Meeting extends its loving care through its oversight of clearness for all couples. If clearness is found, the Meeting will celebrate the union with careful attention to a meeting for worship for marriage. In each case we will follow the same careful process of arriving at clearness in accordance with our traditions and procedures as stated in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's Faith and Practice (Revised June 2002).

At its Monthly Meeting for Business, sixth month 11, 2006, the following minute was approved:

Montclair Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends affirms the right of any F/friend to form a lasting and meaningful relationship based upon integrity, mutual love and commitment. Such a relationship will be respected and upheld by the Monthly Meeting in all matters spiritual and temporal.

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MONTCLAIR FRIENDS MEETING
Montclair, NJ
New York Yearly Meeting
1991

Marriage Minute

Montclair Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends affirms the right of any Friend to form a lasting and meaningful relationship based on integrity, mutual love and commitment. Following our clearness process, such a relationship will be respected by and may be celebrated by the Monthly Meeting.

6th Month 9, 1991

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MORNINGSIDE MONTHLY MEETING
New York City
New York Yearly Meeting (FUM, FGC)
(no date given)

Morningside MM offers guidance and support to all couples who desire community recognition of their relationship. This includes heterosexual and homosexual couples, one of whom is a member of the Society of Friends. The meeting respects the right of the couple to name their relationship.

All of this is accomplished by following, in so far as possible, the marriage procedures outlined in New York Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice giving comprehensive attention to the implications of the proposed relationship.

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MOUNT TOBY (MA)
January, 1987

Endorsed Hartford's minute, suggesting that the word "should" in the final sentence be changed to "will." [NOTE: This change was made in the minute brought to Yearly Meeting in 1987 by Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting.]

Excerpt of minutes: "As we come closer to a shared vision of a future that extends all the same rights to homosexual couples as are now enjoyed by heterosexual couples under the law, we must be prepared to take even what seem to be small steps to achieve this end. Our acceptance of the Hartford minute is our first step.... Our vision of marriage will not be complete until the unification of the legal and the spiritual is complete and available to all."

May 23, 2004

Minute 3. On January 16, 1993, Friends gathered in the presence of God to witness the marriage of W B and L F at the Mt. Toby meetinghouse [21 January 1993, minute 5]. Mt. Toby Meeting approved taking this marriage under our care in accordance with the usage of our Society. Our customary practices of clearness and oversight were duly minuted in meetings for business on the following dates: 16 July, 1992, minute 6; 23 August, 1992, minute 2; 17 September, 1992, minute 2. At the time of this marriage the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts did not permit WB and LF, a same-sex couple, to be legally married. Effective May 17, 2004, same-sex couples can be married under the laws of the Commonwealth. WB and LF have requested that Mt. Toby Meeting now solemnize their marriage for purposes of its legal recognition.

We approve affirming this marriage for purposes of its legal recognition. This affirmation will be conducted within the next month at a regular meeting for worship at the Mt. Toby meetinghouse and will constitute our solemnization of this marriage. We authorize the Clerk of the Meeting to sign the marriage license at the conclusion of the solemnization.

November 2004
Minute of Happiness

Historically, Friends have affirmed that marriage is not primarily a social or legal event, but a spiritual one. George Fox wrote "For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests or magistrates; so it is God's ordinance and not Man's."

In 1987 Mt. Toby affirmed "the goodness of committed, loving relationships," and desired to extend to samegender couples among us the possibility of taking their relationships under the care of the meeting. We offered "recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship based upon it. The same loving care and consideration will be given to both same-sex and heterosexual applicants as outlined in Faith and Practice." Since that time we have taken three same-gender marriages under our care.

All residents of Massachusetts can now be married under the law, and a number of same-gender couples within our meeting have taken this step.

We are happy for all those among us who have wished to be legally married or take other steps in their commitment as couples who may now do so.

We are glad there may be openings for changes in other crucial issues that deeply impact gay and lesbian people and their families. This affects all of our lives and our community.

We encourage members of our community to continue working to preserve this important right and extend it to other areas not yet covered

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MOUNTAIN VIEW FRIENDS MEETING
5/21/1995

When two individuals, at least one of whom is a member or attender of our Meeting, request that their union be recognized and taken under the care of Mountain View Friends Meeting, we will appoint a clearness committee to meet with them to discern the nature, clarity and strength of their leading. The committee’s task is to help the couple and the Meeting reach unity whether it is with God’s leading that they enter into a commitment to each other, that there are no serious impediments to their ability to sustain a life-long relationship, and that their relationship may be expected to flourish by their love for each other within the Spirit.

The responsibility of a Friends Meeting to any couple under its care is to nurture the steadfastness of their commitment to each other and to God. We will support all committed Spiritually-centered relationships with our respect and love.

We affirm our willingness as a Meeting to celebrate the commitment of two people regardless of gender to live out their lives in a permanent and exclusive union.

The Meeting asked the Oversight Committee to bring the current marriage procedure into conformity with this minute and report back to the monthly meeting.

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Multnomah Monthly Meeting
September 5, 1996

Minute 9-96-5:

Multnomah Monthly Meeting believes in the rights of all adults to marry regardless of sexual orientation or gender composition of the couple. The State should recognize the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitments of civil marriage.

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NARRAMISSIC VALLEY MEETING (ME)
April 1994

Friends at Narramissic Valley Meeting believe that marriage, and particularly marriage under the care of a Quaker Meeting, is not a commitment to be taken lightly. The Meeting, and especially its duly appointed committee on clearness, bears a responsibility to assure itself that the couple is entering into marriage not only lovingly but wisely as well. We believe that a Quaker Meeting must exercise the same care whether the couple is homosexual or heterosexual.

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NASHVILLE FRIENDS MEETING (TN)
June 9, 1996
Minute on Same-Sex Marriages

"In 1669 George Fox described it [marriage] this way: 'For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests or magustrates; for it is God's ordinance and not Man's; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together; for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses.'"

(Quote from Jan Hoffman, "Clearness Committees for Marriage or Commitment," in Pastoral Care Newsletter, II:4, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, May, 1995.)

We recognize that faithful, spiritual and committed relationships exist within same sex and mixed sex couples. A couple in such a relatonship, at least one of the partners being a member or regular attender of this Meeting, may be led to seek the Meeting's recognition and spiritual affermation by requesting that their relationship be formally taken under the care of the Meeting. On receiving such request the Meeting shall undertake the processes of clearness and oversight, following the Guide to our Faith and Our Practice of our Yearly Meeting. If the result is a wedding or ceremony of commitment under care of the Meeting, we recognize the certificate signed by all present at the called meeting for worship as the only formal expression necessary to witness the couple's union.

Queries to facilitate this process:

Do we affirm all relationships within the meeting community as being, in some sense, under the pastoral care of our meeting?

How do we provide ongoing care, support, and attention to the relationships under our care?

Are we mindful of the legal and social privileges accorded to members in a heterosexual marriage, and supportive of those excluded from such provoleges? Are we willing to work to remedy legal inequities and discrimination?

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NEW BEDFORD FRIENDS (MA)
April 2000

New Bedford Friends are an open and affirming Christian community. In the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, we offer fellowship to all religious seekers, diverse as they may be. Consequently, we approve of same-gender marriage.

We believe that marriage within the Meeting is a spiritual and communal commitment. Any couple affiliated with our Meeting, whether heterosexual or homosexual, may request a clearness committee for marriage. If approved by the committee and the Meeting, the couple may be married under our care.

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NEW BRUNSWICK MONTHLY MEETING (NJ)
June 16 1996

As Friends we understand marriage to be a spiritual union between two people. New Brunswick Monthly Meeting will consider all requests to be married under the care of the Meeting withoug regard to gender.

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NEW ENGLAND YEARLY MEETING

Minute 2005-55 (August 2005)
Bonner McAllester, clerk of Connecticut Valley QM, read a minute in support of same gender marriage that grew out of twenty years of seasoning in their Quarter. This is their carefully discerned witness and Friends are asked to take it home to share with their own monthly meetings to enrich their own discernment process.
The May 1, 2005 Minute in Support of Same-Gender Marriage is then printed.

NEYM Minute 2007-67 (August 2007)
Minute of Commitment

We commit ourselves as individuals and as a yearly meeting to work with one another in witnessing God's movement among us by doing the following:
  • Engage in conversation about the deepest meanings of family, marriage and committed relationships and explore what it means to have all of these under the care of meeting.
  • Support the work of our M&C working party on Sexuality and Ethics. We need to articulate our sexual ethics and the spirituality of sex.
  • Re-distribute NEYM Minute 2005-55, Connecticut Valley Quarter Minute in Support of Same Gender Marriages, and ask MM to season and test this issue and forward the results to their QMs in preparation for bringing them to YM Sessions in 2008 for discernment.
We commit ourselves to undertake this work in love and forbearance, caring tenderly for one another. We acknowledge that there is great pain in our community felt by the people who are affected at the deepest levels of their identity and relationships by the homophobia that exists within New England Yearly Meeting. We also acknowledge the great pain felt by those for whom this issue has challenged their deepest beliefs about marriage and rightly ordered sexual behavior according to their understanding of God's will. We recognize that these actions ask all of us to re-examine our most deeply held beliefs. It is hard for us to challenge each other. We need our behavior and words to be tender as we explore hard topics. We commit ourselves to undertake this work by educating ourselves, by exploring these issues within our monthly and quarterly meetings and by undertaking intervisitation within NEYM. We seek healing, wholeness and God's blessing as we move forward.

References to relevant legal and political decisions in New England:

On Nov. 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same- and opposite-sex couples must be given equal marriage rights under the state constitution. (This right was secured June 14, 2007 when at a Constitutional Convention the Legislature defeated (151-45) a proposal to put an amendment to the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman on the ballot in the 2008 election. This was the last of the three Constitutional Conventions required for putting that amendment on the ballot.)

