The following minute from Twin Cities Friends Meeting was approved last month. The approval came after several months of threshing, discussion, and prayerful consideration.
Regarding item #6 in the minute, a few Friends have already come forward to coordinate and/or pursue particular actions that may help the meeting bear witness to the importance and right order of marriage equality.
NOTE: The phrases "same-sex couples" and "same-gender couples" are used interchangeably.
Many of us were holding our breath as this minute was considered because in previous discussions, Friends raised a number of concerns. It's my sense that Friends were put somewhat at ease because the minute includes a trial period of three years to test how rightly led this witness is and to have time to address any unexpected outcomes.
Time will tell...
Minute for Marriage Equality
Holding to our longstanding Testimonies of equality and integrity as they relate to justice for all peoples, we recognize the discomfort we feel when we provide civil marriage for straight couples but are unable to do the same for same-sex couples within the state of Minnesota.
The Quaker tradition is one of Spirit-led activism on behalf of civil rights and justice. Given that a foremost civil rights issue today concerns the right for all couples to marry, regardless of gender, [Twin Cities Friends Meeting] unites with a growing number of Quaker and other faith communities who are working for marriage equality.
We affirm the right for all caring couples to marry religiously and civilly. TCFM is not against the right of the state to give legal sanction to marriage. Rather we are called to witness against the injustice of the system as currently practiced.
In light of this searching, and because we often learn God’s Truth based on direct experience, we recommend a period of testing the following actions.
- 1. Choose to lay aside for a period of three years--while still retaining--its legal right to perform the civil part of marriage.
- 2. Continue to provide clearness committees for all couples who request one for marriage;
- 3. Continue to witness religious weddings in the manner of Friends, that is, bearing witness to God’s marriage of two people;
- 4. Continue to take under its care all relationships and marriages that exist within the community;
- 5. Continue to support all couples who seek civil marriage, regardless of the gender of the partners;
- 6. Seek opportunities to bear witness outwardly until equal treatment under the law exist for all couples.
Twin Cities Friends Meeting
Eleventh Month 2009
RELATED ITEM: Twelfth Month 2009, Minnesota Public Radio interviews the clerk, Paul L, about what this approved minute means from a practical viewpoint.