On April 20, 2005, Governor Jodi Rell signed into law a bill passed by the Connecticut legislature making civil unions for same-sex couples legal in that state. [This happened BEFORE Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting's May 2005 minute.]

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NEW HAVEN (CT)

July, 1989
endorsed Hartford (CT) minute

April 2002

New Haven Friends Meeting reaffirms its minute on same-gender marriage or committed relationships from July 1989, "The Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship based upon it. By tradition, the Meeting recognizes committed union in a celebration of marriage under the care of the Meeting. The same loving care and consideration should be given to both same-sex and heterosexual applicants as outlined in Faith and Practice."

New Haven Friends Meeting endorses the right to civil marriage as it has already recognized religious marriage. This is with the understanding that even after civil marriage becomes available to same-gender couples, religious organizations will retain the right to decide for themselves whether to perform or recognize any marriage, just as they already do for every couple.

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NEW PALTZ MONTHLY MEETING
6/21/1998

We, the members of the New Paltz Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, support equality in unions of life commitment or marriage and all the legal benefits, rights, and responsibilities customarily associated with marriage. We have struggled with the use of the term “marriage.” There are Friends among us who prefer to use the term “marriage” to apply only to heterosexual unions. WE as a Meeting support the right of the couple to name their own union. We all join to uphold the spiritual unions of all couples regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

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NORTH SHORE (MA)
July 23, 1993

Minute On Same Gender Unions

We at North Shore Meeting recognize that the Divine Light shines with equal brightness in all loving and committed relationships, whether straight or gay. We believe that we are called and ready to support, recognize and celebrate all such relationships, holding them in the Light and participating in the public celebration of such commitment. We believe that marriage is fundamentally a spiritual union, brought about by the Inner Light in the hearts, minds, and lives of two people. A wedding or celebration of commitment is a public statement and recognition of such a spiritual union in which, in the presence of God and before assembled Friends, each promises, with divine assistance, to be loving and faithful unto the other for as long as they both shall live. Therefore, we affirm that if a couple comes before us requesting such a ceremony, we will appoint a clearness committee for them, provided that at least one person in that couple be a member or regular attender at our meeting. If the couple is found to be clear for union, we will hold a celebration of loving commitment under our care, in accordance with traditional procedures. We are aware of the diversity of attitudes towards the term "marriage" and leave to the couple the characterization of their relationship. We note that one Friend was unable to accept the use of the term "marriage" for same-gender unions.

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NORTHAMPTON (MA)

February 1994

Northampton Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship based upon it. By tradition, the Meeting recognizes committed union in a celebration of marriage under the care of the Meeting. The same loving care and consideration will be given to both same-sex and heterosexual couples as outlined in Faith and Practice.

The Meeting shares a vision of a future that extends all the same blessings and legal rights to homosexual couples as are now enjoyed by heterosexual couples. The Meeting's vision of marriage will not be complete until the unification of the legal and the spiritual is complete and available to all.


Minute on Sexual Orientation
June 9, 1996

Northampton Friends Meeting wishes to affirm that we extend to all members of our community, whatever their sexual orientation, the same quality of love and support. We are one community of faith; we experience the varieties of love in our community as gifts of God. We affirm that we are all children of God and that we all have the same potential to reflect the Divine Light in our lives.

Our faith underlies these affirmations:

First, concerning the spiritual basis of our beliefs, as a group our hearts resonate deeply with the biblical injunctions to "love God" and to "love your neighbor as yourself." We experience all forms of loving relationships as manifestations of God's love on earth.

Second, we believe that Friends' testimony on equality is central to our Quaker faith. Just as Friends have historically witnessed for equality among all races and both sexes, so do we now witness for equality among people of all sexual orientations. We understand equality not as sameness but as equality of respect.

Third, we affirm that our sexuality and sexual identity are integral components of who we are, not separate from who we are as spiritual beings. For lesbian, gay and bisexual members of the community, this allows for a wholeness of being, a feeling of personal unity within the context of the community. We bring our whole selves to our relationship with the Divine and find that sexuality within a loving relationship, whether homosexual or heterosexual, has the potential to bring us closer to God.

We as a Meeting feel we have been blessed by the presence and participation of lesbians, gays and bisexuals as individuals and, for some, as partners in same sex couples. We are committed to providing spiritual care and acceptance to all these individuals, believing that the spiritual growth of each person best ripens in the context of a community of faith and with the support and loving regard of that community. Furthermore, we are committed to seeking out ways to actively provide that love and support, being mindful of the oppression lesbians, gays and bisexuals face in our society.

At the first Meeting for business of the newly formed Northampton Friends Meeting in February, 1994, the following minute was joyfully adopted:

Same Sex Marriage

The Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship based upon it. By tradition, the Meeting recognizes committed union in a celebration of marriage under the care of the Meeting.

The same loving care and consideration will be given to both same-sex and heterosexual applicants as outlined in Faith and Practice.

The Meeting shares a vision of a future that extends all the same rights to homosexual couples as are now enjoyed by heterosexual couples under the law. The Meeting's vision of marriage will not be complete until the unification of the legal and the spiritual is complete and available to all.

We recognize the additional difficulties faced by same sex couples in our society and commit ourselves to remaining vigilant and informed in our care of these couples. We further acknowledge that same sex marriages and celebrations of commitment are taking place in the wider Quaker community. Should one of these couples move to our Meeting, we will support their relationship as we would any other couple married under our care.

The Meeting is committed to nurturing all of the families within its community. We recognize that families composed of gay, lesbian or bisexual parents and their children face additional difficulties in our society. The Meeting hopes to be a safe haven for these families and commits itself to providing special support to both the children and the parents. We strive to help all the Meeting's children learn to value and respect all individuals whatever their sexual orientation. For children who grow to question their own sexual orientation or who believe themselves to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual, the Meeting wishes to offer support and affirmation.

The Meeting commits itself to promoting acceptance, dignity and respect for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are still struggling to be granted full civil and human rights in this and in other societies. We stand together in this struggle for justice. We oppose social, economic, and legal discrimination and all forms of violence against anyone based on sexual orientation. Heterosexual Friends will thus share with lesbian, gay and bisexual Friends the responsibility of protecting their safety and their rights. We are committed to carrying out the spirit of this Minute within our own Meeting, within the larger Quaker community and in the world at large. As a Meeting and as individuals, we seek to heed the movement of the Spirit leading us to both recognize and act to redress the array of affronts, injustices and violence encountered by lesbians, gays and bisexuals.

Through our collective struggle with issues related to gender and sexual orientation, our Meeting has experienced much joy, much pain, and important community and individual growth. In adopting this Minute, we affirm our commitment to continue this important work. We trust that in proceeding faithfully we will receive the gifts that all our ways of loving bring and the clarity and strength to carry out our readings.

* * * * *

We have borrowed liberally the words and concepts expressed in the writings of other Meetings. We used a compilation entitled "Minutes on Same-Gender Marriage of Meetings in New England Yearly Meeting." We wish to acknowledge with gratitude the following Meetings whose thoughts and beliefs have contributed greatly to our Minute on Sexual Orientation: Mt. Toby Monthly Meeting, Beacon Hill Monthly Meeting, Belfast (Maine) Monthly Meeting, Storrs Monthly Meeting.

Additionally, we were informed by written materials prepared as part of our Meeting's previous considerations of lesbian and gay issues. The statements on "equality" are taken from New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice (p. 179)

[Northampton by minutes provided Bruce Hawkins, Northampton (Mass.) Friends Meeting War Tax Resistor -- support the Peace Tax Fund and conscientious resistors]

April 2004

Minute on Marriage As a Quaker Meeting compelled by the Spirit to nurture and support those who are clear for marriage under our care, we welcome the recent developments in Massachusetts that diminish the discrimination against same gender couples and afford them equal access to legal marriage. This opening for the advancement of social justice for gay and lesbian couples is now in jeopardy at the state and federal levels. We report that on the fourteenth day of Third Month, a message in Meeting for Worship arose from one Friend calling upon us to fulfill more effectively our pastoral responsibility to couples already married, or seeking marriage, under our care. From this gathered meeting comes the following minute:

Northampton Friends Meeting calls on the help and discernment of our Quaker brethren in all states of New England Yearly Meeting to affirm our Meeting's leading to have same gender marriage recognized by law, and to heed and celebrate their loving ministry and its fruit in our heart where the Spirit dwells.

We are compelled to ask the Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting and New England Yearly Meeting to unite with us in our corporate sense that we are following Divine Guidance:

  • as we do all that we can do to help the Massachusetts courts, legislature and electorate to expedite the proceedings required by the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision,
  • as we labor to persuade the legislature and the electorate in Massachusetts to refrain from amending its Constitution to insert any explicit denial of civil rights restricting the right to marry,
  • as we labor to dissuade the U.S. federal authorities from pursuing any nation-wide restriction on the right to marry,
  • as we travel through the Yearly Meeting to testify on this concern, and as we invite the Yearly Meeting to come among us to hear and see and feel what we experience as we struggle to be faithful to this leading.

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NORTH MEADOWS CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
Indianapolis, Indiana
Western YM (FUM) and Ohio Valley YM (FGC)
1987

Friends universally recognize marriage as a religious experience. North Meadows Circle of Friends seeks to bring a religious spirit to all relationships and to make special partnership permanent. As relationships grow into commitments, marriages are solemnized by God and the partners, and Friends witness this union, customarily called “marriage.”

For over 300 years, Meetings and the new family have invited all present to sign the Certificate of Marriage as witnesses to their commitment. North Meadows Circle of Friends continues the belief that the Certificate of Marriage is the only necessary public expression of this union.

We at North Meadows Circle of Friends affirm the equal opportunity of marriage for all individuals, including members of the same sex. Moreover, North Meadows Circle of Friends extends the marriage process – the care and ongoing nurture of the family by the Meeting – equally to same-sex and heterosexual partnerships.

North Meadows Circle of Friends strives to strengthen all relationships; as relationships grow so does our spiritual community. We care about the way parent and child, brother and sister, relate one with the other. God’s love is offered to all, and as that of God in every person shines, it helps to build and strengthen relationships of varying kinds, from the helping hand of friendship to lifelong partnerships.

April 12, 1987

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NORTH PACIFIC YEARLY MEETING
Ad Hoc Committee on Marriage
July 1997

The North Pacific Yearly Meeting (NPYM) of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) adopted the following statement supporting the legal recognition of same-sex marriages at their 25th annual session held in Spokane, Washington, on July 20, 1997. This statement was a result of fifteen years of dialogue about marriage. Over two-hundred adult meeting participants adopted, without dissent, the following preamble and minute. While not binding on the member meetings, all members were encouraged to speak out and work locally for equal treatment of all marriages.

Preamble

For many years, Friends have struggled with one another to grow in mutual understanding about issues relating to the lives of gays and lesbians within our Meetings, in our communities, and within our families. In our Meetings we include sexual minority members, some of whom are in same-sex marriages, and we have shared times with each other's families. Again, we have found evidence of the truth to which Friends have witnessed throughout the years: "There is that of God in every person."

We have struggled with the meaning of marriage. As Quakers, we recognize marriages to affirm the choice and commitment of individuals, to support loving families, and to strengthen our own spiritual community. We use the process of corporate spiritual discernment when deciding to take a marriage under our care. In recent years, most of the Meetings in North Pacific Yearly Meeting have felt called to take the marriages of gay couples and lesbian couples under their care. Each of these Meetings made this decision after a corporate search under the guidance of the Spirit.

Marriage, however, is not only a religious, spiritual matter, it is also a legal or civil matter. Marriage, in the civil sense, conveys a broad array of civil benefits, including access to health insurance for dependents, tax benefits, inheritance rights, parental and custody rights, and next-of-kin status for medical decisions and visitation. As we have educated ourselves about the lives and struggles of our sexual minority members, we have become aware of what effects the denial of these legal rights has on gay and lesbian couples. We now feel led to speak publicly against this form of discrimination and injustice and for the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

We, therefore, approve the following minute:

North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) is deeply concerned that access to civil marriage is presently denied to gay and lesbian couples. This injustice brings legal, financial and social discrimination against lesbian and gay couples and their children. We, therefore, support legal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples to permit them the same legal rights and responsibilities that pertain to heterosexual married couples.

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NORTHSIDE FRIENDS MEETING
6/6/1999

Northside Friends Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, faithful, and loving relationships regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple. We are mindful that it is the Spirit which unites a couple and we are the witnesses.

We therefore affirm a single standard of practice for all committed relationships under our care, and offer couples our process for clearness and celebrations of marriage based of this standard.

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NORTHWEST QUARTERLY MEETING
New England Yearly Meeting
March 8, 2009

Northwest Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) finds unity among its Monthly Meetings to support the marriage process for all couples, regardless of gender.

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OHIO VALLEY YEARLY MEETING
2011

Minute on Sexuality and Gender Identity Equality

Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting Friends have been led by the Light of the Living Christ to understand that Godís love extends with equality to all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The understanding that Christ has given us as Quakers today leads us to three conclusions. We affirm the full humanity of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender persons. We are committed to their equal status within the Religious Society of Friends and the wider world. We celebrate their covenant relationships, including marriages under the care of our constituent meetings, as just as sacred, just as valid, and the cause for just as much joy as those of any other persons.

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ORANGE GROVE MONTHLY MEETING (CA) (PYM)
July 2008

At our Meeting for Worship on the Occasion of Doing Business on July 13, 2008, Orange Grove Meeting came to unity on the following minute:

In 1989, Orange Grove Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends reached unity in welcoming applications for marriage by all committed couples, including same sex couples.

In 1990, the Meeting minuted its support of equal legal status for same sex marriages.

Today, we affirm our previous unity and oppose any and all efforts to undermine marriage equality in California, specifically California Proposition #8.

To quote from Pacific Yearly Meetings Faith and Practice: "It is consistent with Quakers' historical faith and testimonies that Friends practice a single standard of treatment for all couples who wish to marry."

Please join us and support this minute which speaks to our testimony on Equality.

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ORONO MONTHLY MEETING (ME) NEYM

June 1994

Orono Monthly Meeting offers guidance and support to all couples whether they be of the same or opposite gender, who desire spiritual recognition of their commitment to each other according to God's will. Orono Friends intend to follow the same careful practice of holding clearness committee meetings with each couple, using Friends' traditions and concerns and the written guidance of Faith and Practice of New England Yearly Meeting. When a Meeting participates in a marriage, certain obligations are assumed for nurturing the relationship. For this reason, Orono Friend Meeting wishes to establish an ongoing spiritual relationship with one or both people before the clearness process begins.

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OXFORD FRIENDS MEETING Oxford, Ohio
Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting

1998

We approved the following minute in 1998:

Continuing a process of thought and discussion we began in 1991, Oxford Friends are in unity about the following: Oxford Friends Meeting will consider the recognition of same-gender relationships through the same careful process that Friends use to arrive at clearness for any members or attenders who wish to unite in marriage under our care. We respect the right of couples to name their relationship.

We acknowledge the uneasiness that this step evokes in many thoughtful and loving Friends. However, we feel led to the present statement by a desire to affirm our commitment to honor and celebrate loving and stable relationships. We hope to remove prejudicial obstacles that hinder our ability to discern and encourage loving commitment between adult partners wherever such commitment may be found.

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PACIFIC YEARLY MEETING
approves the following Minute on Equality of Marriage Rights.

As Quakers, some of the reasons we recognize marriages are to affirm the individuals in their choice, to support loving families, and to strengthen our spiritual community. It is also fundamental to Quaker faith and practice that we honor the equality and integrity of all human beings.

Therefore, it is our belief that it is consistent with Quaker’s historical faith and testimonies that we practice a single standard of treatment for all couples who wish to marry.

Given that the State offers legal recognition of opposite-gender marriage and extends significant privileges to couples who legally marry, we believe that a commitment to equality requires that same-gender couples have the same rights and privileges.

Therefore, we believe that the State should permit gay and lesbian couples to marry and share fully and equally in the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

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Palm Beach Monthly Meeting


May 5, 2008

"...This is my beloved and this is my friend..." -- Song of Solomon 5:16

"For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests or magistrates; for it is Gods ordinance and not Mans; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together; for we marry none; it is the Lords work and we are but witnesses." -- George Fox, 1669

Palm Beach Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends recognizes that God may call a couple without regard to gender into a loving, committed relationship. All couples who request Marriage, a Commitment Ceremony or a Celebration of Union under the care of the Meeting will follow the same clearness process. After a couple, their clearness committee and the Meeting have arrived at clearness to proceed, the Meeting will witness their ceremony and will take the relationship under its care. We support all marriages and unions performed by other Quaker meetings, other religious bodies, or civil authorities.

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PAULLINA (IA) MONTHLY MEETING

Fall 1996

We of Paullina Monthly Meeting of Friends believe that Friends testimony of equality requires a single standard of treatment for all human beings and that all people share in the Light regardless of sexual orientation. We affirm that we welcome all who share our search for Truth. In all aspects of life, it is our wish to recognize as fully as we can the Light within us all by keeping open to the many reflections of that Light.

It is clear that legally at this time we cannot give a same gender couple the privileges and responsibilities which come through official recognition of a marriage. However, we wish to affirm the importance of acceptance, dignity and respect for the union of same-gender couples. Therefore, Paullina Monthly Meeting will follow Friends' procedure as stated in Iowa Yearly Meeting discipline for any couple, regardless of gender who ask for a ceremony of celebration in recognition of their relationship. We commit ourselves to keep dialogue open on this issue within our meeting.

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PATAPSCO FRIENDS MEETING
Ellicott City, MD
Baltimore Yearly Meeting
2000

Minute on Same Gender Marriage (April 30, 2000)

Ministry and Oversight presented its proposed minute on Same Sex Marriages. Discussion followed, including a distinction made between spiritual and civil marriages, with the note being made that a same-gender couple does not have the opportunity to have a civil union. Changes were made to it pursuant to the discussion, the final version reading as follows:

"Friends at Patapsco Preparative Meeting have given the issue of marriage and committed unions prayerful consideration. A guiding principle of our meetinig is to nurture spiritually grounded and committed relationships of all kinds, whether between individuals and the meeting community, within families, or between two people in a committed relationship. Consistent with that broader principle, the meeting will consider, without regard to gender, requests from couples to take marriages under its loving care and to witness to such marriages in worship. Also consistent with that broader principle, the meeting will consider, without regard to gender, requests from couples to take committed unions under its loving care and to witness to such committed unions in worship. In addition, we wish to minute our support for adopting non-gender specific language throughout Faith and Practice."

This minute was approved by all in attendance.

A reply will be made to the Virginia Half-Yearly meeting, and the minute will be submitted to the clerk of Sandy Spring Meeting.

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PENN VALLEY MEETING
Kansas City, MO
Iowa YM (Conservative)
1987

Penn Valley Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends affirms the traditional Quaker concept of marriage as a special committed relationships between two people who share their lives, a partnership between spiritual equals. We believe that such a partnership has religious dimensions and is appropriately solemnized in ceremony at an appointed meeting for worship before God and Friends. It is our belief that both the meeting and the partners are nourished when a celebration of marriage takes place within the meeting and that this mutual nourishment continues.

We believe marriage is based upon a loving relationship and involves sharing on all levels – spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual. Loving relationships are essential blocks in the foundation of the Society of Friends and undergird a just and peaceful society for all.

Penn Valley Meeting affirms the equal opportunity of all couples, including members of the same sex, to be married within the framework of the meeting process. We recognize and accept that some couples may prefer terminology other than “marriage” to describe their union. It is not the wish of the meeting to name the relationship, only to signify it.

Penn Valley Meeting recognizes the Certificate of Marriage signed by the couple and those present at the ceremony as the only public expression necessary to certify the marriage. A couple united in marriage under the care of this meeting who wish to legally certify their union will be assisted by the oversight committee. At the present time, it would, according to the laws of Missouri, be necessary for one of these persons to be a member of the meeting.

In marriage, as in all aspects of life, it is our wish to recognize fully as we can the Light within us all through keeping open to the many reflections of that Light.

Eighth Month 2, 1987

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PIMA MONTHLY MEETING

We believe that Friends’ testimony of equality requires a single standard of treatment for all human beings and that all people share in the Light. We affirm that we welcome to our Meeting all who share our search for Truth. We therefore extend our loving care, concern, and support to all individuals and couples in our Meeting community, including lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. In all aspects of life, it is our wish to recognize as fully as we can the Light within us all by keeping open to the many reflections of that Light.

As Quakers, mindful of being effective witnesses for social justice, we commit ourselves to educating ourselves and others in the Religious Society of Friends about the condition of homosexual and bisexual people in a society that is frequently hostile to them. We also commit ourselves to action to end ignorance about, prejudice concerning, and discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, both in the Religious Society of Friends and in society at large.

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PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING

July 27, 2006

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, in session, felt strongly to affirm all marriages conducted under the care of Monthly Meetings. We approved this minute prepared through two revisions: "Philadelphia Yearly Meeting affirms the marriage of same-gender couples conducted under the care of Monthly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends." We know the truth of this but our sense is that our wording might be imperfect. We are asking all Monthly Meetings to reflect on this minute and to respond in writing to Yearly Meeting before its next annual sessions.

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POND TOWN FRIENDS MEETING (ME)
March 1995

As Friends, we seek to affirm the many facets of a committed relationship, whether it is heterosexual or homosexual. A committed relationship between two persons involves not only physical acts of love, but also emotional nurturing, spiritual journeying, and intellectual sharing, as well as an understanding of mutual support and a sense of shared values.

Same-gender marriages are not legally recognized by today's society. However, according to sources, such as John Boswell's Same-sex Unions in Premodern Europe, people have had same-sex relationships for centuries, though not always recognized by the laws of the day. We cannot offer legal status to a same-sex union under the care of our meeting, but it is our hope and expectation that, in offering spiritual recognition, this minute will be one small voice for change such that one day there will be legal recognition. There are enough difficulties inherent in simply maintaining a loving and caring relationship for heterosexual couples, yet same-sex couples must endure the prejudices of our society when they choose to make the same commitment. Our own inner leadings of the Divine prompt us to seek to erase such prejudice by reaching out in love to all couples who wish to share their lives together.

We would offer our support and love to any same-sex couple seeking recognition of their love in a ceremony of marriage under the care of Pond Town Friends Meeting.

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PORTLAND (ME)
December, 1991

A same-gender couple seeking to come under the care of the Meeting for marriage or a celebration of commitment will be considered in the same way a heterosexual couple is.

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PROVIDENCE MONTHLY MEETING

Providence Friends affirm that of God in every person. We attest that this principle embraces all individuals, regardless of sex or gender. We rejoice in the love shared between two people as one of the greatest gifts of God. It is our hope that the religious life of the Meeting offers continuing tender support for all families in our Quaker community. We encourage and uphold couples who wish to express their love, their spiritual union, and their commitment to one another in a permanent relationship. We will give the same loving care and consideration to couples regardless of sex or gender, who request marriage under the care of the Meeting. The process of approval will follow the good order of Friends as described in Faith and Practice of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. approved by Providence Monthly Meeting, 11th mo. 2006.

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PURCHASE MONTHLY MEETING
3/7/1997 Minute Approved

For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests’ or magistrates’; for it is God’s ordinance and not man’s; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together: for we marry none; it is the Lord’s work, and we are but witnesses.” George Fox, 1669

We are united in believing that committed loving relationships that are enduring, unselfish, mutually tender, and supportive are to be encouraged.

We believe it is consistent with Friends history, faith and testimonies to follow a single practice for all those in committed relationships requesting our care, regardless of whether the couples involved are of the same or opposite gender.

We affirm our willingness to hold meetings for worship in celebration of commitment/marriage for both opposite and same gender couples, when one or both persons hold membership in the Meeting. We intend to follow the careful process of arriving at clearness for any couple requesting oversight by the Meeting. We believe this to be in accordance with the customs and beliefs of Friends; and that such persons are deemed to be married in the eyes of God and hence in our Meeting. The Meeting respects the right of the couple to name their relationship but recognizes that our expression of Faith may not, in all instances, be accepted by certain secular authorities.

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PUTNEY (VT)
March, 1988

We affirm our willingness as a Meeting to participate in celebrations of marriage, in accordance with our traditional procedures, for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples when one or both of the partners is a member of our Meeting. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for all couples who wish to unite under our care. At every stage we intend to treat all couples with respect, care, and love.

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RED CEDAR MONTHLY MEETING
East Lansing Michigan; Lake Erie Yearly Meeting [FGC]
3/1988

[The person who submitted the minute below said, “It appears the meeting is not yet ready to speak the term marriage and that discussion regarding this term as to both opposite and same-sex couples is needed. However, the minute addresses where the consensus occurs at this time.”]

This meeting offers to all persons our support and care for their relationships. We now affirm our willingness to hold celebrations of love and commitment under our care for both opposite and same sex couples, in accordance with our traditional procedures, when one or both of those partners participate in our meeting community as members or attenders and share our religious experience. We want our meeting community to be a place for lesbians and gay men to express among us tenderness and affection toward partners and friends. We commit ourselves to such efforts and learnings as are required for this to happen.

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RICHMOND MONTHLY MEETING
Richmond, Virginia; Baltimore Yearly Meeting [FGC & FUM]
2/19/1989

Richmond Friends Meeting extends its loving care and support to all individuals and couples in our Meeting community. A committed, loving relationship provides a framework within which spiritual growth can occur. Therefore, we affirm our willingness to hold a celebration of commitment under the care of the Meeting for same-gender couples at least one of whom is a member or active attender of Richmond Friends Meeting. This is evidence of our spiritual support of such a long-term relationship. The customary process for marriage outlined in Faith and Practice will be followed.

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ROCHESTER MONTHLY MEETING
Rochester, NY; New York Yearly Meeting [FGC & FUM]
3/12/1989

Rochester Monthly Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships that are enduring, unselfish, mutually tender, and supportive. We find it consistant with Friends’ belief in the Inner Light to recognize the loving commitment of two people, regardless of their sex.

We affirm our willingness as a Meeting to hold meetings for worship in celebration of loving commitment for both opposite sex and same sex couples.

We will follow the customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for any couple who request our oversight, provided that one or both partners are members of the Religious Society of Friends. We will follow our traditional procedures in the conduct of the special meeting for worship.

The couples’ choice of marriage, celebration of commitment, or some other term to best characterize the special meeting for worship and their ongoing relationship will be discussed in the clearness process and in the plans for the monthly meeting’s oversight of the special meeting.

At this time marriage of a same sex couple is not licensed or recognized be the State of New York. Couples whose marriages are not to be or cannot be registered with the state are counseled that the automatic legal guarantees and obligations with respect to inheritance of property, Social Security benefits, and guardianship of children do not apply. Legal contracts and wills can protect property and inheritance benefits for such couples.

Note of Explanation:”…We have, however, learned from other meetings who have dealt with the issue of same sex marriages before, and we share our minute gladly. We reviewed several earlier statements from others and had a series of discussion sessions in which background information was shared and personal experience described.

Out of these discussions a work group was appointed that drafted the first version of the minute, which was in turn submitted to our Committee on Ministry and Oversight for review and revision. We then scheduled presentation at three successive monthly meetings for business, to allow first reading, circulation in the meeting community, further discussion and final approval. The entire process took a year. We were glad to be able to consider the issue when there was no particular request before us; we feel glad now to be able to respond straightforwardly to any of our members who request our support and clearness process.

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SACRAMEMTO MEETING (CA)
Friends General Conference and Pacific Yearly Meeting
Same-Gender Marriage Source Document
January 2000

POSITION. Sacramento Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)* affirms that it will conduct marriages of same-gender Quaker couples. Because of the laws of the State, these marriages do not have legal standing, but we will continue to advocate that same-gender couples be given the rights of civil marriage, and all other privileges and responsibilities that opposite-gender couples now enjoy.

Our advocacy includes opposition to Proposition 22 (the Knight Initiative on the Limitation of Marriage) appearing on the March 2000 California primary ballot. If passed, this proposition would limit marriage to the union of one man and one woman and prevent recognition of same-gender marriages performed in other states.

SOURCE. As Quakers, it is our experience that each person can receive inspiration directly from God. We clarify our understanding of our inspirations by joining together in expectant waiting, shared worship, study, discussion, and spiritual discernment. We are also guided by Biblical and other inspired writings, and by the wisdom and discipline of our Quaker tradition.

BACKGROUND. Historically, Quakers have been moved to act in support of human rights. Examples include Friends' work to abolish slavery, to secure women's rights, and more recently, to support interracial marriage and to abolish the death penalty.

Our meeting's leading to support same-gender marriage has emerged slowly out of at least four decades of personal experiences, study, and contact with the wider community. This process was awkward for us in the beginning. In hindsight, we realize the majority of us knew too little then to even discuss issues of same-gender relationships openly.

Gradually, Quakers who came to our meeting from other communities taught us that these were issues that some Friends meetings could discuss with ease. With their encouragement, some of us began to study relevant writings of Friends worldwide. We also became aware that a number of other Quaker meetings were marrying same-gender couples. The presence of gay and lesbian Friends in our meeting helped make the issues real for all of us.

By the early 1990s our meeting became more aware of the number of assaults on gay men, and police mistreatment of them. Our meeting wrote to the police proposing that neutral parties provide a listening service as a buffer between the adversaries. The service was created and functioned over a period of several months.

We were also deeply moved by two gay Quakers who invited us into their separate personal lives. The first of these was a man whose partner of 26 years was living with AIDS. At his request, we provided spiritual and practical support for him and his family. When his partner died, our meeting planned and conducted the memorial service.

Another Quaker touched the heart of the meeting by the open way in which he shared how he came to terms with being a gay man. He offered to help us consider performing same-gender marriages. There is no doubt that our developing fondness for this Friend, and his patience with us, opened our hearts and helped us see how God might lead us to take further action.

In January, 1999, a Friend gave powerful testimony in support of same-gender marriage after attending the holy union for two women conducted by Methodist ministers at the Sacramento Community Center. Many Friends were moved in response, and it was decided that the meeting should begin to work on this issue directly. We circulated relevant Quaker literature, then held four worship groups to share our experiences, concerns, and insights. This process allowed us to seek divine guidance and consider this topic over several months in a compassionate and inclusive manner. By September 1999, we reached unity with the Spirit on the following minutes:

Sacramento Friends Meeting affirms that we take same-gender marriages under our care in the same way that we do opposite-gender marriages.

Sacramento Friends Meeting affirms that it is our conviction that same-gender marriages should be afforded the same civil recognition as opposite-gender marriages, and that we seek ways to make this conviction known to the broader community.

REASONS. At the heart of our decisions is our understanding that sexual orientation is not a choice, but an intrinsic quality given to us by God. Its variations, on a continuum from same- to opposite-gender attraction, are a natural and blessed part of creation. Hence, we feel that a loving, same-gender relationship is a gift from God, rather than an addiction, an illness, or a sin.

Our meeting's decisions were also grounded in traditional Quaker values regarding committed relationships, equality, peace, and community support for diversity.

We hold the conviction that committed relationships spring from God's initiative. It is our experience that persons are drawn into loving relationships as one way of realizing the abundance of divine Light within them. We have the responsibility to recognize and support these spiritual unions, through the institution of marriage as well as through ongoing expressions of love and respect.

With regard to equality, we believe there is "that of God" in every person. This makes all people equally beloved by God and equally deserving of all human rights. We thus hold that same-gender couples merit the same opportunities as opposite-gender couples: to marry in their spiritual communities and to enjoy all the legal rights of civil marriage, such as shared medical benefits and decisions, custody of children, and inheritance of property.

Our emphasis on peace urges us to treat each person with the same all-encompassing care and acceptance that we ourselves receive from God. We are convinced that one's sexual orientation and the inspiration to form a committed partnership cannot be denied without causing profound spiritual suffering. Any attempt to discourage loving, same-gender relationships is therefore a form of violence to the soul.

Finally, we believe people reach their highest potential when they belong to a community that values diversity. Such a community grants people the opportunity to replace fear of same-gender relationships with appreciation for the variety of God's creations. It frees people to view themselves and others with newfound respect and openness. When society supports religious and civil marriages for same-gender couples, this will help create communities in which all people can feel safe, accepted, and encouraged to thrive.

CONCLUSION. We trust that this description of the decisions we have made, the reasons supporting them, and the process by which we came to them will help others as they strive to reach clearness on these issues. For our own part, we will continue to use the power of love to seek justice and equality for all people.

----------------------------------

*It should be noted that there are several branches of Quakers. In this document, we speak only for Sacramento Friends Meeting, not for other Friends' meetings or Friends' churches.

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Minute from SALEM QUARTERLY MEETING to New England Yearly Meeting

October 2004: Support of Same Gender Marriage

The Salem Quarterly Meeting of New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) supports the right of all adult couples to join in legal marriage and to enjoy the full legal benefits of that state. We base our stand in our long held testimony of equality, that there is "that of God in every person", and in our understanding of marriage, that marriage is a spiritual union not imposed or defined by us. "For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests' or magistrates'; for it is God's ordinance and not man's; ... for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses.", as George Fox, one of the first generation of Friends, wrote in 1669.
[Quoted in Britain Yearly Meeting, Quaker Faith & Practice1995, section 16.01]

We oppose any law or constitutional amendment which restricts the right of gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. We support the extension of marriage with all its legal rights and responsibilities to adult couples who are willing to accept those responsibilities. We encourage our constituent meetings and all their members to make this stand known to their elected representatives.


August, 1992

Some meetings within Salem Quarterly Meeting have labored with the question of same gender marriage or celebrations of commitment and the pastoral care of the partners in these unions. We believe this is an important question that should be considered by other Friends' meetings in New England Yearly Meeting. Salem Quarterly Meeting is not yet unified on the subject of same gender marriage, but encourages meetings to consider a search for unity on this issue. We forward this letter and history from Beacon Hill Monthly Meeting in the hope that it will be useful in further discernment. [Note: history not included here]

LETTER FROM BEACON HILL MONTHLY MEETING (see Beacon Hill also for Minute listing)

We are writing to you in an effort to open a dialogue around the issue of same gender marriage. Our meeting began considering this issue about five years ago, and reached unity in support of same gender marriage after much corporate and individual searching. This process of discernment tremendously enriched our meeting by expanding our vision of community and equality. Subsequently, this unity enabled us to take under our care a marriage between two women. These experiences led us to the hope that Friends' testimony on equality would extend to the marriage of same gender couples throughout New England Yearly Meeting. Now that we have taken this marriage under our care, we are concerned that should this couple move to another meeting within New England, they would be received and cared for as would any other married couple. We have reached unity on the following minute, which we offer to your meeting for your consideration.

We acknowledge that same gender marriages and celebrations of commitment are taking place in the larger Quaker community. Should one of these couples move to our meeting, we will support their relationship as we would that of any other married couple. We bring our witness on same gender marriage to the wider Quaker community because we greatly desire that Friend unite with us in the support of these relationships. We would welcome the opportunity to provide you with more information, or visit with your meeting, should you so desire.

Polly Kmetz, Clerk

Yearly Meeting approved having these minutes sent to monthly meetings for their consideration and also referred them to Yearly Meeting Ministry and Counsel for its consideration.

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SALT LAKE MONTHLY MEETING
Salt Lake City, Utah; Intermountain Yearly Meeting
3/11/1990

With our growing appreciation for the diversity of sexual orientation within our community, we now affirm willingness to hold marriage under the care of the Meeting for all loving partners who wish to unite under our care, when one or both of those partners participates in our Meeting as members or attenders. We affirm that, in the areas of the marriage relationship which concern us as a religious body, and which we consider in our customary clearness process, there need be no difference between homosexual and heterosexual relationships, and that this encouragement of loving and stable couples is a benefit to the couple, the Meeting and the larger Society.

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SANDWICH MONTHLY MEETING (MA)
October 2004

Sandwich Monthly Meeting, which consists of three historic preparative meetings, affirms that any adult couples, regardless of gender, who wish to marry under the care of the meeting or after the manner of Friends, will be considered in the usual way as detailed in New England Yearly Meeting's Faith and Practice.

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SANTA CRUZ MONTHLY MEETING
Pacific Yearly Meeting
2011

Minute on Equality for Queer People

The Religious Society of Friends from its earliest days has valued that of God in everyone. This value, as embodied in the testimony of Equality, has long led Friends to work for a more just society and to stand by those who face discrimination.

Today we recognize that discrimination is faced by queer* adults and youth in the form of unjust laws, acts of rejection and violence. Frequently the results are serious psychological injuries which include a sense of inferiority, depression, risky behaviors and suicide.

Santa Cruz Friends Meeting re-affirms creating a world in which all are honored and accepted as equal members of our society. We affirm that:

+ all queer people should have full and equal rights to live their lives, without fear, as they are led.

+ the community environment of Santa Cruz Friends Meeting is and will continue to be a space where queer people are safe to be open about their identities, their needs, and their fears and concerns.

+ equality for queer people shall be reflected in our work within the Meeting and in our community outreach.

*For the purposes of this minute, "queer" includes individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual; individuals who identify as a gender other than that assigned them at birth; individuals who are classified as intersexed, such as those born with "ambiguous" genitals; and any other individual whose sexual or romantic attractions or whose gender or sex differ from societyís norms or expectations.

Approved 1/9/2011

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SANTA FE MONTHLY MEETING OF FRIENDS
9/1990

Santa Fe Meeting is called to witness for sanctity of loving relationships.

When, as Friends we witness the Light within, we cherish and strengthen all our relationships. When we witness that of God in every person, our spiritual gathering grows. Witnessing the sanctity of bonds of love, we extend that witness into our greater community.

As a Religious Society, we affirm all relationships centered in love. We honor the determination of a couple regardless of gender, to celebrate their loving commitment to one another under our care. After the manner of Friends, we will follow the procedure in Pacific Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice to arrive at clearness for all couples preparing to make a sacred commitment of their union.

We are mindful that at this time only heterosexual couples have the right to legal privileges and protections in the current legal system.

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SCARSDALE MONTHLY MEETING (NJ)
NYYM
2007

The clerk of the meeting referred to a communication from Montclair Monthly Meeting dealing with their concerns about Friends United Meeting (FUM) and asked that the documents be posted to the Scarsdale Meeting website for Scarsdale Friends to consider.

Friends noted that Scarsdale Meeting has been engaged for some time with the questions raised by FUM's policies toward gay and lesbian Friends whom we dearly love. Scarsdale Friends Meeting is in unity in finding these policies abhorrent. Although the meeting agreed that NYYM should remain affiliated with FUM, it recommended that NYYM communicate to FUM that it considers the personnel policies of FUM related to gays and lesbians contrary to the inclusive ministry of Jesus. The Meeting approved this minute. The clerk will send this minute to Purchase Quarterly Meeting and New York Yearly Meeting and request that it be put on the agenda of New York Yearly Meeting fall sessions. The clerk will also respond to Montclair Monthly Meeting, thanking them for sharing their concerns.

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SEAVILLE MONTHLY MEETING (NJ)
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
2004

Minute on Same-gender Unions/Marriage

[The following minute was submitted to Seavile MM and approved on February 15, 2004. It was transmitted to Quarterly Meeting in session, 13 June 2004, for the consideration of other monthly meetingsEd. of the Salem Quarter Newsletter]

The essence of intimacy between persons is a matter of love, tenderness, fidelity, and commitment. As a Monthly Meeting, we reach out in loving support to those who ask for help in achieving and maintaining these qualities in their relationship.

We believe it is consistent with Friends' historical faith and testimonies to adopt and practice a single standard for all committed relationships that are under our care. We are mindful that it is the Spirit which unites a couple, and we are the witnesses thereof.

We affirm our willingness as a Monthly Meeting to hold appointed meetings to celebrate and acknowledge couples' relationships. We will hold them in accordance with our traditional procedures, both for opposite-gender and same-gender couples, when one or both of the partners participate in our community as members or attenders. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for all couples who wish to unite under our care, following Faith and Practice.

We affirm the traditional Quaker concept of marriage as a committed relationship between two people who share their lives as equal partners. We believe that because such a partnership is a spiritual union, it is appropriately recognized at an appointed meeting for worship among Friends and within the presence and the moving of the Spirit. It is our belief that both the Meeting and the partners are nourished by this celebration.

We understand that both opposite-gender and same-gender couples may prefer words other than marriage to describe their union. We leave it to the couple to name their union.

We recognize this meeting for the couple, and the certificate signed during that meeting, as the only necessary public expression of the union. The event shall be recorded in the Meeting records as is customary. The Meeting will assist the couple with legal recording requirements if requested. For all couples, advice will be available regarding legal arrangements for care of each other, of family, and of property.

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SMITHFIELD (RI)
October 24, 1993

Minute 93.78 Salem Quarter Minute [see above]

The Committee on Ministry and Counsel received a request from Beacon Hill Monthly Meeting and Salem Quarter to examine how we would respond to same-gender couple married under the care of another meeting who might move from that meeting to ours. Ministry and Counsel brought this concern before Smithfield Friends at an open meeting on March 21, 1993. There were many tender feelings expressed at this meeting. The sense was that on of our strengths at Smithfield Meeting is our willingness to welcome people from a variety of backgrounds and personal histories. We wish to provide all a place to seek God's will in their lives and to find a community which seeks God together in love. Out of the sense of this gathering, Ministry and Counsel has brought forth our own version of the Beacon Hill minutes, and we unite in supporting the following statement: We acknowledge that same gender marriages and celebrations of commitment are taking place in the larger Quaker community. Should one of these couples move to our meeting, we will support their relationship as we would that of any other couple. It is our hope that as a community and as individuals we might continue to grow in our understanding of the meaning of marriage and committed relationships.

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SOUTH BEND FRIENDS MEETING (IN) (IYM)
December 12, 2004

This last First Day, December 12, 2004, the following minute was affirmed by South Bend (Indiana) Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in the Meeting for Worship with a focus on Business:

Minute: The meeting reached unity with the IYM minute of 1974. This concludes a discussion that was set aside in the mid 1990's. Our concurrence will be communicated to both IYM and Friends for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns. The IYM minute is pasted below.

From the Minutes of Illinois Yearly Meeting 100th Annual Sessions from July 31st to August 4th, 1974, inclusive 1. Illinois Yearly Meeting is aware that there is great diversity in the relationships that people develop with one another. The worth of these relationships must not be judged on the basis of conventionality but rather to the degree that the relationship contributes to the growth of love in those affected.
Homosexual and bisexual people in this society are subject to serious discrimination in many areas: in employment, housing, medical care, family life education, parental rights, and the right to worship. We believe sexual acts in private between consenting adults should be removed from all criminal sanctions. Civil rights should be extended to protect homosexual and bisexual people just as they now protect other groups which suffer discrimination. We urge Friends and Friendly organizations to work for appropriate legislation. Friends encourage everywhere the development of love and trust in human relationships. In this light, we urge Friends to explore and examine their knowledge and assumptions about sexuality, with special reference to homosexuality, with a view to achieving awareness of the possibilities and potentials for growth, love, and trust in these and other intimate relationships.
[The minute] was approved, with expressions from Friends that discussion on the topic should continue.

July 10, 2005

On First Day, July 10, 2005, the Meeting for Worship with attention to Business of the South Bend (Indiana) Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends approved the following Minute: "Based on our discussions and minute in recent months, we accept, in loving care, requests for clearness committees for marriage from Friends couples without discrimination on the basis of external forms such as gender preference or sexual identity."

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SOUTH BERKSHIRE (MA)
Fall, 1986

endorsed Hartford's minute

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SOUTH CENTRAL YEARLY MEETING OF FRIENDS
4/1 – 4/4/1999

After two years seasoning, the following minute was easily approved at the thirty-seventh annual session of South Central Yearly Meeting which was held from April 1st through April 4th 1999:

South Central Yearly Meeting endorses the marriages of individuals under the care of Monthly Meetings without regard to gender.

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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA QUARTERLY MEETING
Pacific Yearly Meeting
1993

Southern California Quarterly Meeting approved a minute saying same sex couples should be allowed to register their marriage with the state in the same way a heterosexual couple does. The quarterly meeting also minuted that legal rights should be granted to all couples who are in “publicly acknowledged, committed relationships,” regardless of their sexual orientation.

From Friends Journal, Jan. 1993

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ST. PETERSBURG MONTHLY MEETING
St. Petersburg, Florida
Southeastern YM (FUM & FGC)
1987

The Religious Society of Friends from its beginnings has stressed the conviction that marriage is a binding relationship entered into in the presence of God and witnessing Friends. Because of the importance of this relationship, a procedure has grown-up among Friends that discourages hasty marriage and emphasizes consideration of those factors that may help or hinder the permanence of commitment and the happiness of those concerned.

Friends recognize that spiritually enriching relationships are those that are enduring and unselfish and provide mutual support and tenderness. There is a particular need to offer loving support to those who share relationships other than marriage as they do not always receive the support and approval of the community as a whole. Such relationships include other heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or unlabelled couples.

If the Meeting feels that a relationship is committed and loving, a suitable opportunity might be found when Friends could express their love and support for these couples among us. Some may be supported by the Blessings of the Meeting Family.

“So may we reach to those we love truly desiring their wholeness, as we desire our own.” (Elizabeth Watson: Sexuality, a Part of Wholeness).

April 1987

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STORRS (CT)
October 18, 1992

Minute 83. Ministry and Counsel presented a minute on same-gender relationships for consideration by the Meeting. The Meeting agreed at the outset of the discussion that it supported the basic thrust of the minute. The final version approved by the Meeting is:

Background: During the winter and spring of 1991-92, Ministry and Counsel initiated and supported a committee to organize discussions on the Meeting's spiritual relationship to gay men, lesbians, and bi-sexuals. Five informational or worship sharing sessions attended by 25 to more than 30 were held at the rise of Meeting. These offered the Meeting community a rich opportunity to explore the issues and problems faced by individuals living in a homophobic society. As a result of this exploratory process we have come to understand that our concern should be for the quality of the relationship rather than for the sexual orientation of the partners. The Meeting commits itself to promoting acceptance, dignity and respect for people of same-sex orientation. Any loving relationship that honors the sacredness of each partner's life and spirit should be embraced by the Meeting. We affirm that we should support all individuals in such relationships including, but not limited to, an offering of the benefits of a public celebration of mutual commitment. It is the privilege of the couple to call their union by any name they choose. The process for publicly recognizing this union shall follow the customary procedures as outlined in Faith and Practice.

June 2002

Members of Storrs Friends Meeting believe that the legal rights and obligations of marriage should be available to all adult couples regardless of gender identity. We have come to understand that our concern should be for the quality of a relationship rather than for the sexual orientation of the partners. Over the past decade our own spiritual community has been enriched by celebrations of same-sex marriage and commitment, as well as by full participation of same-sex couples and their families in our community. We believe that our government should assure equal rights for all couples, including same-gender couples. Based on the Society of Friends' long-standing testimony on equality, we recommit ourselves to witness to the need for civil equality for all people.

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SWEDEN YEARLY MEETING


3/18/2000

On 18th Third Month 2000 Sweden YM adopted a marriage procedure allowing couples of the same sex to be married under the care of the meeting.

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SUMMIT MONTHLY MEETING (NJ)
Minute on the Recognition and Celebration of Committed Relationships
Approved January 11, 2004

"Just as there is that of God in every person, there is that of God in every relationship that calls upon God." New York Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice

It is our direct experience that the gifts of the Spirit are bestowed without consideration of gender, race, age, disability or sexual orientation - that there is "that of God" in everyone.

It is also our direct experience that committed, loving and spiritual relationships that are enduring, unselfish, mutually tender and supportive are greatly beneficial to individuals, to our Meeting community, and to society as a whole.

Quakers have traditionally recognized and celebrated such committed relationships in a religious ceremony under the care of the Meeting, in which the couple solemnly commits to a lifelong relationship based on love and faithfulness and relying on God's assistance. This recognition and celebration is based on Friends' experience that these relationships are the work of the Spirit to which we are simply witnesses, and not of human ordinance.

We therefore affirm that we will hold meetings for worship to recognize and celebrate such commitments under the care of the Meeting, for couples (at least one of whom is a member of the Meeting) irrespective of gender, race, age, disability or sexual orientation. Requests for such celebrations of commitment or marriage will be considered individually in the manner of Friends (including a process for clearness) and according to the principles and procedures as set down from time to time in Faith and Practice, the Book of Discipline of the New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, as applicable.

The Meeting acknowledges, and will make clear to any couple seeking to be joined under the care of the Meeting, that certain spiritual relationships recognized by Friends may not be recognized by secular authorities.

"For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests' or magistrates'; for it is God's ordinance and not man's; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together; for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses." George Fox, 1669

Summit Monthly Meeting
11th day, First Month, 2004

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TALLAHASSEE MONTHLY MEETING
2001 S. Magnolia Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32301 (904) 878-3620
10/8/1998

Minute on the Equality of All People: Welcoming Gay and Lesbian Individuals and Families

Tallahassee Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends affirms our fundamental understanding that there is that of God within every person. Recognizing the power and presence of the Inner Light in all people, we welcome all individuals regardless of age, race, differing abilities, gender identity, and sexual orientation, to join us in our collective search for God’s sill.

We believe that committed and loving relationships can provide immense personal and spiritual support to our individual members and thereby contribute to the sustenance of the Meeting itself. Finding ways to strengthen our love for each other individually and collectively is the key to living Jesus’ message of love. Following traditional Friends’ practice of supporting committed relationships through the ceremony of marriage, we encourage all Friends who wish to express their commitment to each other to make a formal request to Meeting for a committee on Clearness for Marriage regardless of sexual orientation. In accordance with Quaker process, the committee may recommend a marriage under the care of the Meeting.

We recognize that historical patterns of discrimination exist with regard to same-sex marriages by denying: insurance benefits to partners, legal custody of children, and rights of inheritance. WE affirm that the Oversight Committee will work with such couples to seek protection for the relationship by bearing witness to the sanctity of their marriage commitment and pursuing whatever legal safeguards are available.

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TORONTO MONTHLY MEETING
Minutes of the Specially Called Meeting in regard to Relationships held January 30, 1994 at Friends' House. 60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto, Ontario at 1:00 p.m.

The Meeting opened with a period of silent worship. AH read Section 403 of Christian Faith and Practice. She then read Minutes 72 and 73 from Canadian Yearly Meeting 1993, and the request from Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel that Monthly Meetings consider the broader issues of marriage relationships.

After discussion the following were approved:

We welcome same-gender couples to apply for marriage under the care of our Meeting, and will give them consideration as we would any other couple. This minute is approved. One Friend is recorded as not in unity with this minute.

We are reminded of George Fox's words (1669): "For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only, and not the priests or magistrates; for it is God's ordinance and not Man's; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together; for we marry none; it is the Lord's work, and we are but witnesses."

We will continue to explore the ways that the Meeting can support and give continuing care to the whole range of relationships within the Meeting.

The Specially Called Meeting ended with silent worship, followed by AH reading Section 404 of Christian Faith and Practice.

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TRANSVAAL MONTHLY MEETING
South Africa 1983

[The minute states Quaker weddings are not legal in South Africa.. “We are however able to conduct a religious ceremony to sanctify marriage” The statement adds that while cross-racial marriages are illegal, Transvaal Meeting will sanctify mixed race couples.] The statement continues:

Friends recognise that individuals of the opposite or the same sex, may enjoy spiritually enriching relationships which are enduring, unselfish and not limited to marriage and conventional family life. In the same manner a Meeting may also, after appointing visitors [to counsel the couple according to the practice of Friends, sanctify such a relationship… We acknowledge our indebtedness to Australian Friends for their draft minute (Sydney Regional Newsletter, September 1982).

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TWIN CITIES MONTHLY MEETING
Northern YM (FGC)
October 10, 1986

Twin Cities Friends Meeting, joyfully recognizing the diversity of sexual orientation within our religious community, affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships that endure, are unselfish, and that provide mutual support and tenderness. We unite with the (1982) minute of Acton Monthly Meeting of New England Yearly Meeting which reads, “That so deeply enriching and spiritually fulfilling an experience as love between two individuals should be limited to those of the opposite sex we find inconsistent with the Quaker principle of the universality of love in the light.”

We now affirm our willingness as a Meeting to hold celebrations of living commitment under our care, in accordance with our traditional procedures, for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples, (when) one or both of those partners participate in our community as members or attenders. We intend to follow the same customary and careful process of arriving at clearness for any couple, regardless of sexual orientation, who should wish to unite under our care.

We are aware of the diversity of attitude toward the term “marriage” and leave to the couple the characterization of their relationship.

In cases where the laws of the State of Minnesota permit, should a couple celebrating with us their relationship desire to certify their union legally, the oversight committee will assist with arrangements.

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UNAMI MONTHLY MEETING
Pennsburg, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
Third Month 17, 1985

Marriage in our time is understood to be a legal contract between a man and a woman. Yet Unami Friends are clear that whatever is available to our heterosexual couples should also be open to same-sex couples. Therefore, we offer all couples “celebrations of commitment” wherein we give community recognition to loving relationships. This would be accomplished following procedures similar to those for marriage as outlined in Faith and Practice.

As a religious society we are committed to upholding the sacramental qualities of life. It is a sacrament when two souls are united by love and wish to make a public commitment. Through a clearness committee, the Meeting can offer guidance in the form of queries and shared insight and offer listening support that may help the couple come to a deeper understanding of the many aspects of their commitment to each other. The clearness committees, however, should be sensitive to the differing needs and expectations of each relationship. We expect clearness committees to consider with the couple what needs to be done to settle the legal benefits and responsibilities which come with marriage and other committed relationships.

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UNIVERSITY FRIENDS MEETING (WA)
Feb 1997

On Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights in Marriage: A Statement from University Friends Meeting

On February 19, 1997, University Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Seattle, Washington) authorized their Clerk to send the following message to their elected officials.

In the light of recent events in the legislature to further infringe the civil rights of gay and lesbian people, the University Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) wishes to make clear our beliefs and positions regarding the issue of same-gender marriage which we understand may come before the voters in the near future as a referendum.

A copy of this letter was sent to the governor and every member of the state legislature.

Our faith community has spent many years in prayer and dialogue regarding issues of marriage and family. One result of our faithful work has been that we approve wholly of the married union of same gendered couples. This position was taken as the result of listening for Divine guidance and seeking the Truth as best we could. Thus we do believe that God desires and accepts fully those couples, heterosexual or homosexual, who make loving commitments towards each other. We take this stand for marriage as a spiritual and personal commitment within a faith community.

As a result of this stand, it is our practice to approve and perform marriage and ceremonies of commitment for same-gendered couples. These couples we accept fully as a part of our community. We know them to be deeply committed to each other and loving parents. They are essential to the strength of our community and are often models of love and care. In addition to offering these couples our spiritual support, we feel it is important that homosexual marriages be granted civil status equal to that granted heterosexual couples.

The principle of human equality before God is a cornerstone of Friends' belief. Friends believe that everyone is a child of God and should be related to in those terms. Based on Friends' values we have grave concerns about the civil implications of banning same sex marriages. Our stand is based on a long history of supporting civil rights from the abolition of slavery to women's suffrage to contemporary issues concerning equality. These issues, in their time, were also radical and controversial.

Granting of civil recognition is important for many reasons. First, to ban such marriages and deny same-sex couples the legal rights, responsibilities and privileges which a legal union confirms, is contrary to our testimony and equality and denies them equal status in our society. Of equal importance is th negative impact that banning homosexual marriages has on the children of same sex couples. Social science research has consistently shows that children thrive in households of homosexual parents.

Arguments denying same sex marriage based on assertions of poor parenting and inappropriate modeling are simply unfounded. Where such children may have difficulties, it is less often with their homosexual parents and more that they perceive society as rejecting the lifestyle of their parents. This brings into question the child's own sense of value and acceptability. We see this as a flaw in society, not a flaw in homosexual parents.

We see clear benefits in granting equal recognition to same sex marriage. The legal and financial stability such social recognition offers to couples creates a more stable union and, for those who choose to parent, greater stability for their children as well.

We ask that you have the courage to step back and consider fully the meaning of "equality" and "family values". Over the years of our consideration of this issue we did struggle. We prayed and "held each other in the Light" even when we disagreed. The result of all of this has strengthened our community. We are still growing and learning, but we have what we believe is a truer sense of love, family, commitment and community. Listening and considering these issues deeply may result in your taking a stand that appears unpopular. We pray that you have the courage to do so. The abolition of slavery, [and] the [promotion of] equal rights of women and ethnic minorities were also "unpopular" in their day. To step forward into Truth required faith and courage. No less is asked of us today.

We are opposed to those bills (HB1330, SB5398 and SB5400) which we believe to be damaging to the family and society and contrary to God's desire for a loving and faithful community.

contributed by Jonathan Betz-Zall
University Friends Meeting
Seattle, WA

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UTAH FRIENDS FELLOWSHIP
6/15/1990 (Proposed)
3/16/1991 (Approved)

From our belief that there is that of God in every person flows our testimony in the equality of all persons. We believe also that marriage is an important social and religious institution. We wish to encourage committed relationships, whether between same-sex or opposite-sex couples. Therefore, Utah Friends Fellowship supports the participation of monthly meetings and worship groups in same-sex marriages, conducted in the same manner, and with the same care, as marriages for opposite-sex couples.

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VANCOUVER MONTHLY MEETING
Vancouver, British Columbia; Canadian Yearly Meeting [FGC & FUM]
1/1988

At a threshing session to consider Canadian Yearly Meeting action on marriage, the main difficulty was in understanding that marriage could exist before God, and not before the law. There was the same reluctance to the use of the word “marriage” to describe committed relationships between gay and lesbian couples, but further consideration of the word “marriage,” which these days does not necessarily include procreation as its main purpose, and long ago was not recognized in law if performed by Quakers, showed that there was nothing against the use of this word, except for personal beliefs, to stand in the way. We remembered discussion at the lst Yearly Meeting on the need to comply with provincial regulations, and we decided that if a couple, of whatever genders, decided not to comply with the law, but still wished the Society of Friends and the world at large to recognize their commitment to each other, the way should be made open for them by removing from the Canadian Yearly Meeting Organization and Procedure noted on marriage, the need to comply with provincial laws and regulations.

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WATERBORO MONTHLY MEETING (ME)
March 1997

It is fundamental to Friends' faith and practice that we affirm the equality and integrity of all human beings. Equally, we hold that the purpose of recognizing and affirming committed relationships is to strengthen our families and communities.

Therefore, it is our belief that it is consistent with Friends' historical faith and testimonies that we practice a single standard of treatment for all committed relationships.

Given that the State offers legal recognition of opposite-gender marriage and extends significant privilege to couples who legally marry, we believe that a commitment to equality requires that same-gender couples be granted the same rights and privileges.

Therefore, we believe that the Sate should permit gay and lesbian couples to marry and share fully and equally in the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

[Note: Waterboro's minute is one approved by Friends for Lesbian and Gay Concerns in 1995 and sent to North American yearly meetings asking them to forward it to their constituent monthly meetings for consideration. In February 1997, NEYM Ministry and Counsel did so with a cover letter affirming there was no unity on same-gender marriage in NEYM as a whole and that forwarding the letter as requested did not imply a Ministry and Counsel endorsement of the minute.]

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WELLESLEY FRIENDS MEETING (MA)
March 2000

Acknowledging that we are individually at different points in accepting extending the term marriage to same-gender couples but recognizing the need for spiritual commitment within our community, we affirm the following minute:

Wellesley Friends Meeting is an open and affirming faith community. We welcome all seekers. We believe that marriage within the meeting is a spiritual and communal commitment. Any couple affiliated with our meeting, regardless of gender, may request a clearness committee for marriage. If found clear, they may be married under the care of our meeting.

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WESTBURY MONTHLY MEETING (NYYM)
Westbury Monthly Meeting Minute to NYYM in Response to FUM Hiring Policy
Approved seventh month, 12 [2008]

As we gather in worship to consider the FUM hiring policy, we hold New York Yearly Meeting Friends in the Light. In a spirit of love and fellowship, we affirm that we all seek the truth with regard to loving, responsible relationships under God. Therefore, we urge New York Yearly Meeting to labor with FUM to consider our present testimony on sexual love and fidelity to which New York Yearly Meeting was led after years of difficult work in revising our Faith and Practice:

"The Biblical witness to a covenant with God is also our witness to the precious presence of the living Spirit in us and among us. God is present in our relationships with one other, animating our interactions with extended families, meeting members, friends, and neighbors. All of these relationships are part of God's covenant with us, written in our hearts.

"To be faithful to the Spirit in our life together is never more difficult or more rewarding than in family relationships -- spousal, parental, filial --, which depend on God's help as well as mutual trust and love. When we call our family ties 'covenant relationships,' we acknowledge the involvement of God and our meetings in maintaining and upholding these precious commitments.

"Marriage is solemnized in God's presence and nurtured with divine assistance in reverence and love. Couples covenant with God, their meetings, and each other to clarify and strengthen their commitments. When two people make their vows to each other in the presence of God and their friends, they take each other as lifelong partners, promising with divine assistance to be faithful to each other.

"Early Friends believed that marriage depended on the prayerful inward life of the couple's deep, abiding commitment to each other and to God, not on the outward forms of ecclesiastic blessing or legal contract. Our witness today must uphold the same high standards for ourselves in our covenant relationships: standards of love, fidelity, and discipline that bear witness to the presence of the Spirit among us rather than to the self-interest and immediate gratification of desires prized in our culture. Sexual relationships, especially, are too tender and powerful to be left to unspoken understandings.

"Love reaches further than words, and we experience the Spirit long before any words. The family is a precious spiritual community, and we rejoice and are nourished in homes full of friendliness, refreshment, and peace, where God becomes real to those who live there and to all who visit. We joyfully acknowledge the sustaining, enriching presence of loving unions among us, and we want the meeting's strength to undergird these covenants.

"Some of us live alone and find love and community among our friends. Some of us are single parents, caring for our children. Some members' families follow traditional patterns; others do not. Just as there is that of God in every person, there is that of God in every relationship that calls upon God. We seek to treat responsible, loving relationships tenderly and respectfully. We seek to hold each other in the light of our ideal that Spirit-filled covenant relationships are the one sure basis for love and sexuality."

[Emphasis added by Westbury Meeting.]

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WESTERLY FRIENDS MEETING (RI)
June 1997

Westerly Friends affirm our belief that "there is that of God in every person." Furthermore, we attest that this principle embraces all individuals regardless of sexual orientation.

We rejoice in the love shared between two people as one of the greatest gifts of God. It is our hope that the religious life of the Meeting offers continuing tender support for all families in our Quaker community and we encourage and uphold all couples who wish to express their love, their spiritual union, and their commitment to one another in a permanent relationship.

The same loving care and considerations will be given to all couples, both of same-gender and of oppositegender, who request marriage under the care of the Meeting. The process for approval will follow the good order of Friends as described in Faith and Practice of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends.

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WESTFIELD MONTHLY MEETING
(Cinnaminson, New Jersey)
October 8, 2006

The essence of intimacy between persons is a matter of love, tenderness, fidelity and commitment. As a Monthly Meeting, we reach out in loving support to those who ask for help in achieving and maintaining these qualities in their relationship.

We acknowledge that Faith and Practice eloquently provides guidance regarding Quaker Marriage Procedures for all couples, who are any two people who desire to be married under the care of the Meeting. Further, we trust that the clearness process will be accomplished with Divine assistance as outlined in Faith And Practice.

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WILLIAMSBURG MONTHLY MEETING
Baltimore Yearly Meeting
March 14, 1993

Williamsburg Friends Meeting is committed to the spiritual development of its members and attenders. In that spirit, the Meeting extends its active support to couples who make life-long commitments, regardless of their sexual orientation. Same gender relationships may be affirmed in a celebration of commitment under the care of the Williamsburg Meeting. In this way, the Williamsburg Friends Meeting declares its intention to embrace all couples who make life-long commitments, and who wish to live these out in the manner of Friends.

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WINNIPEG MONTHLY MEETING
Winnipeg, Manitoba; Canadian Yearly Meeting [FGC & FUM
11/1988

We affirm that we should extend to all individuals, regardless of their sexual or affectional orientation, the benefits of a public celebration of their mutual commitment. We see this as desirable for the growth of their relationships and for the enrichment of their communities. We therefore ask Canadian Yearly Meeting to enable and encourage monthly meetings to recognize the religious celebration of union between same sex couples.

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WINTHROP CENTER FRIENDS CHURCH
January 2005

Minute on Same-Gender Marriage or Committed Relationships

Winthrop Center Friends Church is committed to the testimony of equality of all people in the eyes of the law and of God. We feel called to practice a single standard of treatment for all committed relationships. We will deal with requests for same-gender unions in the same way as we deal with those between heterosexual couples. We believe such a practice to be in accordance with the Spirit which speaks through the scriptures and which continues to guide us today. We affirm the spiritual nature of a life-long commitment between partners whatever the combination of genders, and it is our intention to support such commitments. The couple involved may refer to their union by whatever name they choose. Maine law does not at this time provide a legal foundation for the marriage of a same gender couple. We will encourage such couples to put into place the legal documents that approximate as much as possible the legal responsibilities and privileges of a civil marriage.

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WOLFVILLE MONTHLY MEETING
Wolfville, Nova Scotia; Canadian Yearly Meeting [FGC & FUM]
8/1988

We feel the quality of a relationship is more important than the gender of the partners. …we have found that undertaking the challenge of discussing this issue has lead us to a deeper understanding of marriage in general. …AS there are no references to gender in the section on Marriage in Organization and Procedure, and no requirement to be legally registered, we ask CYM (Canadian Yearly Meeting) to affirm that Monthly Meetings are free to act as they see way clear on this issue. WE ask Friends to trust in the Quaker marriage clearness process, and to trust to the couple and the Meeting with whom they worship to discern the truth and right ordering for each particular situation

We continue to seek further guidance of the Light within ourselves and others and wish to encourage dialogue with all those who agree or disagree with us. We no longer will participate in the denial of religious support for loving relationships, whatever their gender composition.

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YARMOUTH (MA) PREPARATIVE MEETING OF SANDWICH MONTHLY MEETING
May, 1992

On fifth month, 1992, Yarmouth Friends reaffirmed the minute giving the same care and concern to homosexual couples who wish to marry as we give to heterosexuals. The Meeting affirms the goodness of committed, loving relationships and offers recognition and support to those who share this ideal and desire to enter into a permanent relationship based upon it. By tradition, the Meeting recognizes committed union in a celebration of marriage under the care of the Meeting. The same loving care and consideration should be given to both same-sex and heterosexual applicants. We are led to this position not to coerce individuals into participating in the particular institution of marriage. Rather, we have come to this from our belief that all discrimination is contrary to the working of the divine and/or spirit within each of us. We affirm our belief that homosexuals are entitled to the same rights and privileges as heterosexuals. While we recognize that we cannot control the laws of the State, we can ensure that our spiritual practice does not reinforce the oppression. Realizing that approval of this concern is today unlikely, at this time we ask the other meetings of Sandwich Monthly Meeting to discuss and educate yourselves regarding this matter so that in the future we can achieve a sense of unity in our Monthly Meeting.

Further, we recommend that Friends consider the section on marriage in Faith and Practice, particularly the introduction on page 153, as well as the following quote: "Oppression in the extreme appears terrible: but oppression in more refined appearances remains to be oppression; and where the smallest degree of it is cherished it grows stronger and more extensive. To labour for a perfect redemption from this spirit of oppression is the great business of the whole family of Christ Jesus in this world." John Woolman (1763-1764)

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YELLOW SPRINGS OHIO FRIENDS MEETING
June 2003

Yellow Springs Ohio Friends Meeting will consider taking under its care marriages of couples, whether homosexual or heterosexual, who wish to make a lifelong, monogamous commitment to each other, where one of the couple is a member of the meeting.

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